Anabanana, Makin' Catfood

(you have to read that title as if it's being said by Rob Schneider doing his SNL skit about the guy who sits next to the copier)

Belsum said in the comments of another post that making my own catfood seems complicated. It's not really, and since I don't think I've ever explained what it is or why I do it, I thought I'd post about it here.

When I was growing up, we fed the cats both dry and moist catfood, so that's what I intended to do when I got cats myself. When I offered them moist catfood from the store, however, they only licked off the moisture and wouldn't eat it. I was certainly NOT going to buy something that they were only going to lick, so I started casting about for other options. (I did try other brands with the same result.) In the vet's office, I spotted a brochure for a way to make your own catfood. I figured I'd try it. It was a smashing success. They ate all that they were given. Over time, it seemed like a good decision because their coats became healthy and they seemed to have very few health issues. Plus Matti, a little on the lean side, gained weight, while Martin, a little on the heavy side, seemed to lose weight. They really seem to enjoy it.

It doesn't take long, maybe and hour to an hour and a half to make a batch and a batch lasts 7 days in the winter and 10 in the summer. (They eat more in the winter.) I can do it while watching TV and can do it in advance, since it's frozen between the time I make it and when I feed it to them. When my dad was taking care of the cats while I was in India, I made three or four batches to tide him over til I came back.

It's not complicated either. I buy a powder online that has many of the vitamins and minerals the cats need. I add that to water, plus a little salmon oil, then add ground chicken and liver. I grind it myself with a small food processor from chicken breasts I buy at Costco, so that keeps the cost extremely reasonable. When all that is mixed together, I divide it up into single serving sizes (refined from the powder's instruction after a little trial and error when I'd first started) that I put in cheap plastic baggies (the fold-over sandwich kind seem to be best) and then freeze. The daily routine then is to take the frozen servings out of the freezer and put them in the fridge to defrost, then warm them up (or defrost if I've forgotten step one) in a warm water bath before dumping the serving from the baggie into the bowl. I've tried to figure out a less wasteful way to package them for freezing, but I need to be able to warm them a little and the microwave tends to start cooking it if I'm off by a second or two. Plus, I need to be able to defrost them quickly (without cooking) if I forget to. So, that part is still being thought through.

All in all, it's cost effective (through the wonders of Costco), and only a little time consuming (which for people who know me know is not an issue), and the cats really seem to thrive on it. I really enjoy taking care of them as much as they enjoy taking care of me. :)

At least I can still move my fingers to type. Thanks, Martin.

Matti being cute while sleeping. As usual.


belsum said...

Fascinating! Thanks for the explanation.

Jeri said...

My poor babies get dry cereal, bought by the 20 lb bag at PetSmart and served up in a perpetual feeder. (it's Nutro Natural Choice w/ MSM and chondroitin, so it's hardly slacker stuff, but still...)

On the occasional weekend morning they'll get about a 1" square of bacon, broken up, but they have to *perform* for it.

You need to remind your kitties how good they have it. Frequently. :)

Anonymous said...

LOL Sometimes I seriously think you read my mind. I was *just* thinking about how I needed to go back in your archives and find the post where you mentioned making cat food, so I could comment about it! ;)

When I come out in April, I'd like to see this process! Miss Kitty gets "wet" food twice a day (as well as free range dry food all the time), and I'd be interested so see how you make it and to do some math to see if it would be economical for me as well!

MWT said...

Hmmm... coincidentally there's an outdoor cat that's eyeing me lately, that I was thinking of feeding... AND I have some frozen chicken in the freezer that's getting old ...

How much of it is a daily serving size?

Anne C. said...

The package says 1/2 to 2/3 cup per day. Because my cats get dry catfood as well, I cut that in half, say 1/4 cup per day. And because they get fed twice a day (so the food doesn't sit out for SO long), I divide that in half again. So each "serving" is 1/8 cup (which is around 50 grams) and they get that twice a day in the winter. In the summer, they get one "serving" to share in the morning and one each in the evening.

Jen, I'd be happy to show you how it's done. I've pretty much got it down to a science now.

Jeri, I remind myself of it whenever I'm not as good a parent as I'd like to be - leaving them all day long, feeding them super late, forgetting to fill their dry food bowl, letting the catbox go a little too long between changes.
I think they might actually know how good they have it, as they are sweet cats and cause me very little aggravation. I think, coming from the shelter, they would have had some experiences to show them what the alternatives are.

Random Michelle K said...

Friday cat blogging!

Kat and Kit get science diet dry food at will (assuming someone hasn't pigged out and eaten all the food before we get home) and about a thousand "feline greenies" treats a day from Grandmom.