Get Your Stuff Together to Make Cat Food

The initial assembly of the supplements and tools for making a home prepared raw diet for cats can seem a bit overwhelming. Bear in mind that once you’ve purchased many of the dry ingredients, they last a very long time. you treat your grinder well, you should only have to buy that once. If you stock and organize supplies correctly at the start and keep them all in one place, you won’t be running to the store or hunting down individual ingredients in multiple places every time you want to make a batch of food. Here’s a link to all the cat stuff I buy from iHerb.  

Meat Grinder

A hard-working electric grinder is the single most important, time saving tool you’ll need if you’re going to make cat food regularly and including ground bone. Being a wee bit of a control freak, I generally like grinding the meat and bones myself, thus sparing worry about whether someone else has kept his or her workspace and grinder parts spotlessly clean. Besides, if you want to grind meat WITH bone (which is really best), you’ll probably need to buy a grinder yourself as most butchers won’t grind bone for you.

You’ll need the grinder for grinding the raw bone and some of the meat attached to it, but an important part of raw feeding includes leaving plenty of nice fat chunks of muscle meat in the food for kitty to chew. Please remember, it’s best to “chunk” a good portion, if not all, of the muscle meat by hand, to give kitty a chance to do some serious chewing to help keep her teeth and gums in good health. If your cat is missing a large number of teeth, however, you may want to grind everything.

Few grinders are guaranteed for use in grinding bone. The one that has worked just beautifully for this purpose for me for many years was a Tasin TS-108 grinder, but unfortunately the wonderful family run company that sold them has shut its doors.

A grinder that seems to have the same specs as the Tasin is the Weston® #12 Electric Meat Grinder Please note that the manufacturer instructions say to NOT attempt to grind bones. For what it’s worth, the Tasin wasn’t guaranteed for grinding bones either, but it’s done that without a problem for me for decades.

You’ll have to decide whether you want to fork over more money for a heavier-duty grinder that won’t be out of warranty if you grind bones

Once I stopped feeding commercial food, I found that I could quite easily store my grinder and all the supplies and supplements used for cat foodmaking in the same cupboard space that was once filled with cans and bags of commercial cat food.

Again, PLEASE be advised that grinding bones is NOT what most grinders are designed for. I’ve found that using my grinder for its “unintended purpose” works just fine — I’ve put thousands of pounds of meat and bone through my grinder for years with absolutely no troubles. 

Please remember that you should always wash your grinder parts by hand, and not in a dishwasher.

You have some choices out there in the world of grinders. And, to my mind, it’s really not necessary to spend a fortune for a grinder that will do a perfectly fine job for you. Yes it’s an investment, or at least it can seem so at first. But it’s still likely to be cheaper than multiple prescription medications and veterinary visits for all manner of nutrition-related ailments. I really love my grinder. It runs like a charm and has never, in over 20 years, needed a repair or failed to handle what I’ve put it through. It’s definitely outlasted other appliances in my kitchen that seem to fail on me at a staggeringly high rate. If they could get the Tasin to toast bread, grind coffee beans, and wash dishes, I’d have it made.

Meats and Organs

If you want meats that are free-range, antibiotic-free, and hormone-free, a decent chain in the United States and Canada is Whole Foods Market. They also sell very nice organic chicken liver, so I often pick up fresh liver there as well. Sourcing hearts can be tricky, but it’s well worth the effort. You will have to call around to see if you can find someone who will keep you supplied with hearts.

If you happen to live in the DC Metropolitan area, check out My Organic Market for meats. I love that store.

It’s possible to get wonderfully fresh whole rabbit, delivered freshly-frozen direct to your door. I sometimes order rabbit from Hare Today. They’re located in northwest Pennsylvania and work beautifully for those of us on the east coast of the US. If you’re on the West coast, another great supplier that serves that area and that will deliver directly to your door is Wholefoods4pets. They’re located in Washington state. Most important, people whose judgment I trust have nothing but great things to say about that company’s product, hygiene practices, and service.

