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Homemade Cat Food: ‘How To’ Guide Plus Easy Recipes

Posted in: Cat Food - Last Updated: November 2, 2022 - Author: Jess Caticles
Posted in Cat Food 
Last Updated: September 26, 2022  
Author:  Jess Caticles

Homemade cat food consists of raw meat, edible bones, secreting organs, and supplements to complete the diet. Cat parents can serve either raw or cooked homemade cat food.

Both raw and lightly cooked homemade cat food are better than commercial cat food. Simply because you have control over the ingredients and how it's made.

Cats require a proper balance of nutrients. And many cats are sensitive and picky when it comes to food changes. In order to make sure you are making a balanced nutrient cat food you should always follow a homemade cat food recipe.

This homemade cat food guide will cover everything you need to know to get started including those homemade cat food recipes you’ll need.

What is Homemade Cat Food?

Homemade cat food consists of fresh ingredients that the cat parent buys locally and prepares at home. These ingredients include chunks of raw meat, raw meaty bones, secreting organs, and supplements.

Homemade cat food should mimic the cat's natural diet as closely as possible.

Wild cats consume the entire prey. This would include muscle meat, skin, bones, ligaments, tendons, brain, eyes, kidneys, etc.

Cats even eat the stomach contents of prey. So variety is key.

homemade cat food

Raw or Cooked Homemade Cat Food?

Raw or cooked homemade cat food depends on the cat and the parent's situation. Raw is ideal because that is what wild cats eat.

However, freshly cooked homemade cat food is still better than commercially processed cat food.


The risk of bacteria contamination and pathogen transmission is low when we practice proper food safety and hygiene.

A recent study from Frontiers in Veterinary Science found that there is a low pathogen transmission risk among pet parents feeding a raw diet.

However, pathogen risk was increased when the pet parents fed a combination of dry food and raw compared to feeding raw food only.

Additionally, the last 10 years of pet food recalls show us that 98% of Salmonella recalls were from dry pet food.


Cooked homemade cat food may be more suitable for pet parents whose immune system is compromised or those who are 65+. The CDC says these people are more at risk for Salmonella infection.

However, it's important to note that cooking raw meat can change its nutrient profile. So proper supplementation is necessary with cooked homemade cat food.

Which is Best?

Raw homemade cat food is best because it matches the cat's natural diet the most. However, lightly cooked homemade cat food is still an upgrade from commercially processed cat food.

Go with lightly cooked homemade cat food if you can't feed raw yet. This will help your cat get used to eating fresh, high-quality ingredients.

Freshly cooked food will make the transition to raw homemade cat food much easier once you're ready.

Benefits of Homemade Cat Food

The main benefit of homemade cat food is that you control the ingredients and how it's made.

But homemade cat food has many benefits for your cat as well.

benefits of homemade cat food healthier coat

Jericho has a shiny, golden coat thanks to raw

Healthier and Better Coat

Healthy skin and coat are must-haves for cats. Your cat's skin is the largest organ of the body, and it's your cat's first line of defense. So it's very important to keep it healthy and pliable.

Fresh, homemade cat food benefits the skin and coat because it contains high moisture and nutrient-dense ingredients. Water is essential for life!

And nutrient-dense ingredients help move things along properly throughout your cat's body.

Improved Energy and Better Digestion

Many raw feeders report improved energy. The body can work properly when it receives the proper fuel!

There is a study among kittens that were fed commercially processed wet food and a nutritionally balanced raw diet. And they found that the kittens eating the raw diet had increased digestibility and decreased fecal matter.

Homemade Can Be Cheaper

Homemade raw cat food is cheaper because you don't have to feed as much. The average 10-pound cat consumes between 3.5 - 4 ounces of raw food daily.

But that same 10-pound cat may eat up to 7 ounces of wet food daily.

Additionally, homemade cat food is fresher and more appropriate than commercially processed food.

So your cat can become healthier and would require fewer vet visits and bills. You can save money, time, and stress feeding homemade cat food.

Complete Control Over Ingredients

Along with the price, you'll also have more control over the ingredients. Of course, you'll have to follow the instructions from the recipe or homemade premix bag.

But you still get to choose where the ingredients come from. And you have control over how the ingredients are put together.

Batching and Freezing

It is fairly easy to batch and freeze homemade cat food. Especially if you have multiple cats.

