Relax. It’s Not Astrophysics. You Can Make Cat Food.
It doesn’t have to look like this when you do it. Folks who are new to this claim that seeing pictures eases their fear that mere mortals could not possibly be capable of making cat food.
Here’s a link to all the non-meat ingredients I use. And here’s more or less what what it looks like when I do it.
I’m No Whiz in the Kitchen
Nor do I always cherish spending lots of time there. But making homemade cat food is something that’s much easier than you might think. It’s certainly much easier than I thought it would be when I started this adventure way back in the olden days of 2002. Trust me: Everything’s going to be okay.
Look at it this way: the so-called professionals who put those fancy labels on their cans and bags with AAFCO nutritional guarantees are the same ones who let tainted wheat and heaven knows what else get into food and poison thousands of cats and dogs in early 2007. You know you can most likely do better than that. It’s a matter of being organized about your foodmaking supplies and then:
- Turning on music to keep you company. We opted for Bob Dylan during the photo session above. We were Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues. Again.
- Getting out the grinder.
- Assembling the ingredients from the recipe.
- Chunking the muscle meat (i.e., cutting at least some of the meat into chunks that will not be ground), if you opt to do that.
- Grinding the bones and other remaining meat on bones together with the organ meat (heart and liver).
- Adding the vitamins, egg yolks, and other ingredients in the recipe to the water and whisking that all up. My ingredient list is here.
- Mixing it all together.
- Spooning the mix into freezer-safe containers. I use a measuring cup to dole into wide-mouth jars.
- Crowing righteously about how cool you are for making healthy cat food.
That’s all. You’re done.
It’s that simple. Now go clean up your kitchen, serve up some food—warm it in a baggie under warm water—to your grateful cats, and go listen to some soothing Ella Fitzgerald or inspiring John Prine.
Total time? Obviously, that depends on how fast you are. I’ve been making cat food for over 20 years now and I have the process of making a batch that lasts two cats for about two weeks down to just about exactly one hour, including cleanup, taking out the trash, pausing for stretches, singing John Prine songs, etc. Truth be told, since my husband joined the cat foodmaking staff a few years ago, together we whip out a big ol’ batch (triple or quadruple the recipe on this site) in 30 or 40 minutes together, particularly if we buy whole cut up chickens.
If you, like me, have a supplier you fully trust that will grind everything, including bone? The time involved is much shorter. The family that makes cat food together stays together and spends a lot less time and money in veterinary clinics. If you can get a helper, go for it. Maybe find a local friend and enjoy some special time together hacking up meat and grinding it and listening to show tunes. Beats cleaning your garage, doesn’t it?
Time spent making cat food is considerably less than I used to spend fretting about my sick cat and trekking him to the vet when he had a digestive disorder. So yes, while it is definitely some work, it’s very manageable. Think of it as a labor of love. That’s what it is.
My hot ‘new’ tip, which I can’t believe took me well over a decade to figure out, is to not open individual capsules (so time consuming) but put them in a cup of warm water and let them dissolve. If you get impatient, you can use an immersion blender to emulsify quickly.