Nutritionally Complete BARF Cat Food Recipes

Do you ever wonder what ingredients are used for BARF cat food? The ability to make your own BARF meal allows you to control what goes into your cat's food as well as the meats and supplements. This article will discuss the nutrients, serving method, equipment, and recipes to try!

BARF cat food
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

What are the essential nutrients for cats?

Cats are carnivores, so their diet must include a proper balance of the six major nutrient groups for them to be healthy.

  • Protein is fuel for for their bodies, essential for growth and a functioning immune system
  • Fats are energy rich and work as transport molecules. Essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 are crucial for wound healing and coat health. 
  • Vitamins are among the most important nutrients, and each one serves a specific purpose. Vitamin A, for example, is essential for vision, bones, reproduction, and the maintenance of skin and mucous membranes.
  • Minerals are inorganic compounds that must be consumed for the body to function normally. Calcium, for example, is essential for bone and dental maintenance,
  • Water is essential because it helps to keep them hydrated and it maintains their health.  Cats should drink 4 to 5 ounces per 2.2kg of body weight.

For more information, you can read “What Is AAFCO’s Cat Food Nutrient Profile?

Serving and meal planning for the BARF diet

When it comes to the BARF diet, try not to serve it cold because cats prefer their food to be slightly warm. Cats also choose to eat from a plate rather than a bowl. Glass or metal should be used for feeding BARF food because they do not develop bacteria marks like plastic.

Aside from that, planning is essential when preparing a BARF diet. The diet should not be deficient in any nutrients or else it will harm your cat. Here is the BARF meal measurements to feed your cat according to its age and weight (remember that these are estimates and every cat is different. If you notice weight loss or gain then change the proportioning accordingly):

  1. Cats at their ideal weight - to feed 2% to 2.50% of their current body weight per day.
  2. Less active, senior, or overweight cats need 1.5% of their current body weight per day.
  3. Felines that are active and underweight - 3% of their current body weight per day. 
  4. Pregnant cats - The first 3 weeks feed them as per normal, then increase it by 4%-5% of her body weight from week 5 to week 7. In the last 2 weeks of pregnancy Increase it to 6%.

Preparing BARF diet safely with proper equipment and meat handling

When preparing a BARF diet, make sure to wash your hands and keep the area clean. Never mix raw meat with cooked meat during prep or storage. If possible, try to keep them in separate containers.

Do you have the right tools to prepare the meal? The following is a list of the necessary equipment:

  • Grinder
  • Razor-sharp knife
  • Shears for poultry
  • Cleaver for meat
  • Mixing bowls set
  • Containers and labels that can freeze in plastic or glass
  • Nitrile or latex gloves
  • Scale 
  • Extra-large cutting board
  • Space in the freezer

BARF food recipes 

The BARF diet has many advantages for your cat and making it at home is definitely healthier and less expensive. Homemade BARF cat food is typically made up of more than just meat. It comprises meat, organs, bone, fat, egg yolks, water, and supplements. These elements must be present to create a balanced diet for a complete cat nutrition.

Recipes with Bone 

  • 2 kg raw bone-in muscle meat (chicken thighs or chicken carcass)
  • 400 g raw chicken heart
  • 200 g of raw chicken liver

If you can't find the heart, you can substitute 400 g of meat/bones. If you can't find liver, replace it with another 200 g of meat/bone.

  • 2 cups water
  • 4 egg yolks, raw
  • 4 raw glandular supplement capsules, such as multi-gland supplement
  • 4000 mg salmon oil
  • 800 IU Vitamin E

If you are not planning to use the food immediately and will be freezing it for more than a week or two, add 4000 mg of extra Taurine to compensate for any nutrients lost.

Directions:

  1. Remove approximately half of the skin from the muscle meat. Chop as much muscle meat as you can.
  2. Grind the raw liver, heart and skin and the raw meaty bones in a food processor. Then, keep the grounded meat/bone mixture in the refrigerator.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine all the supplements and 2 cups of water.

Recipe using only pure meat

Some people prefer to use recipes that don’t use any bones at all. While you can use boneless ground meats made specifically for feeding raw to pets,  boneless meat contains very little calcium. Therefore, you need to add a calcium source. You should add 1000 to 1200 mg of calcium supplement per pound of flesh.

Calcium can be added in three ways - bone meal powder, MCHA (microcrystalline hydroxyapatite), or eggshell powder. An added advantage of using eggshell powder instead of bone meal powder and MCHA is that it contains phosphorus. The calcium to phosphorus ratio is important because it can result in calcium being pulled from feline bones and may lead to fractures, weakness, seizures and death. 

For the most safest and effective form of calcium, you should try PetCubes Wholistic Sea Coral Calcium. It is very high in calcium, containing 38 % calcium and 72 trace minerals, and unlike any other calcium supplement, it quickly enters the bloodstream for complete utilisation.

How do you put different proteins together?

Protein is essential for your cat, but don't overfeed it. Here are some protein-combination suggestions.

Chicken - Begin by purchasing a whole chicken from a store or butcher. Remove the neck and backbone to reduce the bone content. You'll need a grinder that can handle the carcass's larger bones. If you have organ meats, add it to the grind.

Turkey - Use turkey thighs if possible. If only turkey necks or wings are used, the bone-to-meat ratio will be off, affecting the calcium-to-phosphorus balance. If you can't find enough turkey livers and hearts, use chicken livers and hearts instead. Follow the rest of the recipe as directed.

Fish - Adding water-packed sardines once a week to the meal can provide extra omega fatty acids. For variety, add a can of wild-caught salmon to the ground recipe occasionally.

If you are looking for a complete ready to serve meal, you should check out “PetCubes Raw Cat Food” as it offers human grade fresh cat meals, with lots of nutrients such as calcium, omega oils and others.

Supplements for the BARF diet

Supplements are typically used to replace deficient nutrients. However, your cat may not require all the supplements. 

The following is a list of supplements that must be included in your cat's BARF meal:

1. Taurine is one of the most essential amino acids for your cats. It helps with the heart muscle function and digestion.

2. Wild salmon oil assists your feline with better weight management and mobility. You can check out PetCubes Wild Salmon Oil. It is rich in EPA and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid and eicosahexaenoic acid).

3. Vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant.

4. Vitamin B, which is essential for cognitive functions.

5. Powdered Psyllium Husk, which prevents your cats from getting constipation and diarrhea.

Conclusion

Making BARF cat food at home may seem challenging at first, but if you follow the tips and tricks in this article, you will enjoy the experience. To make this diet at home, you'll need time, right ingredients, and the necessary equipment. All of this and the recipes above will assist you in preparing a wholesome meal for your cat. If you have any questions, always consult your veterinarian before feeding.

Reviewed by: 

Dr Francis is one of the top wildlife nutritionists in Asia. Originating from Montreal, Canada, he left at 21 to pursue his Masters and subsequently a PhD in wildlife nutrition at Oxford Brookes University. Instead of taking the path of common animal science to learn about farm animals, or through the veterinarian space and taking a certificate in nutrition, he took the road less travelled to dive deep into the world of animal ecology, metabolism and nutrition.

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