There are a number of reasons why you might be looking for homemade cat food recipes for senior cats or homemade cat food in general.
If we talk with respect to cat food in general, your cat maybe a picky eater and you wish to try something new and see whether she likes it.
You may also be unhappy with the “perfectly advertised cat food” that you later realized doesn’t scale up to you or your cat’s expectations.
Or maybe due to a health or age situation very specific to your cat you may have to switch to a different diet regime as directed by your vet.
Which as it happens is going to be the topic that I am going to cover in this post.
Whatever your reason might be, if you are looking for homemade cat food recipes for senior cats, you just might be in the right place.
As rewarding as it is to cook for your cat with your own hands, there are a lot of factors that you need to be aware of to ensure,
- You put in the right nutrition in your homemade cat food for your senior cat and
- You are very well aware of the risks and rewards of homemade cat food(raw and cooked) for YOU and YOUR cat.
I am going to cover each of these factors in the subsequent sections below, so go through the post completely so that you have comprehensive knowledge on the subject and not bits and pieces.
Why Make Homemade Cat Food For Your Senior Cat In the First Place?
One of the big reasons is if you have the necessary knowledge base about your cat’s nutritional requirements(which we are going to learn in a second) you will know exactly what is in your cat food.
Another reason as I mentioned this previously, due to age and other health concerns you may very well have no other option sometimes and your vet may recommend a homemade cat food recipe for your senior cat.
And if your vet has indeed recommended some specific homemade cat food recipes for your senior cat, I advise you go with that.
But if you are looking for well researched homemade cat food recipes for senior cats that has all the nutrition a senior cats needs read on.
Many people also look into preparing homemade cat food for cats owing to costs.
Will homemade cat food for cats be cheaper in the long run?
Well, it depends on the ingredients you are going to use.
Will the ingredients going into your recipe coming from whole foods, your neighborhood grocery store or the farmer’s market?
How much does your cat eat?, Are you looking to use supplements depending on if your vet’s recommendation?
Would you prefer organic ingredients and are you going to do the prep work on your own?
Since every cat is different these are some of the question you will have to answer to have a proper cost estimate of the homemade cat food diet.
This is another very viable reason why you may want to look into homemade recipes for senior cats.
Many cats are fussy eaters, not necessarily by nature but by many other factors that we discuss in depth in this post.
So if your cat is indeed a picky eater, introducing variety in the form of homemade cat food can give you an insight into what your cat may like or dislike.
And possibly you will have another option you can resort to in order to provide proper nutrition to your kitty.
Which brings us to the next section,
Nutritional Requirements Of Cats
Before we talk about the specific nutritional needs of older cats let’s first look into what are the general nutritional requirements of cats.
1. Animal Protein
Cats are obligate carnivores which implies they derive essential nutrients from animal meat.
Beware of certain cat foods that propagate “high protein” content which you may later discover that these high protein sources were nothing but soyor wheat gluten.
Cats have a small digestive tract to body ratio typical of carnivores and therefore can’t digest plant based proteins properly.
Calcium is important in cats particularly in older cats for strong bones and teeth.
Phosphorus and calcium together are essential to help blood clot and reparation of cells.
Phosphorus helps metabolize proteins and together with calcium it helps keep the bones strong and agile which is particularly important for older cats.
3. Animal fats
Cats also require digetible fats for energy. Particularly, cats need omega-6 fatty acids like linolic and arachidonic acids.
Cats also need omega-3 fatty acids to prevent body inflammation problems.
Fish oil, krill oil and flaxseeds are excellent sources of omega fatty acids that you can look to deploy into your homemade cat food recipes for senior cats.
Taurine is the most important amino acid that cat needs to derive from the food she eats because she cannot create it for herself.
Cats with taurine deficiency can develop vision and heart problems.
Cold water fish, eggs, lamb and shellfish are good natural sources of taurine.
Taurine is also available as supplement that you can add to the homemade cat food.
As much as possible you want your cat to derive nutrition from natural food sources rather than supplements in their diet.
Cats inherently are incapable of converting beta-carotene from plant based sources to Vitamin A, therefore, the necessary amount needs to come from animal sources like liver and kidneys.
Other sources include tuna, mackerel and salmon.
In general, cats do not drink a lot of water.
If we look from an evolutionary perspective, the wild ancestors derived most of their hydration and moisture requirement from their prey.
And owing to this plus certain other factors our household kitties have little instict towards drinking water.
If you are still concerned that your cat isn’t drinking as much water as she should, installing water fountains like these will most definitely help.
The point being make sure that there is sufficient moisture content in the homemade cat food for senior cats that they stay hydrated throughout their day.