Just keep in mind that cats are finicky when it comes to the freshness of food. So don't batch too far in advance.

homemade cat food raw ingredients

Pros and Cons of Homemade Cat Food

The pros of homemade cat food outweigh the cons.

Pros of homemade cat food:

  • Complete control over the ingredients and how it's made
  • Increased digestibility and palatability
  • High moisture, high meat, and low carb
  • Better for dental health especially when feeding raw meaty bones
  • Healthier, well-nourished cat
  • Save money, time, and stress

Cons of homemade cat food:

  • Cats are picky about changes and will take time to adjust to homemade diets
  • Preparing homemade cat food takes more time than opening a can of cat food
  • Homemade cat food requires research and more responsibility on your part
  • Bacteria and nutritional deficiency risks are possible if you don't do it properly
  • Multiple cat homes may not have adequate freezer space for ingredients
  • Your cat's vet may not be on board with homemade cat food

Many of the cons are risks regardless of the food that you feed.

And your cat is your cat. So if your cat's vet isn't on board maybe it's time to find a new one that at least respects your decisions.

Avoiding Nutritional Deficiencies in Raw Cat Food

Nutritional deficiencies are easy to avoid as long as we keep our cat's wild side in mind.

Science Daily found that wild cats consume between 5-7 different proteins to complete their diet. Again, protein variety is key.

Variety in the cuts of meat, bones, and organs you feed is important too. Remember, we want to mimic the cat's natural diet as closely as possible.

Cats are Obligate Carnivores

Cats are obligate carnivores meaning they are restricted to a meat-only diet. Taurine is an excellent example that proves cats are carnivores. Cats cannot synthesize taurine so it must be provided in their diet. And plants do not produce taurine.

What Nutrients Do Cats Need?

Cats require protein amino acids, animal-based fat, vitamins, trace minerals, small amounts of fiber, and high moisture (water) in their diet.

The most important protein amino acids for cats include taurine, arginine, methionine, and cysteine.

Amino acids and animal-based fats are important for cats because they use these nutrients for energy.

Fats also provide essential fatty acids which help with cell integrity, nutrient transportation, eye health, immune function, and so much more.

Vitamins help metabolism and growth function and include the fat-soluble A, D, E, and K. Plus the water-soluble B and C vitamins.

Minerals are necessary in trace amounts and are involved in all physiological reactions.

And, of course, high moisture is crucial because water is essential for life.

Carbohydrates - Needed or Not?

Carbohydrates are not needed in the cat's diet and are detrimental to health. Cats cannot utilize carbohydrates as an energy source.

Instead, carbohydrates are stored as fat. So a high carbohydrate diet will lead to weight gain.

Additionally, cats eating a high-carbohydrate diet have an increased risk of developing diabetes, pancreatitis, and IBD.

how to make homemade cat food

With Bones or Without?

Homemade raw cat food should include raw meaty bones. Raw meaty bones are an excellent natural source of calcium for cats.

Additionally, chewing on raw meaty bones is great for dental health, mental stimulation, and exercising the jaw and face muscles.

However, you should never feed your cat cooked bones. Cooked bones can splinter and cause serious harm. No matter the size.

You'll have to supplement calcium another way if you choose a cooked homemade cat food recipe.

Vegetables or Not?

Vegetables may be included in homemade cat food recipes to help round out the diet. This is often necessary if the recipe does not include enough variety.

Veggies should have a low glycemic index and be less than 10% of the diet. It's best to pulverize and cook the veggies before feeding them to your cat.

Wheat Gluten and Other Additives

Wheat gluten and other additives do not belong in your cat's diet.

Some of the worst cat food ingredients and additives include:

  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Rice
  • Starch
  • Sugar
  • Brewers yeast

So avoid homemade cat food recipes that use these types of ingredients.

AAFCO 'Complete and Balanced' Does NOT Mean Nutritionally Adequate

AAFCO does not approve, test, certify, or endorse pet foods in any way. So the nutritional adequacy statement is determined by the pet food manufacturer. And there are many pet food recalls for excess levels of vitamins and minerals.

Nutrient Deficient

Another flaw is that AAFCO does not require carbohydrates in the guaranteed analysis. Most commercial cat foods that meet AAFCO's nutritional guidelines are full of carbohydrates.

