Homemade Cat Food Recipes

With these homemade cat food recipes, you'll save money and have a happier, healthier pet too.
By B. Marian Rogers
January/February 1981
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Your cat will be delighted with these homemade cat food recipes.

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I'd like to be able to tell you that my tabby got sick just reading the label on a can of her food, but honesty makes me admit that she can't read print that fine. I can, however, and the list of ingredients made me feel wretched.

Along with "modifieds," "by-products," "dioxides," "hydrochlorides," and other "ides" and "-antes," there was actually artificial coloring!

"For whom?" I asked myself. "For the cat, who surely doesn't care, or the owner, who even more surely wouldn't eat the mixture?"

I would never dream of feeding myself or my family an exclusive diet of preservative-laden, artificially colored, modified, canned by-products, and I certainly felt that my furry friend deserved better nourishment than the commercial kitty dinners seemed to offer. In fact, I saw no reason why I couldn't serve my feline some homemade cat food recipes she wouldn't like just as well as—and maybe a whole lot better than—canned food!

Furthermore, since the price of cat food has kept pace with inflation (the brand I bought three years ago, for 18¢ a can, now costs 38¢!), I figured that my own homecooked cat-meals couldn't be much more expensive than store-bought victuals!

After studying a lot of labels on "nutritionally complete" diets for cats, I broke down the ingredients into several main groups: proteins (liver, egg, fish, chicken, and beef) with their own fats and oils; starches (wheat gluten, soy flour, and modified starches); and the various vitamin supplements.

Free Ingredients

My first stop was the meat counter at the grocery store, where I asked a number of questions and made some interesting discoveries. Large fish, I learned, often arrive whole but are sold in fillets, steaks, and other dressed forms. Heads, tails, and bones—and all the meat attached to such pieces—are thrown away. I offered 10¢ a pound to cover the cost of the plastic wrap, but the butcher insisted on giving me the castoffs for free.

Pork liver, I already knew, was among the least expensive of meats, closely followed by pork kidney and chicken gizzards and hearts. Since all organ meat is nutrient-rich, I bought a package of each. When I got home, I knew immediately that I was on the right track, because the cat followed the grocery bag into the house and licked her whiskers expectantly while I unpacked it.

A Feline Feast

The fish was the messiest to deal with, but quite easy to make into a feline feast. I put it in a pot, covered it with water, and let it cook to a jellied mass filled with chunks of bone. I then removed the largest sections of skeleton with tongs and discarded them, but left in the little soft ones. That done, I put the "soup" through my food grinder while it was still hot and easy to pour.

As a sample serving of les petits os de poisson en gelee cooled, I added a handful of wheat germ. My little gourmet loved the fishy delicacy, so I packaged it in mealsize quantities and stored my supply in the freezer.

Encouraged by this experiment (which yielded around three weeks' worth of food!), I turned to the other low-cost meats. And, working by trial and error, I came up with the following cat-tested recipes.

Abattis en Ragout

To make this treat (which could also be called giblets in broth), boil any combination of chicken gizzards, hearts, and livers until they're tender and serve them whole with a little warm broth. When you make a large quantity, chill and freeze the giblets right in the liquid, so that they won't lose moisture.   

Fois de Cochon Aux Oeufs

You can save time and energy consumption by making this pork-liver-with-raw-egg dish when you're using the oven for something else. Just put the meat in a foil-overed pan with a little water, and bake it until the liver is pink in the center. Slice or grind it, and serve with a raw egg mixed in.   

Tartelette de Rognon a la Kitty

To prepare a very healthful kidney pie for your kitty, sauté pork or beef kidney in a little rendered fat or vegetable oil, then chop or grind it up. Mix the meat with wheat germ or egg or both.   

La Soupe de Poissons du Chat

It's easy to make a fine fish chowder for your cat. Simply cook four pounds of haddock or other fish heads and scraps to a mush, and then remove the large bones. Grind up everything that's left and stir in 1/2 cup of powdered milk, 1 cup of grain products (from stale rye bread crumbs to oatmeal), and up to 1/2 cup of such ingredients as cheese rinds, chopped outer vegetable leaves, cooked carrots, macaroni and cheese, chicken rice soup, or whatever healthful odds and ends you have. Mix the concoction well and freeze it in one-meal portions

Other leftovers that can be added to a chowder—or fed to your cat "straight up"—are cottage cheese, cooked rice, pasta, the cereal the baby didn't eat (assuming you don't feed the youngster sweetened cereal), and almost any other vegetable or grain product. (And, if you think your feline ought to have a vitamin supplement to provide those "boosters" contained in commercial cat food, most pet stores carry a variety of cat vitamins.)

A quick cost analysis will show that—even when using only purchased meats at regular prices—homemade cat meals will cost less than half as much as the store-bought variety ... and they're all good nutritious food, without fillers, emulsifiers, or artificial coloring.

Best of all, your pussycat will be purrfectly delighted!

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Post a comment below.


Fawn Adkins
3/6/2013 7:01:53 PM
I'm very disappointed to see that four years after Dr. Pierson's comment, this highly misleading article is still here. It makes me question other articles I have read in Mother Earth News, because the facts that Dr. Pierson stated in her comment are extremely easy to check out. I did it when first starting to make my own cat food two years ago, and found the information I needed in less than a couple of hours. There are plenty of helpful resources out there for people who want to make a healthy, balanced diet for their pets, but this isn't one of them! Just to briefly go over a FEW points of misinformation in these recipes, cats don't need grains in their diet (they can't even process them very efficiently), they need a variety of animal parts (bones, skin, organs, muscle meats) in EVERY meal, their systems are not designed for a steady diet of fish, and many cats have a sensitivity to beef. When's the last time you saw a stray cat take out a cow? Raw is best, generally speaking....in fact, the best thing to do for your cat is to feed them a diet that's as close to what they would eat in the wild as possible. That doesn't include recipes with fancy names and ingredients that appeal to the frugal owner's pocketbook, which seems to be the main concern in this article.

Lisa Pierson, DVM
9/1/2009 1:25:20 AM
Hello, I am extremely sad to see the article printed above - "Give your cat good home cookin'". It is very clear that the author did not do her homework in order to present *safe* suggestions for *balanced* diets for cats. As a veterinarin for the past 25 years, I have seen patients suffer when well-meaning people feed their pets terribly unbalanced diets such as outlined in the above article. For starters, the author never once mentioned the critical calcium-to-phosphrous balance and never discusses a source of calcium. Next, cats do NOT need or benefit from adding grains to their diet. They are obligate carnivores and grains are added to commercial foods to raise their profit margin. The author looked at the ingredients of commercial food and tried to copy them which is a huge mistake - especially when it comes to feeding grains to obligate carnivores. I would love to see this article removed from the internet as it is going to do much more harm than good. At the very least, please add a note at the beginning and end stating that the suggestions found in this article do NOT result in BALANCED diets. If a person wanted to feed the recipes suggested in the article for a meal 1-2 times/week, that would be fine but this needs to be stated. Otherwise, this article WILL harm cats if it is followed as written. There is a Making Cat Food page on my website at catinfo.org. I receive no monetary gain from my website. It is simply a labor of love and to keep people from harming their cats when they are led down a dangerous path as this article leads the reader. Lisa Pierson, DVM catinfo.org

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