Specific Nutritional Requirements In Home Made Recipes For Senior Cats
Now that we know what are the general requirements as far as nutritional value is concerned for cats is.
It is imperative that we niche down and see what are the specific nutritional requiremets pertaining to senior cats.
Older cats need more water in comparison to young cats.
This is because they need to flush out their body of toxins and excess concentration of minerals in their urine.
More often than not senior cats are overweight and may also have medical conditions like arthritis, heart disease and hyperthyroidism.
Therefore, with all these factors in mind we need to ensure that the homemade cat food recipes for senior cats contain fewer carbohydrates and more pure protein.
This will essentially ensure that we prevent cat obesity which is absolutely important for senior cats particularly.
Homemade Simple Raw Cat Food Food Recipe For Senior Cats
There are a lot of benefits of raw food diet for senior cats.
Dr. Lisa Pierson’s From catinfo recommends feeding your senior cat raw diet based on fresh rabbit meat or whole chicken and turkey thighs.
All these foods need to be partially baked to kill surface bacteria.
Dr. Lisa recommends grinding your own meat using a grinder like this to ensure its freshness.
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Dr. Lisa believes a simple raw diet regime like this is responsible for curing her senior cat of a variety of health problems including urethritis.
A WORD OF CAUTION:
One thing that you need to ensure while handling homemade raw diet for cats is you need to follow the same food safety precautions for raw meat as you would follow for human consumption.
- Store the meat at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
- Do not use the utensils and boards used for raw meat on vegetables.
- Wash your hands.
- Ground meat in general tend to have a lot of surface bacteria, therefore partially bake the meat to get rid of it and keep the grinder clean.
Homemade Cooked Cat Food Recipes
Some older cats that are transitioning to homemade diets because of sensitive or damaged gastrointestinal tracts will benefit more more when fed on homemade cooked cat food recipes.
Dr. Rebecca Remillard from the MSPCA-Angell Boston Medical Center gives a simple homemade recipe using any of your cat’s favorite meat.
She suggests a recipe using 3 ounces of cooked dark meat chicken, lamb or fish like tuna or salmon.
Take one third cup of cooked white rice, one fifth cup of cooked potato.
Mix everything throughly and add one-quarter teaspoon of olive/fish oil and have-a-scoop of commercially available vitamins and minerals.
This homemade recipe is apt not only for senior cats but cats of all ages Dr. Remillard says.
Pros And Cons Of Homemade Cat Food For Cats
While making food for your fur babies can be an enriching experience, true, but it has it’s caveats and as responsible pet owners we need to take them into account too.
One of the biggest disadvantages of using homemade cat food diet for your senior cat is the potential for tooth decay.
Most of the homemade cat food recipes for senior cats consist of soft/wet food which doesn’t necessarily promote dental health.
Homemade Raw Cat Food Caveats
Dr. Rebecca points out that things are not as black and white when answering the question is raw diet good for cats?
American animal hospital association points out the risks of salmonella poisoning to both human and feline members of the house.
So if you are looking to feed raw diet to your cat be aware, conscious and cautious of zoonotic(animal to human) disease transmission and contagion issues.
She also points out that keeping your cat on a raw diet regime leave open rooms for many unintentional mishaps.
Keeping food out for too long, substitution of one ingredient over another and chances of bacterial infections being some of them.
Lisa Pierson, however advocates that most of these problems can be taken care of if the owner is a bit conscious and careful.
She says in her six years of taking care of her cats using raw diets she has never had issues with bacterial contamination.
She says she knows where she gets her meat, parboils rabbit and bone-in chicken and makes sure she adds the required supplements, vitamins and minerals like taurineto ensure that she is creating a baalanced diet for her cats.
Homemade Cooked Cat Food Caveats
When you are using a homemade cooked food diet for your cats, you are for the most part reducing the probelms of bacterial infections to a great extent.
With that said there is little scientific evidence that exists for or against a homemade cooked diet for cats.
Some experts like the ones from Cornell University College Of veterinary medicine suggest against using homemade raw or cooked food diet citing the importance of getting the nutrients just right for your cat.
Dr. Remillard says if it so happens that for some reason you have to switch to homemade diets make sure you consult your vet-nutritionist atleast once before you formulate one.
In conclusion, homemade cat food recipes for senior cats are a great way to provide alternate nutrition path for your older cats if you have a solid reason to make a switch.
While there are some caveats tha you need to be aware of when making the switch most of these problems can be taken care of with a little bit of attention, care and some expert assistance.
Hopr you enjoyed reading the post as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Take great care of yourselves and your old buddy and I will see you in the next one.