Studies show that homemade food lacks essential nutrients: Study.
Washington: Cat lovers take note! Researchers have discovered that most of the homemade cat food lack essential nutrients and some food also contain ingredients potentially toxic for cats.
The study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association is thought to be the first to examine homemade recipes for healthy adult cats.
Researchers evaluated 114 recipes from online sources and books. Forty per cent of the recipes did not provide any feeding instructions, and the remainder of them lacked detail or were unclear.
"Only 94 recipes provided enough information for computer nutritional analysis and of those none provided all the essential nutrients," said lead author Jennifer Larsen.
Recipes lacked nutrients regardless of the source or whether they were written by veterinarians, although those authored by veterinarians had fewer deficiencies in essential nutrients.
Most recipes were lacking concentrations of three or more nutrients, with some lacking adequate amounts of up to 19 essential nutrients.
Furthermore, many recipes had severe deficiencies, providing less than 50 per cent of the recommended allowances of several essential nutrients including choline, iron, zinc, thiamin, vitamin E and manganese.
Whether these recipes would harm cats would vary based on feeding instructions, the length of time the cat has been on the diet, the health of the cat and the degree of the recipe's nutritional deficiency. Researchers found just five recipes, all from veterinarian authors that met all but one of the essential nutrients.
Seven per cent of the recipes called for ingredients that are potentially toxic to cats, including garlic or garlic powder, onions and leeks.
Researchers also found recipes that called for raw animal products without mentioning potential risks of bacterial contamination. Some recipes that included bones neglected to mention the importance of grinding them to prevent gastrointestinal tears.
Larsen said there was a big surge in cat owners switching to homemade cat food recipes after toxic substances were found in commercial pet food imported from China more than a decade ago.
Some cat owners choose homemade recipes because they want more control over their cat's diet. Others believe their cat should have a vegetarian diet or one with sustainably sourced or organic ingredients. Larsen said cat owners should be cautious about homemade recipes.
"Homemade diets are not necessarily better. 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," said Larsen.
Larsen said cat owners should not be afraid of commercial diets but recommends cat owners who desire a homemade diet consult with a board-certified veterinary nutritionist. They specialise in formulating homemade diets for pets.