Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Basic for a HomeMade Cat Food By Meg Smart


“DO IT AND DO IT WELL OR DO NOT DO IT AT ALL”!

 

 Basics of a Homemade Cat Food


Homemade cat foods are difficult to make not because they are complex to make, but because cats have unique nutritional requirements, which ideally are met by a “prey diet”.  Carbohydrates although apparently tolerated by cats may be  potentially detrimental to the long-term health of many cats.  Although not proven conclusively carbohydrates or dry cat foods are believed to contribute to lower urinary tract disease, inflammatory bowel disease, skin problems, obesity, chronic renal disease and diabetes mellitus.

Cats were not truly domesticated like dogs. Our domestic cats evolved from the African wildcat Felis sylvestris. They became associated with the early agrarian man because of a predatory drive that attracted it to  rodents that feasted on stored winter food supplies, saving humans from starvation and possibly rodent borne diseases .  To-day because of human restrictions the “feral” cat has become dependent on us for its food and environmental enrichment...

The introduction of dry cat foods into the market was done to expand the pet food manufacturer’  product line.  Appropriate flavours were added to dog food formulations, and the  kibble shapes and sizes were made to appeal to cats. The assumption was that a cat’s nutritional requirements were not that  different from a dog.  In addition, AAFCO feeding trials proved these diets were not detrimental over the short term (6 months). Extrusion technology not appropriate nutrition dictates what ingredients are necessary in a dry food. Carbohydrates are required in dry diets to keep the kibble from breaking down into fines. A manufacturing necessity not a nutritional one.
 Table 1 Unique features of a cat as an obligate carnivore

Feature
Cat
Comments
Face
Forward position of ears and eyes
Increased visual acuity (night) and hearing
Dentition
Has 30 permanent teeth (dog has 42 with more molars designed to crush)
Tooth shape specialized for grasping and tearing flesh
Jaw
Restricted side to side and front to back mobility
Limited ability to grind
Claws
Retractable
Digestive tract
Stomach, caecum and colon short
Intestinal length is short
Surface area of stomach increased
Gastric pH lower
Evolutionary adaptation to a highly digestible protein ,calorie dense  diet
Glucose metabolism
Uses glucogenic amino acids serine for glucose production
Limited ability to metabolize dietary  soluble carbohydrates due to a lack of or very low glucokinase activity in the liver
Liver lacks fructokinase
Constant state of gluconeogenesis
Dependent on a continual intake of highly digestible, biologically appropriate protein
 Little glucose in all a meat diet
 Dogs have multiple carbohydrate enzyme handling  systems in liver
Fatty acid metabolism
Omega 6, 3 and Arachadonic acid are essential
Found only in meat
Vitamin A metabolism
Require preformed Vitamin A can’t convert Beta carotene
Found in organ meat of prey
Protein metabolism
Enzyme system  amino transferase which converts amino acids to energy and the urea cycle enzymes    can ‘t be turned off
Dogs can modify rate depending on how much dietary protein is present
A special need for arginine, taurine, methionine and cysteine
Urinary Tract
Originated in a dry climate
Urine pH on a “prey” diet is under 7
Can produce a highly concentrated urine
Naturally have a low thirst drive
Pancreas
Not adapted to dealing with post  eating glucose surges
Results in an insulin surge rather than a constant level of insulin
Vitamins
The enzyme responsible for endogenous synthesis of Vitamin D diverted to energy production
Can not convert enough tryptophan to Niacin to meet the demands of energy metabolism
Can’t convert beta-carotene to Vitamin A
Found in the  organ meat of the prey
Water
Adapted to environmental extremes
Not a strong thirst drive even when mildly dehydrated
Able to form a highly concentrated urine
Ratio of water : dry matter intake is 2:1

The ideal diet for a cat

An all “prey” raw diet is ideal. Unfortunately, to feed whole raw mice to a cat does not appeal to the public. A concern about feeding raw foods is instilled in the cat owner by both the industry and the veterinary profession. Some raw food manufacturers are aware of the public health issues surrounding raw diets, (see the Canadian Association of raw food manufacturers’ web site) and take steps to minimize the presence of offending microorganisms in their diets. A cautionary note on all packaging indicates the proper methods for handling and feeding the raw diets. If these steps are followed, the risk of ingesting food borne pathogens is minimal. Once a cat is adapted to a raw diet, they generally eat their allotted portion rapidly within 2 minutes, so there little concern about left over raw food in the feed dish.

When a veterinarian advises a client to feed a raw diet or a client tells the veterinarian that their pet is fed a raw diet, the client should be made aware of the potential public health concerns and the precautionary steps to minimize the risk of exposure.  This information should be put in the medical records of that pet and the owner should sign that they understand.

Commercially a canned diet is preferable over a dry diet. To determine the amount of carbohydrates present you look at the guaranteed analysis on the label and you subtract from 100 the value for the Min(imum) Crude Protein % plus Min Fat% plus the Max(imum) Moisture %plus the Max Fibre% plus the Max Ash %. This number should be less than 1.5.

The basic principles of a homemade diet:


Protein


Protein requirement for kittens is 1.5 time higher than chicks or piglets; for adults it is 2 to 3 times higher. The diet must supply a protein source of a high biological value (all animal sources eg. meat, eggs) that meets the unique amino acid requirements of the cat.  Arginine, tyrosine (coat colour) amino acids are essential and found in raw organ meats such as liver.

