RAW FEEDING: When you make raw cat food, the goal is to try, as closely as possible to recreate the original creature, be it a rabbit, chicken, quail or duck. To do this, one starts with a whole carcass including skin and bone (this is how you get the correct proportion of meat to bone) and then adds in the ingredients which the butcher takes out for human consumption–liver, giblets and hearts. In addition to these, it is also important to add in Omega Three oils from cold water fish such as salmon, sardine, herring, mackerel or anchovy.
Although cats are carnivores, in the wild, they eat the stomach contents of their prey. To mimic this, most vets recommend that you add a 10% to 20% vegetarian component to the food.
Even though they have done the first grind, you will need to grind the meat down to the consistency of hamburger. However, you will need to also purchase some kind of boneless meat that you can either cut up or course grind, so your cats will have something to chew. See
For each pound (16 oz) of Rabbit, Chicken, Duck or Quail:
First of all, it is extremely important to keep your meat cold and to work fast. As you complete each component (presuming you are dealing with several pounds of carcase and organ meats), return them to a cooler or fridge to keep them cold until you are ready for the final mix. In the summer, I even put the movable parts of the grinder in the freezer to keep them from warming the meat.
Using your largest grinding plate, run through the boneless chicken so it is in large chunks. Then using the medium grinding plate, render the hearts, gizzards and liver. Finally, using your smallest plate, grind the pre-ground carcase from the butcher*. You should end up with a consistency similar to hamburger.
Add the vegetarian component and mix well. I use a weigh-scale to measure what my cats will eat in a single day. I freeze this in plastic containers to be taken out as needed.
This food is very concentrated and I find my two large cats (12 and 18 lbs respectively), eat only 11 oz per day between the two of them, significantly below what the manufacturers of canned or even raw food suggest.
Most of the raw cat food recipes that call for vegetables recommend that 10 – 20% of the total be composed of vegetables. There is much controversy about what vegetables and if it is necessary to do this. On the “con” side, detractors say that cats do not eat vegetables and eviscerate their prey before eating it.
Anyone who has had cats knows that this is not necessarily true; of the twenty or so cats we had when I was a child, I never witnessed it. Our cats ate every scrap of whatever they caught, although one of them left a kidney-shaped piece of something on our porch every morning. We wondered if she didn’t like this part or if it was a particularly delectable morsel that she was leaving us for a gift.
So, on the “pro” side, there could be a case made for vegetables in their food, but since cats have no enzymes to digest vegetable matter (which they would have gotten from the guts of the animals they were eating), some recipes suggest that the vegetables be cooked. That is what seems to make sense to me.
I have chosen one of either pumpkin or squash, as cats apparently like this and it is supposed to be good for them because they are high in fibre, according to several of the vets I consulted. As well, I have chosen to add ground cooked white kidney beans or chick peas because they have a mild flavour that tastes meat-like to me, although I cannot vouch for what it tastes like for a cat. So far, the cats seem to like it.
I have also chosen to add frozen chopped spinach to mimic cat grass as well as actual cat-grass if it is available. Again, I am trying to mimic what might be in the stomach of a mouse, rabbit or duck.
As far as quantities and proportions of each component are concerned, this is extremely difficult to figure out, so I am, in some cases, just trying to make an educated guess. Hopefully the estimate will not be so far out of whack as to do the cats any harm.
Note: It is important that this be prepared ahead of time and chilled thoroughly so as not to bring the temperature of the raw meat up to where it supports the growth of bacteria.
This recipe presumes we are preparing the vegetable component for approximately 35 to 40 lbs of raw meat and organs. Anything left over can be safely frozen in small bags for later use.
Wash yams and cut out any moldy parts. Cut in large pieces and add salt, garlic and water. Cover and bring to heat on top of the stove (or place in the oven @ 350 degrees) for about an hour, or until very soft and mushy. Puree with hand blender and allow to chill thoroughly. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.