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10 Vet-Approved Homemade Cat Food Recipes (Easy & Tasty!)

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By Nicole Cosgrove

baby cat burmese eating shredded chicken and quinoa homemade cat food vet approved

Vet approved

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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When it comes to a healthy cat diet, it’s almost impossible to make it ideal. Whether you use wet or dry cat food, there are always some drawbacks in formulas. These can be low-quality ingredients, chemicals, preservatives, or artificial components that enhance the flavors, or adjust the texture of the foods. Besides, new research links highly processed pet food to disease due to its content of large amounts of advanced glycation end products.1

One of the biggest challenges of feeding your cat a delicious homemade diet is making sure that it is complete, balanced, and species-appropriate, which will definitely require some supplementation. Keep reading to find our four favorite vet-approved homemade cat food recipes, plus six excellent homemade cat food recipes from other veterinarians and vet nutritionists. Please note that getting the measurements right is important, so you may want to invest in a good kitchen scale.

Important Information

The recipes on our list are calculated to provide one full day of food for a neutered male cat that weighs approximately 8 pounds, so the average caloric content is 220 calories. This is the daily caloric allowance, so you should divide the food into the number of meals your cat normally eats each day. Please ensure you cater specifically to your cat’s nutritional needs (e.g., gender, weight, life stage, and whether they are desexed, pregnant, or lactating). We also always recommend speaking to your veterinarian before making any changes.

Top 10 Homemade Cat Food Recipes Are:

1. Our Favorite Homemade Cat Food Recipe

Our favorite chicken quinoa cat food recipe

Easy Homemade Cat Food with Chicken, Spinach & Quinoa

Nicole Cosgrove
Here's our easy-to-cook recipe of homemade cat food with chicken and rice! This recipe produces enough food for one day for a one-year-old, 8 pounds of body weight neutered male cat (a total of 229 calories split into three meals).
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Cats
Servings 3 meals
Calories 76.3 kcal

Equipment

  • Large bowl
  • Spoon
  • Airtight container (for storage)
  • Kitchen Scale

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Thoroughly shred the baked chicken breast and add to the bowl.
  • Chop the spinach into small pieces.
  • Mix all these ingredients together in a bowl and the meal is ready. If your cat prefers a more pate-like consistency you can blend it with a little bit of clean drinking water.
  • Divide into the number of meals your cat receives in a day.
  • Store the leftovers in your airtight container in the refrigerator.

Notes

Image by Nicole Cosgrove | Hepper

Nutrition

Calories: 76.3kcalCarbohydrates: 18.4gProtein: 47gFat: 34.5g
Keyword homemade cat food with chicken and rice

2. Homemade Cat Food Recipe With Beef and Carrots

Burmese cat eating homemade vet approved cat food beef and carrot
Image by Nicole Cosgrove | Hepper
Servings: 2-3 meals (one day’s food)
Total Calories: 216 (72-108 per meal)
Protein: 44.6%
Fat: 36.7%
Carbohydrates: 18.7%
Formulated For: 8-pound neutered male cat
Ingredients

Sauté the beef using little to no fat. Grate the carrots, then mix all of the ingredients (including the canola oil) in a bowl. Divide into two or three servings depending on the number of meals your cat gets in a day. Serve one and refrigerate the rest in a sealed container to feed on the next meal.

When making this meal, I was thinking, “There is no way my cat is going to eat raw carrots, even mixed with beef.” But I was wrong. He devoured it. So, if your cat likes beef, you should definitely try this recipe.


3. Homemade Cat Food Recipe With Turkey and Squash

squash and turkey homemade cat food recipe vet approved
Image by Nicole Cosgrove | Hepper
Servings: 2-3 meals (one day’s food)
Total Calories: 223 (75-111 per meal)
Protein: 49.8%
Fat: 32.9%
Carbohydrates: 17.3%
Formulated For: 8-pound neutered male cat
Ingredients
  • 74 g of turkey breast, roasted, shredded
  • 135 g boiled, drained spinach
  • 135 g squash or summer zucchini, boiled with skin and chopped
  • 6 g canola oil
  • 0.38 g Morton Iodized Salt
  • 2.9 g Balance IT ® Feline®

After you have roasted the turkey breast and boiled the vegetables, all you have to do is blend these ingredients. Divide into the number of servings your cat gets in a day. Serve one, and refrigerate the rest in a sealed container to feed on the next meal.

This is another recipe I wasn’t sure about when making it, but my kitty and I were more than pleasantly surprised. Who knew that when mixed with turkey, cats are obsessed with spinach and squash? He licked the bowl clean.