The highest I've seen is 49%!

So the "complete and balanced" claim does not guarantee species-appropriate nutritional adequacy.

Moisture Content - Especially in Dry Cat Food

The undeniable reason that dry food is not appropriate for cats is its lack of moisture content. Moisture (water) is essential for life.

The cat's natural prey is about 70% moisture. But dry cat food is only about 10% moisture. The highest I've seen is 14%.

Commercial Food and Obesity

Commercial food can lead to obesity due to the high number of carbohydrates in the food. Additionally, cats are more likely to overeat when fed a dry food only diet.

Commercial Food and Feline Diabetes

Feline diabetes is a significant risk since most commercial cat food can lead to weight gain. Additionally, carbohydrates wreak havoc on the pancreas and insulin production.


A species-appropriate diet for cats mimics what the cat eats in the wild: whole prey. This includes muscle meat, edible bone, and secreting organs.

What About Commercial Raw Cat Food?

Commercial raw cat food is a great place to start if you're new to changing your cat's diet.

Use commercially available raw cat food during the transition. Then upgrade to homemade raw cat food when your cat is adjusted to commercial raw cat food.

Commercial Freeze-Dried VS Fresh

Commercial fresh raw is typically meat, bones, and organs ground together. Freeze-dried raw companies take those ingredients and remove the moisture using very low temperatures.

Freeze-dried raw is a healthier option than canned and dry foods. But it's important to rehydrate freeze-dried raw since cats rely on food for moisture.

Best Delivery Fresh Cat Food

These fresh cat foods will help your cat get used to eating better quality ingredients.

And this will make the transition to homemade raw cat food much easier.

smalls raw cat food


Smalls creates human-grade wet cat food and freeze-dried raw food. Their freeze-dried raw cat food ingredients are more impressive.

But their wet cat food is still a massive upgrade compared to commercially canned cat food and all types of dry food.

We have our own in depth review of Smalls fresh cat food. You can read it here.

Use the code 'WELOVECATS' and get 30% off your first order

Darwins natural pet cat food


Darwins Natural Pet is one of the first commercial fresh raw cat foods. Additionally, they are one of the first to have veterinary diets for cats with kidney disease.

Darwins is complete and balanced making feeding your cat raw very easy.

We recommend Darwins as a great option for introducing your cat to fresh cat food (and they offer a special deal on your first order).

darwins logo

Try Darwins (Buy Direct)

Get your special deal on your first order

raised right raw cat food

Raised Right

Raised Right is another fresh, human-grade quality wet cat food. It was created by Dr. Karen Becker and pet food formulator Steve Brown.

There is a much shorter list of synthetic supplements compared to most commercial cat foods. This is a great upgrade from wet canned food.

You can buy direct from Raised Right by clicking the box below. Or if you want to purchase from one of your usual outlets then click here.

raised right logo

Try Raised Right (Buy Direct)

Get your special deal on your first order

stella and chewy freeze dried raw cat food

Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw

Stella & Chewy's uses whole meat, bone, and organ ingredients. Plus some probiotics, seeds, and synthetic supplements to round out the diet.

The synthetic supplement list is quite long. But this product is still a step in the right direction.

stella and chewys cat food
stella and chewys logo

Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

feline natural freeze dried raw cat food

Feline Natural Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

Feline Natural is my top choice when it comes to commercial cat food. Both their freeze-dried raw and wet canned foods are the best I've come by.

They use a variety of meats, bones, and organs and minimal synthetic supplementation. Feline Natural also offers much more protein variety.

feline natural cat food
feline natural logo

Feline Natural Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food


Canidae Pure Goodness

Canidae Pure is technically dry kibble that's coated in raw ingredients.

I'd only suggest this food if your cat is very addicted to kibble, but it can be a step in the right direction.

canidae logo

Canidae Pure Dry Cat Food Chicken Recipe

Is Homemade Better Than Commercial Cat Food

Homemade cat food can be better than commercial cat food when done properly. The biggest pro is that you control the ingredients and how it's made.

The next biggest pro is that it's fresh and closer to what your cat would eat in the wild. This will lead to a healthier, much happier cat.

Nutritional Comparison of Homemade Raw vs Commercial

It’s difficult to directly compare the nutritional value of homemade cat food with commercial because both can be made with such a wide and differing range of ingredients.

