“You are what you eat” – this saying applies to us humans and to animals too.
So, a pet’s wellbeing is largely dependent on what they eat and this means, what we feed them because they don’t hunt anymore, they totally depend on us for their food.
So, what the best food to give them?
If only we knew the answer to that.
As you know, I believe in the raw food theory, that is, we study what the big cats (lions, tigers, wildcats) or wolves eat in the wild, and we try our best to mimic that in what we serve our cats and dogs. Hence, raw food. But to get the proportion right, that’s tricky and requires research. This is the part where we just have to trust those researchers to do their best. We have the PMR model and also other models. For example, the PMR model for cats is 84% muscle meat, 6% edible bone, 5% liver and 5% other organs (and no vegetables at all). Note that it is different for dogs. But some of the raw food- feeding friends I’ve spoken to disagree with this model and they have their own time-tested recipes. And there are those who say food must be cooked too as they fear that raw food may be contaminated.
So, who is right?
There is no answer to this because there is no longitudinal study done on pets’ nutrition, longevity and wellbeing. Even if longevity can be measured, wellbeing is too subjective and qualitative.
So how do we know who is right and what is best?
Well, for me, I like to live and learn. I learn from those who have had years of experience in caring for animals and I ask them how their animals have fared in life. Then I decide if I wish to follow what they do, and if not everything, then some parts of it. And at the same time, I continue researching on my own.
At the end of the day, it is also what works for your pet. And each pet is different and may have different needs and preferences.
So ultimately – YOU know best. Or rather, your pet knows best, so let’s hope our pet finds some way to tell us what food they need!
So today, I’m going to share with you what my friend feeds her cats and dogs. She is the caregiver with 5 dogs and 110 cats and she has been looking after rescued animals for almost three decades now.
Her oldest cat lived until 27 years old (passed away of kidney problems), and another, 23 years old (passed away of kidney problems, heart problem and face cancer). And according to her, all her animals are very healthy and seldom even get the flu. Out of her many cats, only three have CKD now, aged 16, 14 and 12 respectively.
I have never visited her, so I do not know the condition of her cats. Everything I write here is based on what she tells me.
I’ll summarise what I’ve learnt from her but this is only a sharing. Kindly pick and choose what you think might be good for your animals if you wish try, but better still, consult a pet nutritionist for professional advice before you embark on any new recipes for your pets.
Her cats’ daily food
My friend says the most important thing for her cats, based on her long, long experience in caring for cats is her “sup ayam” (chicken soup). She makes her sup ayam using chicken breast meat boiled in water, but it must be boiled for 2-3 hours. Then she adds Equilibrio kibble to it. She says there must be more sup ayam than kibble. She also feeds the cooked chicken breast meat to her cats. The soup is very important as cats need water in their diet, else, they will be very prone to chronic kidney disease. Yes, we all know this!
This recipe forms the staple food for her 110 cats. She says with so many cats, she cannot afford any canned food at all. So, that’s what her cats eat.
And according to her, they are all healthy!
This is a gentle reminder to me – I must make my chicken soup again for all our cats! Do take note that bone has minerals, so if you are using the carcass to make the soup, do not feed this to CKD cats. There will be too much minerals for them. For healthy non-CKD cats, it is okay to give them bone broth. In fact, add in some apple cider vinegar, boil it for 24 hours and it becomes a very healthy bone broth. I normally use a slow cooker to do it. If you are making for CKD cats, do not use bone.
My own bone broth: https://myanimalcare.org/2019/11/12/making-bone-broth-for-the-cats/
My meat broth for CKD or potential-CKD cats: https://myanimalcare.org/2020/01/10/meat-broth-for-our-cats-ckd-and-enough-water-intake/
Water is a very essential nutrient for cats, so thank you, my friend, for the reminder.
Please read this: https://www.foodfurlife.com/water—the-essential-nutrient.html#/
I will be making chicken broth for my cats again, and this time, on a regular basis.
Her dogs’ daily food
She did not elaborate much on her dog food recipe but she mentioned that she uses basmati rice for them because of the low glycemic index and this will reduce the chances of the dogs developing diabetes.
Her recipe for diarrhoea in her pets
This is her recipe, using pumpkin and chicken.
She says it is very effective.
I have used pumpkin extensively in the treatment of diarrhoea in my cats. Most of the time it works, but sometimes, nothing works and I will resort to changing to a novel protein like raw rabbit.
Ultimately, YOU know best. Observe and listen to your pets and you will know. But it also doesn’t hurt to live and learn from others!