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
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
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
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
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
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
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!