Nonetheless, homemade cat food will always be free of nutritionally poor ingredients and high in animal protein which your cat has evolved to consume.

The difference will be widest when comparing a homemade cat food with a low-quality processed commercial cat food.

This chart from Lisa A. Pierson (DVM) painstakingly records the nutritional value of most brands of cat food. These can be compared to the known nutritional content of the homemade cat food recipes referenced below.

Cost of Homemade Cat Food

The exact cost of homemade cat food versus commercial cat food depends on the ingredients used and the recipe you follow.

If you use a food premix that will save you time and effort but is likely nto be a little more expensive than using all individual raw ingredients.

It’s also important to remember that your cat will need less by weight of your homemade cat food since the ingredients of low nutritional value added to commercial cat food will not be present.

As a rule of thumb your cat (of an average 10lb weight) will need 3.2oz of homemade instead of 6.8oz of commercial wet cat food.

Therefore your homemade cat food will go twice as far.

For the chart below the costs are based on a premium wet cat food versus a homemade food using a premix.

Commercial wet cat food can be a lot cheaper but as you head more to budget foods the nutritional value is dropping significantly.

So the figures for commercial cat food could be significantly lower, but so would nutritional value.

Commercial Cat Food

Homemade Cat Food

6.8 oz per day

3.2 oz per day

$4.08 per day

$1.78 per day

$1,489 per year

$654 per year

For a breakdown of these costings and portion sizes watch the video below.

Who Should Consider Homemade Cat Food?

Every cat parent should consider homemade cat food! All cats deserve the freshest, most natural food possible.

The closest you'll get to your cat's natural prey is homemade raw cat food.

Cat Owners Looking for an Alternative

Cat owners that are looking for an alternative are probably fed up with the disgusting ingredients that go into commercial cat food.

Cat with Any Sensitive Stomach Issues (IBD etc)

Cats with sensitive stomach issues are typically due to inappropriate ingredients in commercial cat food. Ingredients like wheat, grains, legumes, potatoes, corn, etc. are difficult for the cat to digest.

Another issue with commercial cat food containing corn and grains is the risk of aflatoxin mold. Aflatoxin mold can cause GI problems, jaundice, and even death.

Cats with Allergies

Ingredients like wheat, grains, corn, etc. often cause allergies because these foods are not part of the cat's natural diet.

Additionally, storage mites in dry cat food often cause allergies.

Picky Eaters

Cats are picky about changes because they prefer routine and predictability in their lives. Any surprises out in the wild could be fatal.

So cats prefer to stick to the same things daily, including their foods.

But homemade cat food is great for picky eaters because you can start with a simple recipe using the same protein that your cat currently eats.

Let's Make Cat Food at Home

Now it’s time to look at how to make homemade cat food.

Watch this video below to see how I approach making homemade cat food from scratch.

It really isn’t that hard and you will be able to make your own cat food successfully if you follow these steps and the raw cat food recipe.

You'll need some kitchen gear, a recipe, and a plan before you make cat food at home.

Kitchen Equipment

You need to keep your area sanitary. And it's important to practice food safety.

Food-grade silicone mat

I use a food-grade silicone mat on my counter when I meal prep.

Put all of your meal prep supplies on the food mat to keep your counter sanitary. Plus if a piece of meat drops on the mat you can still use it because it is clean.

Our Choice

AECHY Extra Large Silicone Mat 36”x24”x0.08”, Multipurpose Silicone Mat Thick Heat Resistant Mat Shipped Rolled Up Kitchen Counter Mat Waterproof Nonslip Silicone Mats for Kitchen Counter Dark Gray

AECHY Extra Large Silicone Mat

Kitchen Scale

Buy a digital kitchen scale that can weigh in pounds and ounces. Many bulk recipes use four to six pounds of meat.

Our Choice

Etekcity Food Scale, Digital Kitchen Scale, 304 Stainless Steel, Weight in Grams and Ounces for Baking, Cooking, and Meal Prep, LCD Display, Medium

Etekcity Digital Scales

Meat Grinder

You may want to use a meat grinder in the beginning. This will make portioning and serving much easier.

Read the current reviews to make sure the meat grinder can handle bones.

