Research carried out by the respected UC Davis concluded that homemade cat food recipes in the US fall short of the required standard as set by the National Research Council. The researchers said that some recipes are potentially harmful and many lacked the required nutrients. They looked at 114 home recipes.
This is disappointing as when it is made properly homemade cat food is probably the best. The challenge is doing it to a high standard. The research casts doubts on the ability of cat owners to achieve a high enough standard.
“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.” – Jennifer Larsen, a veterinary nutritionist with the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
Surprisingly they say that even recipes written by veterinarians can be substandard.
The number of nutrients missing in recipes varied between three and nineteen. Some had half the recommended daily level of nutrients such as choline, iron, zinc, thiamin, vitamin E and manganese.
They decided that seven percent of the recipes contained toxic ingredients such as garlic powder, leeks and onions. It would seem that some of these recipes have been created by unqualified people. This is worrying and clearly cat owners should exercise caution when researching homemade cat food recipes online.
I’d always recommend checking with your vet but sadly he/she may not know either judging by the finding mentioned above. Cat owners should seek out board-certified veterinary nutritionists, who specialize in formulating homemade diets for companion cats.
Sometimes the instructions were poor because they (a) failed to mention handling techniques and (b) failed to mention that bones need to be ground up.
The researchers don’t know if cats are being harmed by these recipes as it depends on how the food is delivered to the cat e.g. amount and duration of the diet.
The research is published in the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association online but I could not find it.