4. Lamb and Asparagus Homemade Cat Food

burmese cat eating homemade lamb and asparagus cat food vet approved
Image by Nicole Cosgrove | Hepper
Servings: 2-3 meals (one day’s food)
Total Calories: 225 (75-112 per meal)
Protein: 48.7%
Fat: 33.7%
Carbohydrates: 17.6%
Formulated For: 8-pound neutered male cat
Ingredients

This recipe is super easy and my kitty loved it. Broil the lamb chops and cut them into tiny bite-sized pieces. Weigh and cook the egg white. Boil, drain, and finely chop the asparagus. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. Divide in two or three servings depending on the number of meals your cat gets in a day. Serve one and refrigerate the rest in a sealed container to feed on the next meal, and voila.


5. Dr. Judy Morgans’s Complete Chicken Recipe for Cats

burmese cat smelling fresh raw chicken cat food recipe
Image by Nicole Cosgrove | Hepper

We love Dr. Judy’s chicken-based cat food recipe because it includes superfoods, such as kale, cranberries, and turmeric. It also excludes grains and excessive carbohydrates. This is a raw meat-based recipe that your cat will certainly love, so you will need a grinder to prepare this recipe. It didn’t look as appetizing as some of the other meals on this list do to humans, but it wasn’t for me, it was for my little obligate carnivore who enjoyed it to the max.


6.  Dr. Karen Beker’s Adult Feline Cooked Chicken Meal

Burmese cat eating fresh chicken meal vet approved recipe
Image by Nicole Cosgrove | Hepper

Dr. Beker’s chicken-based homemade cooked cat food recipe is one of our favorites. We love that this recipe includes a complete nutrient profile and kilocalorie content as well as feeding instructions! It is important to note that this recipe is formulated for maintenance, which means this recipe is for adult cats only. When I made it, I also ended up adding the spring water from the sardines into the mix to add a little moisture, since it’s all baked and not blended ingredients, and my kitty went crazy for it – not to mention the dogs were eyeing up the cat food bowl for any scraps left over!


7. Holistic Vet’s Homemade Cat Food Recipes Vet Approved | Basic Blueprint

You are free to use this image but we do require you to link back to Hepper.com for credit

This is a basic homemade cat food recipe blueprint. We love the Holistic Vet recipes because they are based on your own choice of protein and healthy add-ons. The holistic vet has her own line of supplements allowing kitty parents to prepare a variety of complete and balanced meals. This premix is especially helpful for those who struggle to manage and cook organ meats since the important nutrients they provide have been already included in the premix. This particular recipe is enough to feed your cat for five to six days.


8. Dr. Jones’ Tasty Homemade Cat Food Recipe (Turkey)

Burmese cat about to eat Dr. Jones’ Tasty Homemade Cat Food Recipe (Turkey)
Image by Nicole Cosgrove | Hepper

Dr. Jones’s tasty turkey cat food recipe is easy to prepare. Using eggshell as a calcium supplement and ground flax seed for fiber. Dr. Jone explains step by step how to prepare, supplement and serve this delicious cat food. This is one of those meals that looks good enough to ask your cat to share with you (I didn’t, but I thought about it!).


9. Dr. Michael Fox’s Homemade ‘Natural’ Diet for Cats

burmese cat eating Dr. Michael Fox’s Homemade ‘Natural’ Diet for Cats
Image by Nicole Cosgrove | Hepper

This recipe from the author of “Cat Body, Cat Mind” can be prepared using either chicken, beef, lamb, or turkey. Dr. Fox uses natural ingredients including clams, eggs, cottage cheese, gelatin, and supplements such as kelp, calcium, and nutritional yeast to build delicious recipes for your beloved cat. When I made it, I don’t think I boiled it long enough to make it into the nice patties, but my cat loved it just the same.


10. Lucky Feral’s Homecooked Cat Food Recipe

lucky feral's home cooked chicken cat food recipe
Image by Nicole Cosgrove | Hepper

This homemade cooked cat food recipe from Lucky Feral’s is so well prepared that it made it to our list. We love how easy this recipe is to put together, is based on purely natural ingredients starting with chicken legs, hearts, and livers as a source of healthy animal proteins and including a low amount, less than 10% of steamed vegetables as a source of fiber. Using powdered eggshells as a source of calcium and taurine, B complex, vitamin E, and kelp powder as a supplement. This recipe also includes sardines as a source of omega-3 fatty acids. This species-appropriate diet is a great option to feed your cats.

Why Make Homemade Cat Food?

Each cat has individual needs, and covering them all with mass-market industrial products isn’t always the right decision.

Besides, cats are carnivores – they eat raw meat and don’t really need grains. This is what many owners forget about when buying kibbles with wheat and corn. As a result, their beloved pets suffer from stomach upset, sensitivities, poor digestion, being overweight, metabolic problems, and so on.