Our Choice

STX Turboforce II 'Platinum' w/Foot Pedal Heavy Duty Electric Meat Grinder & Sausage Stuffer: 6 Grinding Plates, 3 S/S Blades, 3 Sausage Tubes, Kubbe, 2 Meat Claws, Burger-Slider Patty Maker - Black

STX Turboforce II Meat Grinder

Cutting Boards

Cutting boards will come in handy to trim the fat and cut out the bones in some of the meat cuts.

Our Choice

OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Plastic Cutting Board Set (Pack of 1),Clear

OKO Cutting Boards

Mixing Bowl

A mixing bowl is useful for supplements and eggs. Use stainless steel or glass instead of plastic. Plastic traps bacteria even with regular washing.

Our choice of stainless steel bowl below comes in various sizes. The 30 Quart size is really very large but it does make batching a large amount of food much easier. Smaller sizes will be fine for most people.

Our Choice

Winco MXB-3000Q , 30-Quart, Stainless Steel,Silver

Winco MXB-3000Q Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl

Other - Poultry Shears, Nitrile Gloves, Containers

Poultry shears are great for cutting up bones into smaller pieces.

Our Choice

iBayam Kitchen Scissors All Purpose Heavy Duty Meat Poultry Shears, Dishwasher Safe Food Cooking Scissors Stainless Steel Utility Scissors, 2-Pack (Black Red, Black Gray)

iBayam Kitchen Duty Meat Scissors Poultry Shears

Use nitrile gloves because they are powder free. These will keep your hands sanitary while you portion out the meat.

I’m not going to recommend any specific brand. Look for the best deal for you.

Use freezer-friendly glass containers to store your cat's meal portions. You can also use freezer-safe bags or ice cube trays for smaller portions.

Our Choice

FineDine 6-Piece Superior Glass Food Storage Containers Set, 35oz Capacity - Newly Innovated Hinged Locking lids - 100% Leakproof Glass Meal-Prep Containers, Freezer-to-Oven-Safe (Blue)

Superior Glass Round Meal Prep Containers -3pk (32oz)

Choosing Meat - Types and Source

Choosing your cat's meat comes down to what you can get locally. Ideally, you would go to your local farm or farmers' market.

Grocery store meat is still suitable if you don't have a local farm. Buy the best you can and avoid thawed ground meat.

Thawed ground meat has been sitting under a light for who knows how long. This increases the risk of bacteria growth. And you can't rinse that off.

Make sure it's frozen solid if you have to buy preground meat.

Proteins to use

Chicken, turkey, and beef are the most common proteins used in homemade cat food recipes. Quail, cornish game hen, and rabbit recipes exist too.

Start with a protein that your cat is currently eating. This will make the transition much easier.

Proteins to avoid

Avoid raw pork and fish. Both are more likely to contain parasites and harmful bacteria. Fish also have an increased risk of mercury and other toxins.

Additionally, some raw fish contains thiaminase which destroys B vitamins. Many cats often develop an addiction to fish so only use sparingly if you have to.


Hearts are considered muscle meat along with tongue, lung, tripe, and gizzards. These muscle meats are in small quantities inside the 80% muscle category.

Secreting organs include:

  • Eyes
  • Brain
  • Liver
  • Kidneys
  • Pancreas
  • Spleen
  • Thymus
  • Reproductive Organs

The secreting organ category is typically around 10% with 5% of that being liver.

Adding Vitamins

Ideally, vitamins would come from variety of meats and secreting organs.

However, in the beginning, you may have to use vitamin supplements.

Another option is to use a premix to add to your ground meat. This will have the balance nutrients and vitamins and makes for a very simple recipe.

Know Better for Cats – Beef Recipe, RAW Cat Food Premix/Supplement for Making Homemade Cat Food, All Natural, Holistic Veterinarian Approved, Grain Free, No Artificial Additives
know better cat food logo

Beef Recipe Premix For Raw and Cooked Meats

For vitamins, any reputable brand will do, but our choices for the key vitamins and supplements are:

Key Vitamins and Suppplements

Salmon Fish Oil

Vitamin B Complex

Vitamin E

Psyllium Husk Powder

Other Supplements

Other supplements for homemade cat food will depend on the recipe that you're using.

It's important to use the recipe as is. Do not make any adjustments.

homemade cat food utensils

How to Make Homemade Cat Food (Step by Step With Pictures)

The Core Recipe

The core recipe that we'll use is from Feline Nutrition Foundation. This homemade cat food recipe is a staple for beginners to raw and homemade cat food.

