Are you going broke buying cat food? If the answer is yes, you have come to the right place. I spend only $100 per year for each of my (two) cats and you can do the same!
From one cat lover to another, let’s confess. We would do anything for them, right? From toys to snacks and food, the goal is to make the furballs happy. But this doesn’t have to become a major expense.
Buying cat food is a sensitive topic for most. To be honest, the ingredients on commercial cat food scare me a bit. Below are the ingredients of two major cat food brands. I don’t even know what some of them are. *yikes*
IAMS’ list of ingredients starts off just fine with chicken, only to take an immediate turn for the worse. Chicken by-product and corn meal? Beet pulp and powdered cellulose? None of these ingredients sound nutritious.
Do I even want to know why things such as potassium chloride and copper sulfate “need” to be in cat food? I wouldn’t eat whatever had these type of ingredients in it. And I don’t want my cats to eat it either!
Don’t let the packaging fool you!
Meow Mix and its ingredients are even worse. The first, and with that, main ingredient isn’t even chicken. It is yellow corn. Cats are carnivores. There is no need for vegetables. And it only gets worse with soybean and chicken by-product meal.
Same as IAMS, Meow Mix includes ingredients such as phosphates and chlorides. None of which I would like my cat to consume. Take a look at the bag for a second. The company advertises chicken, turkey, salmon, and ocean fish. You’ll get all but that!
Not to worry. Buying cat food does NOT have to be complicated!
How about, instead of buying cat food in a bag or can, buy the ingredients and make the food yourself? Don’t run away yet. I have been doing it for five years now and it has been the best decision. Not only do my cats eat ridiculously healthy now. I also have the peace of mind that they don’t eat any funky ingredients like chlorides. AND, I only pay $100 a year per cat.
Way back when, I stumbled across a veterinarian named Lisa Pierson and her website. On there she has outlined not only the health benefits of making your own cat food. She also provides the recipe she uses herself and step by step instructions. I myself use her recipe and have saved a ton of cash over the last five years.
3 pounds of poultry thigh meat/bones/skin
- 1 cup water or, preferably, more if your cat will eat it with more water – increased dietary water helps keep the urinary tract healthy and unobstructed with debris (crystals, mucus, protein, white blood cells, red blood cells, etc.)
- 2 eggs – (optional) use the yolk raw but lightly cook the white (soft boiling them for ~3-4 minutes works well) – remove all or at least most of the shell
- 5000 – 10,000 mg fish oil (5-10 capsules of the average 1,000 mg capsule) – I use 10 capsules for my cats. Fish oil is a good source of essential fatty acids – note that this is increased from the original amount of 2,000 mg – if your cat does not like fish, it is ok to use only 2,000 mg. Do NOT use cod liver oil! There is already plenty of vitamin A and D in the liver we are using.
- Vitamin E – 400 IU (268 mg) (powdered E in capsules is the easiest to use)
- Vitamin B-complex 50 – 1 capsule or tablet but if you have a picky cat, you should start with only 1/2 capsule or tablet for a total of 25 mg; you can try to increase from there for the next batch but if you determine that your cat is turned off from the food with more than 25 mg, then just leave it at 25 mg.
- 2,000 mg taurine (use powdered – either in capsules or loose)
- 1 tsp Morton Lite salt with iodine when using chicken but use 1/2 tsp when using rabbit + chicken (contains potassium and sodium – make sure that it contains iodine – see below for further explanation.) For people living outside of the United States who cannot source Morton Lite Salt with iodine, use 1 tsp of regular salt (sodium chloride) with iodine.
- Liver – If using ground rabbit (which includes liver) from wholefoods4pets.com, do not add additional liver. If using chicken legs, thighs or a whole chicken carcass minus the organs, add 3-4 ounces of chicken livers per 3 lb of meat/bones/skin.
Step by Step Instructions
Don’t let the recipe above intimidate you into running to the supermarket and picking up an overpriced bag of dry cat food filled with unhealthy ingredients. The process is simple! I make enough cat food for both of my cats for two months at a time. And it takes me 1 1/2 hours only.
Step 1: Get all the ingredients you need.
Ingredients – I get the chicken from Costco for a good deal price wise. And buying in bulk is not a problem since I make 20 lbs of food at a time. Additionally, you will need to pick up chicken livers from your local supermarket. The supplements (taurine, vitamin B and E, Fish Oil, and iodized salt) I either order online or pick up from Costco. Those will last you a while!
Step 2: Mix up the slurry (ignore the screaming cat).
Slurry – At first you will mix the supplements with water. Hot water is best as it helps dissolve the supplements. At the same time, I usually multitask and boil the eggs and cook the liver.
Grinder – The grinder will be your biggest upfront cost. I use the Tasin grinder. It has honestly been the best. I have had it for five years now. It has never broken down and is still going strong. So it was well worth the cost and has paid for itself multiple times overdue to all the money I have saved by not having to buy commercial cat food.
Step 3: Cook and mix in the chicken.
Chicken / Eggs / Livers – After the supplements have dissolved in water, I send the eggs, livers, and chicken thighs (all cooked) through the grinder. Once ground up, mix everything really well to distribute the ingredients evenly.
The End Product
And there you have it. A few simple steps, minimal time investments, and enough food for two months for two cats. If you have one cat only, 20 lbs of chicken will last you twice as long or you can make less at a time. Once the batch is all done, be sure to freeze it. Otherwise, it’ll go bad within a few days!
This batch gives me peace of mind, knowing what I feed my cats on a daily basis. No funky ingredients which could ultimately lead to illnesses down the road. AND I save so much money as well by not buying overpriced, unhealthy cat food at the store! Money I can save, invest, and use to retire down the road!
While you’re making the cat food, your cats will be yelling at you constantly. They will have zero patience and will want to have a taste every second of the process 🙂 All while stalking you while you move around the kitchen. They will be relentless, but happy as can be in the end!
How about you? Will you start making your own vs buying cat food and save big bucks?
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