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Homemade Cat Food and Raw Cat Food

For cat owners who want to make homemade cat food or try a raw cat food diet, WebMD provides ideas, tips, and important nutrition guidelines.
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Raw Cat Food: The Risks and the Rewards continued...

“There are a lot of people who want to feed raw. I tell them they have to be aware of zoonotic (animal to human) disease transmission, food safety, and contagion issues. I don’t think veterinarians should get upset about it, but they should make clear the health issues,” Remillard says.

Feeding cats a raw meat diet also leaves too much room for variables, another reason she doesn’t advocate such a diet. The potential for slip-up is high if the owner goes out of town and the food is left out too long, or if he substitutes one ingredient for another, she says.

Lisa Pierson, a veterinarian in Lomita, Calif., is familiar with the arguments and disputes them passionately on her own web site. She says she hasn’t had issues with bacterial contamination in the six years she has made her own cat food because she is careful: She knows where the meat comes from, she parboils mostly rabbit and bone-in chicken, grinds it herself, and adds minerals like taurine to make sure her cats are eating a balanced diet.

She says it’s also cheaper than higher-quality canned food and would take an owner of two cats about two hours a month to make.

If you can’t find a supportive veterinarian and you are determined to go raw, go to www.catnutrition.org or www.petdiets.com, both of which provide detailed information.

A Cooked Diet: The Risks and Rewards

Little scientific evidence exists either for or against a cooked diet for cats.

Some, like Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, warn against making raw or cooked cat food at home because of the importance of getting the right quantity and proportions of nutrients.

Remillard says she has talked to many cat owners eager to switch to homemade cat food in the wake of melamine poisoning in commercial cat foods. And although she doesn’t push homemade cat food diets, she says they can work -- as long as cat owners consult a veterinarian-nutritionist to formulate one.

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