Monday, August 16, 2010

Feeding my Cat

Why should I feed myself nutritious real food, and still give my cat trashy soy kibble and canned waste? In the first place, she is an obligate carnivore.

Obligate or true carnivores depend solely on the nutrients found in animal flesh for their survival. While they may consume small amounts of plant material, they lack the physiology required for the efficient digestion of vegetable matter and, in fact, some carnivorous mammals eat vegetation specifically as an emetic. The domestic cat is a prime example of an obligate carnivore.

Now that I have just one remaining cat (who was a 'pound kitty' and is perhaps 3 years old), I have decided I can squeeze the budget to feed her better. I did try raw meats for both cats a few months back, but neither one was interested. Last week I bought some chicken livers for my remaining cat... she didn't like them cooked, and she certainly didn't like them raw! However, she loved the cooked chicken thighs, so that's a place to start.

I've been reading the website by Dr. Pierson, a Veterinarian. She has some excellent information about feline nutrition, and how to transition from (unhealthy) dry kibble. (Now I understand why my attempt to switch to raw meat abruptly was a mistake.) I have also wondered why my cats turned up their noses at kibble that had been in a bowl all day. Manufacturers spray a substance on the dry kibble for cats and dogs to make it more palatable. (Most will lose their fragrance in a couple of hours, and a bag of kibble that is opened repeatedly surely must lose it more quickly.) 

There is a product, "FortiFlora" that is a similar formula but concentrated (it's a probiotic) and Dr. Pierson recommends using a tiny amount sprinkled on new foods as an enticement for picky eaters.

I am going to be out of town for 10 days in September, and my 22 year old niece will feed my cat for me. That means I have to have enough food prepared in single meal-size packages so it is convenient for the Kid. (God forbid she should have to measure!)

I will start with mostly cooked chicken thighs, but they don't contain much taurine or potassium so I will have to add it. I do have some leftover beef heart in the freezer, and the heart muscle is high in taurine so that takes care of that nutrient. Lite salt will take care of the potassium. Unless I grind some of the thigh bones for calcium, I'll need to add calcium also. 

I will eventually try partially or barely cooked chicken, and maybe some raw rabbit mixed in if I can find it local and inexpensive. I also will probably vary the meats in the recipe, depending on what I can get from the grass-fed meat co-op. Dr. Pierson's "recipe" is nutritionally balanced, and she does address the finicky eating habits of some cats (like mine).

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