Ideally, a feline diet should mimic what these hunters ate originally: prey. If you measure a mouse’s nutritional content on a dry matter basis, the nutritional profile would be 55% protein, 45% fat, and only 1-2% carbohydrate. That’s the reasoning behind our vet-approved homemade cat food recipes: they mimic the macronutrient profile of a mouse.

If you’re still wondering why to bother making cat food (because it does take a lot of time), take into account the following advantages.

1. It’s All-Natural

Have you ever thought about what makes dry and wet cat food store for so long? Why does it last for a year without changing flavor and properties? Even the best cat foods involve extra processing and adding artificial preservatives. It’s not good for a cat’s health since many pets are allergic to chemical preservatives and flavors, but the signs of allergy might be even unnoticeable. Besides, homemade food for cats has more natural nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. They are preserved in fresh products and digested quickly.

2. It Has Pure Protein

Commercial cat food has 26-35% protein. Not only do meat and eggs serve as the source of this nutrient but many manufacturers also add soy and bean products. Those components aren’t equally good for all cats. Some pets develop allergic reactions to peas, lentils, and soy.

3. There’s Nothing Extra

What else is included in cat food? Manufacturers add plant-based oils, various grains and seeds, and other questionable products that serve as the source of carbs and fats. They might cause various health problems and are not digested efficiently. There’s a huge list of other ingredients that are not present in natural cat food recipes. The latter allows for avoiding potentially dangerous products.

So, if you’re not afraid that you won’t be able to store the food for a long time or that you will miss a chance to use an automatic feeder, homemade cat food is a great option for you!

Preparing homemade cat food can be a great way to ensure your cat receives the nutrition they need to thrive, and serving it in the right dish is also an important aspect of nurturing their health. Our Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl was designed with feline well-being in mind, featuring shallow, wide, whisker-friendly dishes and slight elevation, promoting great posture and eating habits. Best of all, this bowl is dishwasher safe, meaning the all-important clean-up after each meal is simple. 

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The 7 Essential Nutrients in a Cat’s Diet

What should be included in the cat’s recipes? There are several nutrients that must be in any food you serve to your cat:

1. Protein

Before you start formulating the recipes when cooking for cats, you should find out how much protein your cat needs. It roughly depends on the life stage, but the average norm should be defined individually by a vet. If you serve natural food, include meat (chicken, turkey, beef, or rabbit) and eggs, as those are the primary source of protein for cats. This is the basics of cat nutrition. By following them, you ensure the proper growth and development of muscles.

2. Fats

Although excessive fat leads to obesity, it’s essential for absorbing vitamins and minerals. Fat is a very important energy source for cats, second only to proteins. Besides, it’s used to absorb fatty acids, which are important for reproduction, wound healing, and healthy skin and coat. Besides, fat and carbs both serve as a source of energy. If your cat is prone to obesity, choose lean meats like chicken or turkey breast. If your pet is undernourished, it can gravitate towards fatty pieces of meat.

3. Carbohydrates

When it comes to carbohydrates, there are no exact numbers given, but ideally, they should not exceed 20% of the food. This is relatively difficult to achieve but not impossible, especially feeding a homemade diet.

cat eating outdoors on grass
Image Credit: Capri23auto, Pixabay

4. Fiber

Fiber is important for ensuring healthy digestion and metabolism. When you define how to make cat food, figure out what will serve as the source of fiber. Some cats love eating vegetables, and others chew berries. While cats can eat berries, like blackberries and strawberries, never let your cat take sips from your smoothie if there are other potentially harmful ingredients included like dairy or grapes. Consult with a vet and find out which sources of fiber will be ideal for your cat. You need to find products that won’t cause gas, diarrhea, constipation, and other adverse effects.

5. Essential Amino Acids

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. As obligate carnivores, cats have very specific nutritional requirements. Two amino acids are considered essential for cats since they are unable to synthesize them. These are Taurine and Arginine, both of which are typically supplemented into the cats’ diets. The lack of these nutrients would result in damage to your cat’s organs and health.

Cats lack the enzyme needed to synthesize arginine in their bodies. Arginine is involved in the removal of ammonia, a waste product of protein breakdown from the body. If cats lack supplemental arginine and they are unable to remove the ammonia from their bodies, they can suffer from vomiting, weight loss, neurological signs, and even death.

Taurine is another essential amino acid that cats, unlike other animals, are unable to synthesize. It plays a very important role in the growth and development of kittens and in the general health of adult cats. If a cat’s diet has inadequate levels of taurine, they will suffer from retinal degeneration, which can lead to blindness, dilated cardiomyopathy, and, in the case of females, also reproductive issues.