Try and search out free-range meats that are not administered “preventive” antibiotics or growth hormones. If you can’t find “organic” meats, then at least try to use liver from a good source (i.e., no antibiotics or hormones and from a free-range animal) because the liver stores all the body’s toxins and a non-free-range, overmedicated animal will be packed with toxins. Same goes for eggs -buy eggs from cage-free, un-medicated hens. Animals raised in humane conditions aren’t right on top of one another, and one another’s feces (gross, I know). They live in naturally cleaner conditions with access to the natural disinfectant action of the sun and are much less prone to the diseases that mass-production farms are continually vaccinating against and administering antibiotics for. Your cat has no use for second hand antibiotics or growth hormones. Your cat is a carnivore and needs quality meat.

My cat food “repertoire” of flavors includes: whole chicken, whole rabbit, whole guinea fowl, and batches made with just turkey thighs (with bone, of course). When the cats in this house were treated to their first meals of whole quail, I got a eight paws up on that.

The sometimes vexing chicken heart issue.

You’ll note that the recipe that I use calls for chicken hearts. I am a big believer in trying to use real organ meats to supply some of the key nutrients needed in a healthy carnivore diet. No one will ever convince me you can duplicate Mother Nature’s genius using isolated supplements. It’s possible to improvise and use store-bought supplements to make up for that if you cannot source organs, but hunting down the real thing is worth a bit of your time.

Lots of people – myself included, at first- have faced a hard time sourcing chicken hearts. I can’t even begin to count how many butchers I harassed and stalked, how many grocery stores I visited, and how many pleading e-mails I sent before I found a local source, but even that source was not so great in terms of being able to procure hearts reliably from their supplier.

In the US, some parts of the country seem to have more suppliers for hearts. My suggestion is to try your local health food stores, paying special attention to the smaller stores that tend to work harder to cater to special needs. Please don’t give up too soon if you can’t immediately source real heart–it is such a magnificent source of real taurine and so many other rich, health-giving nutrients that are wonderful for our carnivore friends.

That said, please don’t NOT try this diet just because you can’t find chicken hearts. Go ahead and follow the instructions for adding additional taurine if you come up dry in your hunt for hearts.

Hare Today carries chicken hearts. I received my first order of hearts from Hare Today on a very hot July day, and I not only was everything beautifully packed, but it was still good and frozen. Be still my (chicken) heart! Best of all, the hearts came in oh-so-convenient two-pound packages, which saved me the trouble of hauling 40 pounds of hearts in my car home and spending the next hour weighing and bagging them.

Vitamins and Such


This is easy. Almost any regular grocery store or health food store carries containers of plain whole psyllium husks or psyllium husk powder. Remember to get loose powder rather than capsules that you need to individually open. You can also order psyllium husks from plenty of places online. If you want to read more about “why psyllium,” please see Michelle Bernard’s wonderful online essay on the subject.

You’ll note on the recipe that I use that not all cats require or benefit from adding psyllium into their diet. If your cat has been eating low-quality commercial food for several ears, especially dry food, she may have lost bowel elasticity and may benefit from the extra fiber. As a general rule, I recommend using psyllium when an adult cat first gets raw food, particularly if the cat has been eating a lot of dry food. At least one study suggests that cats on processed, cooked diets lose bowel elasticity over time, so it can be a good idea to try psyllium and then judge whether or not to continue based on your cat’s stools.

I never add psyllium these days to the food I make. Some cats seem to get constipated without additional fiber, whereas other cats seem to get constipated if they get too much fiber. Each cat is unique, and you’ll have to judge which works best for your cat.

Click here to see where I order the psyllium I would use – and first-time orderers from this iHerb site get a sweet discount on the first order.

