Lots of cat parents like to make homemade dishes for their fur babies on occasion. Some folks even turn to full homemade diets for their pets if they want to feed them more organic food and avoid commercialized products. But according to new research, serving your kitties homemade cat food may do them more harm than good.
A May 2019 study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association analyzed 114 recipes from online sources and books, written by both veterinarians and non-veterinarians. Researchers found that most of these recipes were unlikely to provide felines with the nutrients they need. Furthermore, a whopping 40 percent of these dishes did not provide any feeding instructions. The rest of them lacked specific detail or were otherwise unclear.
"Only 94 recipes provided enough information for computer nutritional analysis and of those none of them provided all the essential nutrients to meet the National Research Council's recommended allowances for adult cats," said lead author Jennifer Larsen in a press release.
Even more concerning: Seven percent of these homemade cat food recipes contained ingredients that are potentially toxic to cats, such as garlic, onions, and leeks. Yikes! While it might seem like an appealing idea to feed your kitty a homemade dish that you made yourself, it's obviously not worth it if you're risking your pet's health in the process.
"Homemade diets are not necessarily better," said Larsen. "If you are going to use one, you have to make sure you do it safely and they should be balanced and appropriate for your individual cat."
If you're determined to feed your cat homemade food, speak with a a board-certified veterinary nutritionist who specializes in formulating homemade diets for pets. But otherwise, there's no need to be worried about a commercial diet — especially if your vet approves.
If you just want to share a little bit of your meal with your furball, check out our guide of popular breakfast foods that cats can and can't eat. Sharing should truly be caring, after all!