6. Vitamins

Here comes the most challenging part, since it’s hard to estimate the number of vitamins in homemade food. Yet, you should be aware of which vitamins are important for felines.

Vitamins
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin B1, B6, B12
  • Riboflavin
  • Folic acid
  • Niacin
  • Pantothenic acid

Of special importance are vitamin A and vitamin D since cats are very effective at synthesizing them out of plant precursors. So, how can you make sure all of them are present in your cat’s diet? Consult with a veterinarian and make up a plan. If some elements are lacking, you’ll need to give vitamin supplements to your pet.

7. Minerals

Here is the list of minerals that should be present in a cat’s diet:

Minerals
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorous
  • Magnesium
  • Sodium
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Selenium
  • Iodine
  • Chlorine
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • Copper

In the same manner, you should discuss the cat’s diet with a veterinarian and find out how to include all of these elements in the food served.

Ingredients to Avoid

Now, when you decide how to make your cat food, you should consider one more thing: what should be avoided. We know that some manufacturers add products that are not necessarily ideal for cats.

These include:
  • Soy: Soy is typically used to increase the protein content in commercial cat food. Soy is not a complete protein source for an obligate carnivore.
  • Peas and pea fiber: Although many manufacturers add it as a source of protein, peas have no proven positive effect on the cat’s health since they lack the essential amino acids they obtain from animal proteins, and some might even develop an allergy.
  • Corn: Although corn gluten is a source of protein used in commercial pet food, many crops are genetically modified. There has been no study on the long-term effect of GMO products on cats’ bodies, so it’s better to avoid such products.
  • Wheat: This is a source of carbohydrates and is not an ideal food for a cat. On extremely rare occasions, cats have developed an allergy to wheat.
  • Non-specific meat and meat by-products: If your cat eats non-specific meat by-products in its food and develops an allergy, it will be very difficult for you to find out what is the trigger ingredient. Avoid cat foods with these mystery meats listed as ingredients.

Frequent Asked Questions (FAQ)

How to get my cat to eat homemade cat food?

It will be easier to switch a cat from canned (wet) food to raw or cooked. Typically, the transition takes about a week. You start serving food in a 20/80 ratio, then 40/60, 50/50, and replace the old food gradually. However, the process of transition may take months – don’t give up. Some pet owners suggest starting with raw/cooked food treats, such as chicken wings.

Is canola oil safe for my cat?

The above recipes use canola oil, which is safe for cats in small quantities as part of a complete, balanced diet. This oil should not be substituted without the approval of a veterinarian.

What ingredients are in homemade cat food?

Typically, homemade cat food is made of meat (chicken, turkey, duck, rabbit, fish, pork, lamb), liver, salmon oil, and eggs. Optionally, cat owners can add small portions of grains, vegetables, or fruits. Vitamin supplements are also added to prevent deficiencies.

cat-after-eating-food-from-a-plate
Image credit: mik ulyannikov, Shutterstock

How should I store homemade cat food?

Usually, it’s stored in a refrigerator. Cooked food lasts 24-72 hours from the moment of preparation. If you serve raw meat, you can store meals in the freezer and defrost them before the moment of serving. Frozen food is stored for months without losing its nutrients and properties.

Can I make homemade dry cat food at home?

Yes, it’s possible to cook healthy dry cat food at home. A slow-baking technique is the best for this purpose because it allows for preserving nutrients and maintaining crispy consistency. The recipes and techniques are described in our separate guide.

How can I make healthy homemade cat food?

You should consider all the aspects of healthy feline nutrition to prepare the recipe that would be a healthy option for your feline friend. The amount of protein, fat, and carbs should be thoroughly calculated. Also, the food should contain all the required vitamins, micro- and macro-elements. Please, remember that adding human spices can be harmful, so you should learn about human foods that are toxic for cats.

Make sure you’re feeding your cat the right amount, check out our cat food calculator here.

The exact amount of calories an individual animal needs to maintain a healthy weight is variable and influenced by many factors including genetics, age, breed, and activity level. This tool is meant to be used only as a guideline for healthy individuals and does not substitute veterinary advice 

Final Thoughts

Feline family members have their special nutritional needs that you should consider them when choosing the diet. Cats living on all-natural products are less prone to diseases of the intestinal system and kidneys, not to mention that it allows carnivores to truly enjoy the meals. Now that you know how to make homemade cat food, maintaining the proper balance of nutrients becomes simpler. But before you decide to switch your feline friend to raw or cooked meals, it’s important to consult a veterinarian. A specialist will help you figure out a perfect formula for your pet.


Featured Image by Nicole Cosgrove | hepper

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