Salmon Oil

If you can procure wild salmon oil (versus farmed) that has high concentrations of EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid), then do that. I’m also fond of the Carlson brand of salmon oil, which has nice high levels of EPA and DHA and is free of detectable levels of mercury, cadmium, lead, PCBs and 28 other contaminants. Remember that salmon oil degrades quickly, so serving it fresh from a newly opened capsule is best. In addition to adding it to the recipe itself, I also squeeze some drops of salmon oil from capsules on to prepared food a few times a week. Most cats adore the flavor and it’s nice to get the fresh oil into them regularly. Just clip the end of the capsule with a small scissors or pierce it with a sharp pin and squeeze a few drops on to the food.

I strongly suggest that you steer clear of salmon oil that comes as a liquid in a bottle. That oil can go rancid very fast once it is exposed to air, even if it comes in one of those lovely cobalt-blue bottles that’s supposed to protect the product. It’s really best to buy capsules instead.

Remember–your cat needs an animal-based source of Essential Fatty Acids. Don’t let anyone tell you that flaxseed oil or another kind of plant-based EFA source works as well. It doesn’t. Your cat is a carnivore and cannot derive all that she needs EFA-wise from plant based sources. There are many ways in which cats function differently biochemically from dogs. Cats, for example, cannot make their own Arachidonic Acid even when there is linoleic acid present. A cat’s “chemical factory” (liver), contains no delta-6 desaturase enzyme to make the conversion of linoleic acid to Arachidonic acid. And there is little or no Arachidonic acid in plant matter. A dog, on the other hand, if consuming the proper fats, can make Arachidonic acid.

Cats would normally get ample EFAs from eating the brains and eyes of her prey. So unless you’re feeding brains and eyes, don’t use flaxseed to get EFAs into your cat.

What do I buy? Click here to see where I now get my salmon oil capsules; if you use this link, by the way, you get a discount on your first order through iHeb.

Glandular Supplement

Many folks have a hard time finding a good glandular supplement – don’t sweat it if you can’t find it.  Just skip it.  but what I use is Immoplex. What I like about it is that it comes in capsules (versus tablets) which means it’s simple to pull the capsules apart. This is much easier than crushing a tablet in a mortar and pestle. More importantly, I like this brand because unlike many other glandulars, it contains a good variety of raw tissue concentrates including spleen, brain, liver, heart, kidney, thymus, adrenal, pituitary, pancreas, and duodenum.

If the glandular supplement you purchase comes in tablets, you can crush them in a mortar and pestle or, if you don’t have those tools, put them in a plastic baggie, wrap it in a towel, and smash them up with a hammer. See why I like the capsules? So much easier.

Remember, do not simply buy anything labeled a “glandular supplement.” Many of these products are made from plants, herbs, or other food supplements. You’re not looking for something with various herbs to help glandular health in humans; you ARE looking for a something that CONTAINS actual glands and nothing else.

I buy my Immoplex from here;  if you use that link, you get a sweet discount on your first order.

Vitamin E and Vitamin B-50 Complex

These are very easy to source at any health food store or online.  Click here to see the Vitamin E I use.

Click here if you want to order from the same place I get B-50 complex.

And if you use those links? Yup, you get a discount on your first order, which is nice.  It’s automatically applied as a coupon code at checkout. Suh-weet!


I use loose powdered taurine.

UK raw feeders:  check out the United Kingdom Raw Meaty Bones website for information on suppliers.

Flaxseed Doesn’t Supply EFAs for Cats

Don’t be fooled by cat food labels boasting about Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs); check first to make sure the EFA source is actually bio-available to carnivores before letting yourself be too impressed.

Eight Strikes Against Fishy Feeding for Cats

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Sometimes Chicken Isn’t Exactly Chicken

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Dry Food Accounts for Most Contamination Disasters

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Ingredient Splitting

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Composition Challenge

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that canned cat foods are necessarily low in carbohydrates. Pay attention to ingredients and composition.

Egg Whites: Forehead Smacking Moment

There’s no need to waste the egg whites when making cat food. Cook them and mix them with the food.

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