Homemade Popeye Cat Food: Bone Broth Based, Nutritious, Appetizing and Cat-Approved!
This is a good introduction as to why bone-broth-based homemade cat food is such a good idea; and why my kitty cats and I created it. This recipe is very good for almost any cat - and is easy to adjust, if needed. The bone broth base alone is especially good for sick and older cats who may have a difficult time eating or digesting food. If you can get them to eat the solids, too - even better.
Meat with bones can be whole poultry carcasses (chicken, quail, turkey, etc.); or pieces such as chicken thighs with a chicken breast (I like to mix dark & white meat parts to regulate fat content); or larger beef pieces with bones that includes the marrow. You can also buy cheaper cuts of roasts and extra soup bones (which are usually pretty cheap) to save money.
I advise against using much pork unless it is the feet and/or neck bones that have a lot of cartilage attached to them.
If you are trying to switch your cat to a more raw diet; you can try gradually cooking the meat less and less in batches over time until they get used to it. The more ‘raw’ you can leave the meat; the more nutrients will remain in it.
However, it is a good idea to cook at least the outside of the meat to kill most surface bacteria. Despite the fact that cats have natural resistance to bad bacteria in foods; I choose not to take the chance. I've had sick kitties - no fun.
- 6 pounds meat with bones OR 3 pounds meat without bones. If you are using meat without bones; begin this recipe from Step 4.
- 2 quarts Bone Broth Cat Food Base, preferably 'gelled'.
VERY HELPFUL TIP: If you have a hand chopper; it is the simplest way to chop cooked meat as fine or course as you want - with the least cleanup.
- Bake chosen meat to general preparation guidelines until it is at least one-quarter of the way done or to your cat’s preference. You want them to eat this. I cook my meat three-quarters of the way through; because I have never been able to get my cats to eat it less raw.
- When meat is done baking, drain drippings and set aside to use in the bone broth base part of this recipe. Cover the meat so that it does not dry out; but leave a crack for it to breathe as it cools.
- When meat is cool enough, cut it off as close to the bones as you can (I just pull it apart with my fingers); leaving meat in large chunks that will also fit easily into the grinder or food processor. You can also cut some of the meat into smaller, bite-size morsels for your cat if they like that. (NOTE: Remove some of the skin from poultry, if that is what you are using. You don’t need it all, there are extra amino acids and natural fats in the bone broth.)
- Grind the meat chunks or process them in a food processor.
- You should have around 3 pounds of ground meat at this point. If you don’t quite have enough, you can (preferably) add more of the same kind of meat - or mix in tuna, salmon, mackerel or some other kind that your cat likes. Cats should not be fed too much fish, so mixing it with other meats works well. Raw egg yolks are also another good option if you want to increase protein & nutrient content even more.
- In large bowl, combine meat and 1 to 2 quarts (more is better) of pre-made gelled bone broth to desired consistency - mix thoroughly. (You can also add extra nutritional supplements that you use at this time.)
- Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners; fill each one with the 4-6 oz. of the mixture; cover then slide the pan into the freezer until you have individual ‘cat food muffins’ that are frozen solid enough to remove and store in an easy-to-grab, freezer bag. Put them back into the freezer until you are ready for them. I take mine out a day ahead of time and let them thaw in the refrigerator.
Fresh, Organic Goats Milk Products are Best. This would be an almost as good alternative.
Before serving, let a thawed muffin from the refrigerator sit out at room temperature for about an hour so that they are easy to stir and not refrigerator-cold, anymore. This cat food does not need to be warmed up. In fact, the gelled broth will ‘melt’. My cats have always liked it just fine at room temperature. That also seems to be the perfect temperature to mix it in with other foods.
Additions & Alternatives to ensure that this feline diet is complete:
Homemade Chicken & Liver Cat Food Recipe (toggled in with this bone broth food variation throughout the week)
Goats Milk Dairy Products such as Milk, Cream, Yogurt or Kefir for safe, easily-digestible, animal-sourced Calcium and Probiotics. All of my cats love the plain milk; but Sunshine is especially fond of Greek Yogurt - and mixing a little with 'more sour' kefir is a good way to get it (and medicines!) into him.
Coconut Oil has many health benefits for cats. Smear some on their paws and let them lick it off. Coconut Oil is much better for them than petroleum jelly blends that are made for reducing hair balls.
Additional Holistic Supplements to Add Alternatively to Fresh Spring Water Daily:
- being sure to offer ‘just water’ alternatively, also...
3-5 tablespoons Colloidal Silver for Tasteless Immune Support
½ - 2 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar (with Mother): Acid Neutralizer, Anti-Fungal, other health benefits. Start with a little and work up to higher doses.
1/2 - 1 cup Chamomile Tea for Immune & Digestion Support, Relaxant (for days like when the Cable Guy is coming over. :) Chamomile Is also supposed to be good for motion sickness; but I have no experience with that.
The Best Way to Serve Cat Food to Cats
The best way to serve cat food is to give each cat their own plate so that they are not limited by a bowl surrounding the whiskers on their face. This might seem like a small thing, but I have recently discovered that my cats eat much better on the days that I serve it to them that way.
I have yet to find a good one - but every time I go to Goodwill, I look for 'cake servers' that will work. A cake server is basically a plate on a stand for easier access. Lily and Tyson are both older kitties and look more comfortable eating their food without having to squat down too much.
The cake servers in the DIY image to the right are good examples to look for because the plates have a slight incline with a shallow 'bowl' in the center that work best to:
- help keep kitty from pushing the food off the edge of the plate
- help keep juices collected and not running over the edge
If anyone tries out this recipe, I would love to know what your cats think about it. Please let us know in the comments, below. :)
This nutritionally-balanced kitty cat diet continues with:
Additional Homemade, Healthy Cat Treats (coming soon)