Cats have long been “civilized,” but in their natural state their food would consist mostly of rodents, small rabbits, and birds, eaten with the feathers. Besides, cats occasionally, like dogs, eat couch grass as an emetic, though this has no nutritional function.
Best food to feed cats
Sometimes meats are more interesting served cooked than raw, especially if you are not quite certain of their freshness.
Cats are almost always very particular on this point and won’t touch meat that is even slightly off. If you think it is a little borderline, then cook it lightly and leave your cat to decide upon the success of the operation.
One should not condemn him as a fussy nuisance if doubtful meat is rejected: unless you are convinced that refused food is completely fresh then give him the benefit of the doubt, and credit him with a more sensitive nose, and let him have something else.
Here are the best cat foods to feed your cat:
1. Baked bread and meat
Take 2 thin slices of buttered stale wholemeal bread and at least 225g of any meat or offal scraps. Place one slice of bread, butter side down, at the bottom of a greased ovenproof dish, cover with pieces of meat and place the second slice of bread, butter side up, on top. Pour over a teacupful of stock or water and let it stand for an hour, then bake for 30 minutes in a moderate oven, keeping it covered.
2. Beef and egg fricassee
Any oddments of raw or cooked beef are suitable. Simmer in 1.5cm of stock or broth for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and stir in an egg. Mix well and return to the heat for 3 minutes.
Take about 450g of scrag end of lamb and a calf’s foot, both cut in pieces. Place in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover, bring to the boil and simmer for 2 hours. When almost cool, remove the bones.
4. Meat and giblet casserole
Take about 170g of any available meat scraps, cut in chunks, and dredge with wholemeal flour. Place in a greased ovenproof dish. On top of this spread chicken or turkey giblets cut in pieces. Pour over ½ teacupful of stock, cover, and bake in a moderate oven for 30 minutes.
5. Rabbit baked in tin foil
Wrap the whole uncooked rabbit securely in a sheet of tin foil and bake in a moderate oven for 2 hours. When almost cool, remove all bones.
6. Stewed ox liver
The raw liver has to be fed in moderation as it is a laxative. To cook liver cut it into chunks and dredge with wholemeal flour. Fry lightly in a little butter or fat, then transfer to a saucepan containing 1.5cm of stock. Do not simmer for longer than 5 minutes.
7. Baked kidney custard
Place 115g of sliced kidneys in a greased ovenproof dish. Mix one beaten egg, 275ml milk, and a dessertspoonful of wholemeal flour, and pour over the meat. Cover and bake in a moderate oven for 30 mins. When almost cool, slice.
Although it is traditional to feed cats on fish, it is not their natural main diet and is not quite as nourishing as meat. Nevertheless, it is a great favorite with most cats, adds variety to their diet, and is a valuable alternative source of protein. It is also easily digested and rich in minerals.
However, cats tend to lose their taste for it if it is fed too often and too much fish may produce eczema, digestive troubles, and a bad-smelling cat so that it is advisable not to feed it more often than two or three times a week at most.
Most parts of a fish can be used, including skins and soft tails, but not bones. Cats often like raw fish, but be careful of this unless it is perfectly fresh and has been very well filleted. An extensive diet of raw fish will actually produce a vitamin B deficiency in the cat, causing serious disease. It is probably better for fish to be cooked as it is then much easier to remove the bones.
9. Canned cat foods
Many household pets have benefited from modern convenience foods, which are the products of much research into animal nutrition. The pet food business is a multi-million dollar industry that is highly competitive and the best pet foods on the market are unquestionably useful. You can feel confident that a good cat food will provide the sort of nourishment your cat needs, having been specially designed for that purpose.
With the best will in the world, an owner might not always know what is best for his pet. This problem is not helped by the fact that a cat frequently has very definite ideas himself about what is best for him – and he is not always right. A cat easily becomes addicted to a deficient diet. Having once proved his penchant for one particular food, he may wish to eat that to the virtual exclusion of all else. With a good commercial cat food, at least a balance of elements is provided.
Canned cat foods are frequently a godsend and a cat should be trained to accept them as a standby and as an added source of variety, served two or three times a week alternately with fresh foods. If your cat shows no enthusiasm for cans after being brought up on fresh meat, try mixing a small amount of canned meat with a favored fresh diet at first, increasing the amount as he gets used to the new flavor.
10. Meat broth
Any leftover cooked or uncooked scraps of meat, gristle, skin, or bone may be used, but avoid anything highly seasoned. If you are buying meat especially to make broth, a calf’s foot is very suitable.
Simmer for two to three hours, using just over a liter of water to 450g meat and bones. After cooking, carefully remove all bones and bone chips but leave in the scraps of meat, skin, and gristle. If you are using a whole calf’s foot, it will need to be simmered for six or seven hours, topping up the water when necessary.
How to feed a cat properly
It is always best to train a cat to accept the diet you consider best for him right from kittenhood, though changes may be attempted later if they are introduced gradually.
A cat is not used to eating vegetable or cereal foods should have them added to his favorite food in very tiny amounts at first; then gradually increase the additions.
However, don’t offer him new foods which you are not convinced will do him good, just because they are cheap. It is better to give him less food but good food, and a variety of good foods.
Once you know something about feline nutrition, you will be in a more impartial position to decide what is best for your cat than he is, so try to win the battle of wills over the dinner dish. It is necessary to bear in mind the somewhat abstruse peculiarities of feline makeup which affects a cat’s response to what he is prepared to eat.
The cat is a very discriminating and particular animal whose senses are highly responsive to the smell and taste, and even to the appearance and texture, of his food. He is very quick to detect any unapproved additions, be they ever so minute.
When you get a new kitten you need to ask the previous owner what he has been eating and continue that same diet at least for the first few days, until he is settled. Sudden dietary changes can cause tummy upsets, though this may not mean that the changes are unsuitable if introduced slowly.
If you consider the kitten’s old diet to be inadequate, inconvenient, or boring (or not suited to his particular likes and dislikes, which, within reason, ought to be taken into account), then introduce gradually any changes you deem necessary.
But remember that a cat is a rigidly conservative creature who only likes the foods he knows, and you must start as you wish to go on. It is extremely difficult to get an adult cat to break habits formed in the first three months of his life.