How much to make in a batch

Feline Nutrition Foundation's easy homemade cat food recipe makes about 6.5 pounds of food.

How much you feed depends entirely on your cat's individual needs.


  • 4.5 pounds chicken thighs with bone
  • 7 ounces raw chicken liver
  • 14 ounces raw chicken heart
  • 8 ounces water
  • 4 raw egg yolks
  • 2,000 mg Taurine
  • 4,000 mg wild salmon or wild caught small fish oil
  • 200 mg Vitamin B complex
  • 200 IU Vitamin E
  • 1.5 teaspoons Lite Iodized Salt
  • 4 teaspoons Psyllium Husk Powder (optional)

Notes: Purchase approximately 5 pounds of chicken thighs with bone. You will remove about 20-25% of the bone.

Substitute 4,000 mg of Taurine if you cannot find chicken heart. You would still include the 2,000 mg of Taurine. So 6,000 mg total if you are not using chicken heart.

homemade cat food recipe


  • Set up your space with all meal prep supplies.
  • Remove 20-25% of the bones from the thighs.
  • Remove the skin from half of the thighs.
  • Weigh the meat after removing skin and bones.
  • Add Taurine, vitamin E, B, and salt into a bowl
  • Add egg yolks and water to the bowl and whisk with a fork.
  • Weigh the liver and heart.
  • Chunk up thigh meat into bite-sized pieces so your cat has a few pieces to chew on.
  • Put the remaining meat ingredients and fish oil capsules through the grinder at intervals.
  • To the mixing bowl of ground meat, add the supplement egg yolk mix, chunks of meat, and psyllium husk (if using).
  • Use the digital scale to weigh out daily portions or individual meals. Then set into containers, bags, or ice cube trays.
  • Put meals in the freezer.
  • Wash equipment and meal prep supplies.

Second Recipe (Raw or Cooked Beef)

The second homemade cat food recipe you can use is from Dr. Karen Becker. This recipe includes beef, a small number of veggies, and minimal supplements.

Dr. Becker's beef recipe uses eggshell powder as a source of calcium instead of bone. So it can be served either raw or cooked.

Third Recipe (Raw and Cooked Combination)

Dr. Lisa Pierson's homemade cat food recipe includes a combination of raw and cooked meat.

The recipe uses ground whole rabbit and chicken or turkey thighs.

How to Make Your Own Recipes

Making your own homemade cat food recipes can be challenging for beginners. Especially considering there is less research on cat nutrition compared to dog nutrition.

However, there are multiple pet food formulation software programs available.

Pet Food Formulation Software Programs

Raw Fed and Nerdy's spreadsheet

Animal Diet Formulator App

Pet Diet Designer

How Much Homemade Cat Food to Give Your Cat

Typically, about four ounces of raw food per 10 pounds of body weight is a good starting point.

However, you should weigh your cat weekly, track the amount of food fed, and use a body condition score card to stay on top of how much to feed your cat.

Homemade Cat Food Health and Safety Concerns and Risks

Practice food safety and proper litter box maintenance to prevent bacteria contamination risks.

Additionally, buy your ingredients from clean, trustworthy sources. If you buy preground meat, make sure it is frozen solid. Do not buy already thawed preground meat.

What Do Vets Say About Homemade Cat Food

We asked some vets for their opinion on homemade cat food.

Our consultant vet, Sara Beth Redding (DVM) said, “Feeding your cat a homemade diet can help you ensure that your cat is getting the best and highest quality ingredients.

It also helps make sure that you are not feeding your cat any preservatives or artificial colors.

This can be a great way to feed your cat if you can make sure that the diet is completely balanced and meets all your cats nutritional needs.”

And Melissa M.Brock, a vet from Madison, added, “The benefits of a homemade cat food diet include increased activity levels and better dental health for cats who eat it regularly.

Some owners also believe that their pets have better immune systems when they consume whole foods instead of processed kibble or canned food. 

However, there are some downsides to this diet as well. For one thing, it's expensive (you're not just paying for the food itself, but also all of your time preparing each meal).

Also, there's no guarantee that you'll be able to provide enough variety each day so that your cat gets everything he needs nutritionally speaking (even if you use supplements).”

