Cooking for Cats: Ground Meat

Finnegan tucks into freshly cooked chicken
Finnegan loves home-cooked chicken

This is the simplest way to prepare meals for your cat. You can prepare home-cooked cat food quite inexpensively. This is the best option if you must figure out food sensitivities, allergies or manage diabetes, IBD and atopic dermatitis for your cat, because you know the ingredients. Whilst cooking is easy, do pay attention to detail. No matter what meat source you use, you do need to supplement. All cats will require additional taurine, choline and other vitamin and minerals supplemented into the food you are cooking. It is easy to under or over supplement, neither of which is good. Use a kitchen scale, weigh every time, and measure out the supplement properly every time. Recipe creep (that’s when we know the recipe and take shortcuts, not measuring) happens to all of us, but it can have some serious long-term effects on your cat`s health. I will publish a balanced no carbohydrate recipe for each meat source as I go along. There are any number of recipes available – use one that designed by a veterinary nutritional specialist, as not all recipes will meet the nutritional needs of your cat. Mine are generated from BalanceIt.

(When you buy the BalanceIt supplement, you can use my clinic code IiKq-VNnQ-70400.)

Sutton`s chicken comes from Rockweld Farm. They are a BCSPCA humane certified chicken producer in the Fraser Valley. A local organic product is preferable, since there will be less growth promoting drug residues, and you can get to know the farmer and understand how the meat is produced.

What you will need:

  • A kitchen scale, one that measure accurately to 1 gram
  • An oven-proof dish or bowl
  • A handheld blender, or food processor
  • Oven gloves
  • Oven (you can also do this on a stove-top by boiling the meat in a pot)
  • Fridge or freezer proof storage containers, such as mason jars, stainless steel or thermal glass food containers. (I avoid plastic as a matter of principle, but that is up to you)
  • Ground meat – chicken, turkey, rabbit, pork, lamb or whatever protein source you have decided to try
  • Water
  • Nutritional supplement(s) according to the recipe, e..g. BalanceIt Feline Blend

How to do this:

  1. Weigh the meat. Write the weight down!
Weighing ground chicken
Using an accurate kitchen scale to weigh the meat.

 

The meat does not have to be thawed – you can use it straight from the freezer or as soon as you can get it out of the packaging. If you need to thaw meat, it is best to do so in the fridge, which means planning ahead. Not all of us are perfect, so I do have to occasionally quick thaw in warm water, making sure none of the water touches the meat. Handle this cat food as if it were for human consumption!

2. Place the meat in the oven-proof dish. I am using a stainless-steel mixing bowl here, but you can use any oven-proof dish. Don`t forget to unwrap the meat – my picture shows the meat still in it`s wrapping, but you never cook these meats in any plastic wrap.

Raw chicken trim in the bowl
Raw chicken breast trim in the cooking bowl

 

3. Cover the meat with water.

Cover the meat with water for cooking
Cover the meat with water for cooking

 

4. Bake or roast in the oven at 350°F or 180°C.

Starting the cooking in the oven
Place the bowl in the middle of the oven

 

5. Check in on the cooking process, break up the meat clump and stir it around. Add more water if necessary.

Checking in on the cooking after 10-15 minutes
Check in on the cooking after 10-15 minutes

It is cooked when you no longer see any pink. Do not worry if you overcook it, but be careful not to under cook meat.

Pink undercooked chicken
Break up the clump of cooking meat – you can see the chicken in this bowl is not yet fully cooked
DSCN1445
Cooked chicken breast trim – no trace of pink and this chicken has been thoroughly heated for over 10 minutes at boiling.

 

6. Use the food processor or blender to make a smooth mixture. Add water if necessary. This does thicken on cooling, after a few tries you will find the consistency your cat likes best.

dscn1446-e1532718277264.jpg
Using a hand blender to blend the cooked meat in the cooking bowl.

 

7. Allow to cool in the fridge.

Blended cooked chicken breast trim
Blended cooked chicken breast trim ready to be covered and set to cool in the fridge.

 

8. Add the supplements to the cold mixture. Heat will destroy some of the supplements.

Math example: Calculating the correct amount of supplement to add.

  • Meat you weighed out is x grams or y lbs
  • Balance It or supplement to add z per 100 grams or 0.22 lbs as per recipe

If you work in metric, then

  • step 1 –  x divide by 100 = ?
  •  step 2 – z multiply by ? = amount of Balance It or supplement to add

if you work in pounds, then

  •  step 1 –  y divide by 0.22 = ?
  •  step 2 – z multiply by ? = amount of Balance It or supplement to add

For example, I have cooked 450 grams of ground chicken, and the recipe calls for 1 red scoop per 220 grams. First, figure out number of scoops per 100 grams –

100 divided by 220 = 0.45 red scoops per 100 grams = z

Now I figure out 450 divided by 100 = 4.5 = ?

Then 4.5 multiplied by 0.45 = 2.025 or 2 Red scoops to add to this batch.

It is important that you get this right. If you are not sure about your maths, email me. I can check your calculations.

9. Store in clean containers, either in the fridge or freezer. I usually only make enough for a day or two, so this would go in the fridge. If I was making more than 2 days worth of food, I would freeze down the extra and thaw it for use later in the week.

Rabbit jelly jars
I use mason jars. Label and date the lids, if you are canning or freezing. It helps to label the containers even if you are storing in the fridge and will use it all up in 2 days.

10. Serve to your delighted or fussy cat.

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