When it comes to cat food, home cooking might not be the best for our feline friends.
In a UC Davis study that looked at 114 popular cat food home recipes, researchers found that none of them met all of the National Research Council’s recommended allowances for adult cats. Some recipes called for ingredients that could potentially harm the cats.
“Homemade diets are not necessarily better,” said lead author Jennifer Larsen, a veterinary nutritionist with the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “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.”
The study was made, in part, because of a consumer backlash to contaminants found in imported pet food from China, resulting in an increase of cat owners switching to homemade cat food recipes. There is a smaller cadre of cat owners who want to feed their cats vegetarian, organic and locally sourced diets.
The recipes, shared online and in print publications, were likely well-intentioned, but even ones written by veterinarians failed to include all the nutrients cat require.
Most recipes lacked three or more nutrients, but some were missing up to 19. Others had less than half of the recommended daily servings of essential nutrients including choline, iron, zinc, thiamin, vitamin E and manganese.
Whether cats are being harmed by the diets depends on feeding instructions, the duration of that diet, the recipe’s level of nutritional deficiency and the cat’s overall health.
Seven percent of the recipes, however, included potentially toxic ingredients including garlic, garlic powder, onions and leeks. Researchers also found recipe instructions lacking. Ones that included raw meats didn’t mention the potential dangers of handling and feeding raw foods, and those that included bones didn’t warn that they should be ground up to prevent stomach and intestinal tears.
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Source:: East Bay – Lifestyle