Ok, so I have been making my dog Bella, homemade dog food for months now. She won't eat regular dog food from the store anymore. :) I have spoiled her. Now it was time to try a new adventure...homemade cat food.
I wasn't worried about whether our new kitten Tater would eat anything I would make. He is an eating machine, and loves anything you put down, or drop on accident. He begs for food from the kids whenever they have any. I blame the former owner, who fed him "people" food. It's not too bad, you can usually get him to go away with a "no" and a gentle push, but sometimes he just cries his head off.
Mika is another story. Not only is she an anti-social cat, she is also extremely picky. She doesn't like "people" food of any kind, except tuna and bologna (don't ask, I have no idea why).
I had been eyeballing the various brands of wet cat food at the store, and reading ingredients on the labels, and it occurred to me: the two major ingredients in cat food are rice and fish, with rice being the biggest ingredient after "chopped and processed meat" (I don't even want to know what that means).
So with this knowledge in hand, I set out on an experiment to see if I could make wet cat food that Mika would eat (remember, Tater will eat ANYTHING). I am happy to say that I just fed them both the first batch, and it was a huge success. Mika was going nuts for it, and I am expecting not to see any left in the bowl in an hour or so.
So without further adieu:
3 cups of cooked rice (I purposely overcooked it a bit to make it nice and mushy for the recipe)
1 can of fish meat (I chose the Walmart brand of Salmon, because I know Mika likes this, but you could use anything....tuna, etc. Fresh would be even better if you have access to it).
I tried mixing the rice and salmon in the blender, as I don't have the food processor out of storage at my parent's yet, but it bogged down too much. In hindsight, I should have added some extra liquid to the blender. Due to the starch in the rice, the liquid from the can of salmon wasn't enough.
I resorted to mixing it with my spatula in the container I would be storing it in. It mixed well, but I did add about 1 cup of chicken stock to it, as it got too thick. I am going to keep this in the fridge, as I do Bella's dog food. I suspect with this amount, feeding 2 cats twice a day, I should get about 3-4 days from it. I will let you know how long this first batch lasts.
I will post a warning now: If you do not like fish, as I don't, you will want to do this in a well ventilated area, as the smell is horrific. Now if you like fish, it may not bother you much. I added the fish and rice together while the rice was still hot....lets just say the steamed smell of salmon is not going to be forgotten soon. It was worth it though, as the can of salmon cost me maybe $1.50, and the rice about $1.00. Not bad for the size of the batch I got. I would show pictures, but the camera and I are not getting along.
Now, for an update on Bella's food. I began using the recipe that Rhonda shared on her site here. I have modified it a bit since then and thought I would share what I do.
I have switched from ground beef to ground turkey for the meat in her meal. I did this due to the fact that I haven't been taking her for her daily walks for awhile now, and she is gaining weight. I also had originally been using mixed frozen veggies in her food, but switched to just mixed peas/carrots. The corn in the other (not to be gross here, but it doesn't digest), was causing a fly problem in the front yard, despite my "poo patrol" weekly, sometimes more often. With the peas/carrots combo, I don't have this issue.
I have also switched to making this in the crockpot. I did this because then I can set it up and not have to worry about it. Whereas when I was cooking it on the stove, I had to watch to make sure it didn't boil over or stick to the bottom of the pan. The crock is just much easier.
So here is the final ingredient list:
1 lb of ground turkey
1 cup of rice
1 small bag of frozen peas/carrots mix
1/2 container of chicken stock
2 cups oatmeal
water to fill crock pot.
I place the turkey and the stock in first, with about 3 cups of water and let this cook for about an hour. I make sure to break up the turkey as it cooks. I then add in the rest of the ingredients (make sure to add water to the rim after everything else), put the top on, and cook about 6 hrs on low. You will have to stir occasionally over the 6 hours. I usually check it about every hour and stir.
I then shut the crock pot off, remove the crock from the base, and let cool. Once it is cool, I move the dog food to a plastic one gallon ice cream container I had saved, put the lid on and it goes in the fridge. This lasts us a week, with Bella getting 2 cups twice a day.
I think I will make a few more modifications over the next few months, like switching from white rice to brown rice. All in all though, it has been a great thing for her. Due to the oatmeal, and all the other natural ingredients, I am seeing less skin issues with her.
I hope you enjoyed this post, and soon I will try to have pictures.