Today I spent a few hours cooking for my cats. With nine cats who for various reasons eat four times per day, my cat food bill is high but the biggest problem is keeping enough stock. Often the only varieties I can find are tuna and salmon based, and feeding cats too much fish makes them fussy eaters. The food I like to feed my cats doesn’t come in large cans so I’m also conscious of the excessive waste that lots of little cans and pouches creates.
tiny containers of food
When I lived in Manila I embarked on an exercise to feed my cats a partially raw diet, home made, with all the nutrition they need – which is actually quite a controversial topic. The more I would read, the more confused I became, but I was determined to have a go. As is typical of me, I threw myself wholeheartedly into this project, including dehydrating egg shells and grinding them for calcium, and buying a meat grinder so I could include bone meal with the fresh meat. I made a big supply and froze it in portions that would feed four cats one meal and I had a very well stocked freezer!
chopping the veggies
And as is typical of cats, they completely rejected it. In hindsight, I didn’t introduce it slowly enough. The taste and texture was very different to their canned food, and I should have just mixed a teaspoon into their regular food until they adjusted, then two teaspoons etc., increasing until they were fully eating the home made food. Instead, they refused to eat it so I persevered for a while then gave up and donated the whole lot.
chicken stock, veggie stock, liver stock
The recipe I used back then was this one – it’s a bit hard to follow and gives some indication of the complexity of cat nutrition:
So this time, I am trying a different approach. Today I cooked the following:
- Chicken breasts poached in plain water
- Brown rice cooked in the stock from the chicken breasts (yes, I know it’s a grain so is controversial)
- Pumpkin, carrot, zucchini and broccoli poached in the chicken stock until soft
- I drained a can of salmon in olive oil, and cooked minced (ground) beef in the oil. When almost cooked, I added 2 beaten eggs and made sure they were cooked through
- After draining the cooked beef, I cooked chicken livers in the drained oil and juices
- I lightly fried 2 beaten eggs in coconut oil and combined with the chicken breast
I drained each of the ingredients as I cooked them and retained the stock.
Then I put each in the food processor separately and pulsed into cat-bite sized chunks. I then froze each of the following separately in small containers:
- Chicken breast with cooked eggs
- Chicken livers
- All the veggies (pumpkin, carrot, zuke and broccoli)
- Ground beef with cooked eggs
- Brown rice
I was planning to use some cottage cheese but there wasn’t any available so I bought ricotta cheese. Because it can be hard to get, I also froze small portions of it.
Then in ice-cube trays, I froze:
- Beef stock
- Chicken liver stock
- Chicken breast stock
- The mixed veggie stock (that started as chicken stock)
- The rice stock (that started as chicken stock).
For their first home made meal, I wanted to make something that would be really enticing, so I mixed the salmon that was drained of the olive oil, with some ground beef and ricotta cheese. I put some down for them to eat alongside their normal food. Some ate it, some ignored it, Asha looked at it like I had just served her minced cardboard mixed with dried cockroach.
the cooked brown rice before it had a spin in the food processor
Now I have a freezer full of small portions of 6 base ingredients and 5 liquids, it’s my plan to unfreeze a selection and mix them together and see which ones they like the most. My plan is the following:
- Chicken breast with salmon and ricotta
- Chicken breast with chicken liver and rice, with chicken stock
- Chicken breast with veggies, with rice stock
- Chicken breast with rice and veggies, with liver stock
- Ground beef with chicken liver and rice stock
- Ground beef with veggies and beef stock
- Ground beef with rice and liver stock
- Ground beef with chicken breast and veggie stock
To see their usual diet, see this post: