If you are the proud pet parent of a kitty, then you know how much fun it is to spoil your cat. We only want the best for our animals, and if we could, would stay home and shower them with affection and cuddles all day. But unfortunately we can’t, and are resigned to leaving the sleeping and playing to them. There is one way we can always look out for them whether we’re home or away, and that’s by choosing the best food for them.
No matter if your cat is a grazer, or a kitty who likes to eat a lot at once, we all know what we put into our cats matters. This is why we’ve decided to put a list together of some amazing-- and easy-- DIY treats for your feline friend. Keep reading to learn:
- What should and shouldn’t your cat be eating?
- Amazing DIY kitty treat ideas!
What Should Cats Be Eating?
Cats are carnivores, and thus rely on meat protein as the main source of their diet. Although the internet is full of people who may suggest otherwise, a cat’s health cannot be maintained on a vegan or plant protein substitute diet. Cats are genetically engineered to require animal proteins that come from organs and meat, and lack the metabolic structures to break down and utilize plant proteins. Cats need to have a balanced diet, that should be mostly wet food-- although a small amount of dry kibble is okay-- and supplemented with cooked protein such as chicken, beef, or fish.
Unfortunately, many cat food manufacturers produce products for cats that have some meat in the equation, but are also loaded with plant proteins such as soy, wheat, and grains-- because it is much cheaper to make. Cats have a hard time thriving on a diet like this, which is why most veterinarians suggest keeping cats on a wet-food based diet with raw or cooked meat supplements.
What cats should not eat
Now that you know what you should be feeding your kitty to keep them happy and healthy, the following is a list of items that should be avoided:
This list is by no means exhaustive, but should give you a pretty good idea of what you should avoid giving to your kitty.
Is expensive always best?
Many pet parents are aware from shopping for themselves and their families that sometimes you get what you pay for, meaning when you spend a little more money, you’re going to get healthier ingredients. But is this always true for cats? Recently there has been a large media shift away from the typical cat (and dog) food based in cans and bags and towards a fresher, more meat-based diet. Brands such as Blue Buffalo and Orijen are creating products that sometimes need to be refrigerated, and come with a pretty hefty price tag. While the quality of their ingredients might be fantastic, it’s hard for the average cat or dog owner to keep paying for this diet.
Even meat-focused brands, however, manage to slip in a little plant-based protein as well-- in the form of potatoes and peas-- and are still not being completely honest about their product. For most cat owners, they want to make sure their kitty is getting good nutritional content, on a budget they can work with.
Pro tip: Consider supplementing your cat’s diet with more meat heavy, albeit expensive, brands a couple of times a week. It will give them some variety in their diet without having to spend a lot.
What quantity of food should my cat need?
After wondering what should their cats are eating, what quantity they should be eating is the next biggest question for cat parents. How much you feed your cat depends entirely upon the weight, age, and size of your kitty. Obesity is a very real problem among house cats, due to their increased levels of inactivity and owners who do not pay attention to exactly how much they’re feeding them. Obesity also increases the risk of diabetes, just as it does in humans, and can therefore decrease their lifespan. Although chubby kitties are the internet’s favorite, pay close attention to your kitty’s food intake, and don’t let them get to big.
At such a young age it is crucial that kittens receive optimal nutritional intake if they are to thrive and grow. Make sure to include wet food that has a high amount of protein, and offer some cooked (not raw) meat for some variety. This will help them build strong bones and immune systems that will be needed later in life. Depending on the size of your kitten, offer them food about four times a day.
As they grow, cats will develop their own particular eating habits, but most are just fine with receiving their meals in the morning and in the evening. Make sure to check the label when shopping for wet food, and ensure that there is a large amount of animal protein in their food. It is always a good idea to also include fresh fish, meat, or chicken in their diet as well. Although most cats love fish, avoid including fish daily, as it tends to have high levels of fatty acids that not good for cats.
As cats age, they tend to eat less, but it’s still a safe bet to feed them in the morning and at night. Depending on whether or not your kitty also has health issues, they may have a specific diet recommended by your vet. If they don’t, continue to feed them as you would an adult cat, with wet food and cooked human grade meat, fish, and chicken as a supplement.
Amazing DIY Treat Recipes
Now that you know what your cat should be eating and how much, it’s time to get to those DIY treat recipes! All of these recipes are made from scratch using human grade fish and meat, and would be a wonderful supplement to your cat’s healthy diet. We’re pretty sure your cat will come running each time you shake these treats!
Crunchy Tuna Cat Treats
Most cats just can’t get enough tuna, and we get it, it’s a great tasting and versatile fish. So if this sounds like your cat, these treats will definitely be a hit.
- 1 5 oz. can of tuna drained
- ½ cup oat flour
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon catnip
For this recipe, mix all the ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. Then line a tray with parchment paper, and roll ½ teaspoon balls and place on the paper. Press your finger in to flatten slightly then bake for 10-12 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Cool and allow kitty to enjoy!
Frozen Tuna Treats
This recipe is for those hot summer months, when we’d do anything to cool down. Your cat would appreciate a cool down too, and what better way then with a fishy treat!
- 1 can of tuna
- Ice cube tray
- Food processor
- Ziploc bag
This DIY treat recipe is super easy, but it’s also fun because you can pick out the shape of ice cube tray you want to use! Simply mix up the tuna and the water in the food processor and place in the Ziploc bag. Cut off one of the corners of the bag to make it easy to squeeze out the treat mix. Then fill your tray and put in the freezer for a couple of hours. Remove and allow the kitties to enjoy!
Sardine and Catnip Treats
There isn’t a kitty around who doesn’t love the taste and smell of catnip! What better way to spoil your cat-- but keep their diet on track-- then with some catnip in their treats?
- ½ cup quinoa flour
- ½ cup brown rice flour
- 1 teaspoon dried catnip
- 4-5 oz. sardines
- ½ cup parsley chopped
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
Place all the ingredients in your food processor and combine. Heat your oven to 350 and line a baking tray with parchment paper. You can either roll out this dough and use a cookie cutter (our favorite is heart shaped!) or just break treat size bits off and place on the tray. Heat in the oven for 10-12 minutes and allow to cool completely. You can substitute sardines with tuna or chicken, because we know cats can be finicky eaters!
This recipe calls for goat’s milk because it is easier for cats to digest, but you can also substitute “cat milk” that is really a meal replacement such as Cat Sure, for those who don’t do well with goat milk. These are perfect for hot days, or just when your kitty needs a little variety in their diet! Simply mix up a portion of powdered goat’s milk in water, and place in a plastic cup. Then pop in the freezer for a couple of hours, and when it’s done, put on a plate for your kitty to lick and enjoy. To change it up, consider tossing in some freeze dried fish treats into the mix too!
Because cats are carnivores, pet parents need to make sure they are getting the meat protein they need to be at their best. Homemade treats are a great supplement to your kitty’s healthy diet, and you can rest assured you know exactly what all the ingredients are that go in them!