By and large we found that vets are supportive of switching to a homemade or raw food diet but often highlight the need to follow vet approved homemade cat food recipes.

Additional Things to Consider

Switching your cat's food takes planning and requires gradual changes.

How to Switch to Homemade

The first step to switching to homemade cat food is to feed your cat at scheduled mealtimes. No more all-access 24/7 buffet.

Next, you may have to introduce healthy food toppers to help your cat get used to eating better quality ingredients. You should also feed freeze-dried meat treats instead of crunchy carb-rich treats.

The goal is to eliminate all types of dried foods from your cat's diet. Then, you will have to gradually introduce new food to your cat's current food daily.

My transition plan includes adding 5% additional new food and decreasing an additional 5% of current food daily. Start with one meal. Only move to the second meal when you reach 100% new food.

  • 95% current food, 5% new food - Day 1
  • 90% current food, 10% new food - Day 2
  • 85% current food, 15% new food - Day 3

And so on until you reach 100% new food. I'd suggest starting the transition with your cat's morning meal to use hunger to your advantage.

Feeding Kittens Homemade Cat Food

The homemade cat food recipes above are suitable for adult cats only. Kittens need slightly higher nutrients than required by adult cats since they are still growing.

Start the transition from dry food to wet food while your kitten is growing. Then introduce a freeze-dried raw or frozen complete raw that says suitable for all life stages.

You can introduce homemade cat food when your kitten is fully grown at around one year.

Homemade Cat Food and Constipation

Constipation may happen if there is too much bone in the diet or perhaps the transition is moving too quickly. Stick to the recipes precisely and do a gradual transition to avoid GI problems.

Homemade Food and Dental Health

Homemade cat food is only helpful to your cat's dental health if you are feeding whole raw meaty bones.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Homemade Cat Food Safe?

Homemade cat food is safe as long as you follow recipes as is, transition gradually, buy from clean sources, follow food safety practices, and practice good litter box maintenance.

Is Homemade Cat Food Good For Cats?

Homemade cat food is good for cats as long as you follow the instructions above.

Can I Feed My Cat Only Homemade Food?

You can feed your cat only homemade cat food as long as the diet is properly balanced with a wide variety of meats, bones, and organs. Plus a variety of protein choices and supplements to fill in any nutritional gaps.

How Much Does Homemade Cat Food Cost?

The cost of homemade cat food depends on your choice of ingredients and the amount you prepare in a batch but expect it to cost around $1.79 per day for an average sized cat. See the chart below.

Commercial Cat Food

Homemade Cat Food

6.8 oz per day

3.2 oz per day

$4.08 per day

$1.78 per day

$1,489 per year

$654 per year

Is Raw Cat Food Better Than Cooked?

Raw cat food is better than cooked because it is closer to the cat's natural diet. However, lightly cooked homemade cat food is still better than dry and canned food. The closer you can get to fresh, raw food the better.

What is the Best Homemade Food For Cats?

The best homemade food for cats includes raw chunks of meat, edible meaty bones, secreting organs, and supplements when necessary.

Can You Freeze Homemade Cat Food?

You can and should freeze homemade cat food to keep it from spoiling.

Can You Make Homemade Cat Food Gravy?

You can make homemade cat food gravy in the form of bone broth. Use Dr. Karen Becker's bone broth recipe.

Homemade Cat Food - Conclusion

Homemade cat food is better than commercial cat food because you have control over the ingredients and how it's made.

Rotate between these recipes to offer a balanced variety to your cat.

Food safety and proper litter maintenance are a must to avoid bacteria contamination risks if you choose to make your own cat food.

Additionally, track how much your cat is eating, his weight, and his body condition score to make sure you're feeding the correct amount of food daily.

Ready to ditch low-quality commercial cat food and see your cat thrive through proper nutrition?

My website is for you! I've helped hundreds of cat parents like you make the switch from kibble to raw.

My transition plan is specifically formulated for picky cats and helps you maximize results based on what works. Check out my website for all of my picky cat solutions.

About the author

Jessie Lott is better known as ‘Jess Caticles’, after the blog of that name where she helps cat owners who want to better their cat’s lives through proper nutrition. Jess is a Clinical Pet Nutritionist who has written a best-selling course on how to switch your cat to a raw food diet.