Fat


Fat is essential for cats and should be all from animal sources.

The following fatty acids are essential, arachadonic acid, Omega 6, and Omega 3 and are found in flax,  wild salmon (fish) oil  and organ meat

Minerals


Calcium: powdered eggshell, raw young bone (raw chicken wing tips, breastbone), supplement

Trace Minerals


Trace minerals are found naturally in liver, meat and bones, if you are concerned a supplement can be used.

Vitamins


Vitamin A and D required preformed and are found in liver, Cod liver oil and egg yolk

B Vitamins: Nutritional yeast, brewer’s yeast


Basic Cat Recipe

Beef Liver raw                                                  100g

Chicken Breasts Raw or cooked                     600g ( Can leave the bone and cartilage in and grind in a food processor if this is done do not put in  egg shell. Can substitute ground turkey, salmon, venison)

Egg shell ground                                               1                                                                                                      

Hard boiled eggs                                              4 large

Flax  forward                                                     2 tbs ** Contains the essential fatty acids and more , feed 1 ½  teaspoons per day with food. can be purchased at Global and Pet Plan

Nutritional Yeast/ brewer’s yeasts                 1 tbs Purchased at a health food store
Yogurt                                                               150g (can substitute with creamed or cottage cheese)

** A balanced mineral and  vitamin supplement for cats can be fed , but is not necessary.


The Calculated Analysis: On an As fed basis 153 Kcal/100g, Protein 17%, Fat 8%, Carbohydrates 2.1%, Fibre .2%, Ash 1.1%

Calcium .22% and Phosphorous .2%

Equipment:


Heavy-duty food processor, metric food weigh scale, normal scale to weigh the cat. Large container for mixing, Ziplock bags for freezing meals.

Preparation:


This is where ones preferences and creativity come into play. The chicken breast with skin and cartilage can be minced in the food processor and then lightly cooked in a fry pan, or fed raw. The liver  you must  leave raw, as Taurine and some other nutrients are heat sensitive.

All the ingredients can be added to the food processor and minced and mixed

Amount to feed


Between 3 to 4 % of a cat’s ideal body weight in kilograms will give you approximately the number of grams to feed per day for example a 6 kg cat in good body condition would require between 180 to 240 g per day. If the cat becomes too thin or fat, the daily intake can be increased or decreased slowly. A cat by nature eats11 to 13 small meals a day, so you should divide the food and  feed your cat a minimum of 2 meals per day, but preferably more

For something to chew on to elevate boredom, provide additional cartilage, Ca and P, and clean teeth, give ½ raw chicken breast bone or 1 raw chicken wing tip every other day. If you are concerned about raw food do not feed these cooked as cooked bones can splinter. Also one has to watch as the cat may choke if it is not used to chewing in this type of food.

For weight reduction


Controlling the cat’s caloric intake is critical. To determine what the cat’s daily caloric intake you use the cat’s ideal body weight not its actual body weight. Your cat may weight 15 lbs (7 kg) but ideally he should weight 10 lbs (4.5 kg). A cats daily caloric requirements is 50 /kg of ideal Body weight or 50x 4.5=225 Kcal /day. For the chicken diet he needs about  145g of food per day for the venison 120 g per day and for the fish 170 g / day. The amount should be divided and fed a minimum of 2 X a day. Make any changes in food gradual  over a period of several days   and if the cat should stop eating the food for more than 2 days call your veterinarian . An obese cat should not be off his food for more than one or two days. Weigh the cat on a weekly basis  its weight loss should be about 1% per week .If your cat appears hungry, you may have to plan some diversionary tactics such as toys or games to please him.

Recommended Web Sites





Ancestral Nutrient requirements of a cat (any nutrient not listed use AAFCO values)

Label  Minimums
6 kg cat
Dry
Canned
Kcal/d
300
% of DM
90% DM
22% DM
g/1000Kcal
g/d
Kcal/1000gm
5270
474
115
%DM
0
Protein
61
54.9
13.42
115.75
34.72
Fat
36.5
32.85
8.03
69.26
20.78
Ash
1.5
1.35
0.33
2.85
0.85
Fiber+ carbohydrates
1
0.9
0.22
1.90
0.57
Ca
1.2
1.08
0.264
2.28
0.68
P
0.98
0.882
0.2156
1.86
0.56
Mg
0.1
0.09
0.022
0.19
0.06
Na
0.25
0.225
0.055
0.47
0.14
K
0.79
0.711
0.1738
1.50
0.45
mg/1000g
mg/1000Kcal
mg/d
Cu
12.4
11.16
2.728
23.53
7.06
Fe
288
259.2
63.36
546.49
163.95
Zn
71.4
64.26
15.708
135.48
40.65
Mn
0.61
0.549
0.1342
1.16
0.35
niacin
2.8
2.52
0.616
5.31
1.59
thiamin
5.8
5.22
1.276
11.01
3.30
IU/1000kg
IU/1000g
IU/d
Vitamin A IU/kg
84,800
76320
18656
160910.82
48273.24
Vit E IU/1000g
33
29.7
7.26
62.62
18.79
Vitamin D IU /1000g
250
225
55
474.38
142.31

12 comments:

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  2. Thanks for this very clear post. We all begin feeding raw with so much trepidation. It's imperative to demystify it. You have done this nicely.

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  3. What about taurine?? I know it is added to most home made diets...?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always reccomend adding the liver raw just for that reason. If all the meat is cooked then Taurine must be added

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