Making Soap and Cat Food Out of Meat Waste

Making soap and cat food can be done with meat waste from your local supermarket.

| November/December 1983

  • Meat Soap
    Here is a test slab of soap made from recycled meat waste.
    Photo provided by Fotolia/Jultud
  • Cat Food
    The meat waste can also be recycled for your cat's enjoyment by making some homemade cat food.
    Photo provided by Fotolia/Kurhan

  • Meat Soap
  • Cat Food
Here's one way that you can have your cake . . . and let your cat eat, too!

It's easy enough, I suppose, to see a connection between hungry cats and the meat department of your local supermarket . . . but how about comprehending the idea of making soap from cat food? 

Well, my wife Lenore and I found that these things can be interrelated . . . after we watched our butcher's assistant clean up at the family market one evening. We noted that the electric meat saw regularly dropped "meat dust" on the floor. A mixture of beef, lamb, pork, poultry, and fish, it was rather too fatty and finely ground to be used for human consumption, and was usually swept up and thrown away. When Lenore and I showed interest, we were invited to take as much as we wanted.

Rendering the Works 

A bit later, my wife came home with four or five pounds of meat waste that our obliging butcher's assistant had scooped into a big plastic bag. Lenore tossed the stuff into cake pans that she placed in a 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven. Fifteen minutes later, she poured off several tablespoonfuls of fat that had liquefied around a number of meaty nuggets. After another quarter hour, the lumps were brown and enticing. When they'd cooled, they were gobbled up by our two cats. And since then, the "salvaged Salisbury steak" has been a regular treat on their menu.

Rendered meat waste produces a lot of grease, though, and we were soon running out of jars to store it in. We weren't sure how to handle the problem . . . until one morning I discovered a possible solution on the side of a can of lye with which I was declogging the sink. It was a recipe for soap, calling for 1 pound of lye and 6 pounds of — you guessed it — clean fat. Now 7 pounds of soap sounded a bit too slippery for Lenore and me, but we were able to improvise a simple two- or three-bar recipe that has proved perfectly adequate for our needs.

We start with 4 heaping tablespoons of powdered lye, 2 cups of melted fat, and 1 cup of strongly brewed spice tea. To make the tea, we pour a cup of boiling water over a heaping teaspoon each of ground cloves and ground cinnamon, let the liquid stand until tepid, strain it, and then put it into a glass quart bottle with a metal screw cap.

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