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My cousin has a kitten. He feeds it mainly boiled fish, boiled chicken liver and boiled chicken gizzard. Other than this, he feeds it very little (couple of spoons) kitty kibble every day. Other than his - he feeds very little (3-4 spoons) home made kefir to the kitten. He also feeds the cat Taurine supplement. He buys 500 mg Taurine capsules (meant for humans) & sprinkles the powder in the capsule in the kitten's food. He uses 1 capsule over 2 days.

Is this an adequate diet for the kitten - he says only things lacking in the boiled meat are taurine and calcium. The kefir gives the required calcium & the taurine supplement provides the taurine.

Is this a decent diet for the kitten? The kitten seems healthy. Seems to be growing well also.

  • yes skeletal meat is high in phosphorus, so the calcium needs to be added to balance the Phosphorus to Calcium ratio if the cat is not getting bones. He sounds like he knows what he's doing. If no one answers this, I'll come back with a detailed answer. Good question. – user6796 Jun 27 '17 at 18:26
  • @YvetteColomb - what do you mean by skeletal meat? – user93353 Jun 27 '17 at 21:36
  • Meat on the skeleton, i.e. not offal. The meat that is sold and eaten - steaks, chop, roasts etc – user6796 Jun 27 '17 at 21:37
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    Just to be safe I would feed the cat some kitten food too a couple of times a week. If you make a batch of home made cat food you can add the vitamins to it and feed them for a few days per batch. Add about 5% by volume of mashed green beens or other cat digestible vegetable. Cats get a small amount of veggies in the wild since they eat bugs and the stomachs of their prey as well. Canned Sardines in water have soft bones that are edible that are a good source of calcium. A spoon or two could be added to you food batch every now and then. – Beo Jul 1 '17 at 13:13
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Disclaimer: This is not a comprehensive detail on feeding cats raw diets. There is much detail that I have provided links for, to continue with reading.

The best meal for a cat is a whole live rabbit, it contains all the nutrients a cat requires. The skeletal meat and bones provide a good balance of phosphorus and calcium and the organs provide essential vitamins, amino and fatty acids. So your cousin is on the right path with this diet. However there's a few issues.

Taurine

Cats require regular taurine in their diet, as the body cannot store it. Taurine deficiency can lead to blindness and death in cats. Taurine is found in fresh meat. The heat of cooking destroys taurine, hence your cousins adding taurine to the cat's diet. Pet food has a synthetic taurine added to it.

Calcium

Cats are lactose intolerant, they lack the enzyme lactase. Kefir, traditionally, was made with a fermentation process that reduces the lactose to lactic acid, making it a viable calcium source for cats.

There is one issue with the current day methods of making kefir. Kefir made in jars needs to be stirred to ensure that all the milk can come into contact with the kefir grains, or lactose will still be present in the mix.

Fresh raw meat

Boiling the meat destroys vitamins. If it's possible for the kitten to have fresh, uncooked chicken liver and gizzards, and fish. It would be preferable to introduce some fresh skeletal meat into the cat's diet, to assist in obtaining taurine requirements naturally. Even better would be to provide fresh chicken wings or chicken necks twice a week, which would also assist in meeting the calcium required for the cat within the chicken bones. (too many can cause constipation). Also as Beo suggests in the comments fish with small bones, so they get the meat and the bones, without risk of constipation. (I feed my cats this) Also never feed cats cooked bones, as they can splinter and cause blockages and/or bleeding.

Risks

The risks of feeding a cat like this is a dietary imbalance. There's more info and recipes your cousin can read up on to ensure the kitten does not miss out. The issue with dietary's deficiencies in cats, is they will not show up immediately, but are insidious and will show up over time.

I recommend reading here and having a more in depth look into it. Easy Raw Diet Feeding for the Busy PersonFeline Nutrition Foundation

For more details on this:

Taurine in Cats By Cheryl Yuill, DVM, MSc, CVH
Taurine in Cats Dr Bruce Syme BVSc (Hons)
Kefir for Pets Food Fur Life
Feeding Your Cat Cornell University, College of Veterinarian Medicine
Don't Let Calcium/Phosphorous Ratios Scare You Feline Nutrition Foundation
What should I feed my cat? RSPCA

Skeletal meat is anything attached to the skeleton used for movement, as opposed to for example heart meat.

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There are some concerns with some of the choices:

  • Human supplements are not regulated so you won't get the correct dose that the bottle says.
  • Try to stay away from dairy products, for the most part cats are intolerant to milk - though they can tolerate it if continuously given after birth. There are better options for calcium supplementation (such as ground up bones).

It's great that he's offering variety and that he's cooking the food. That being said I suggest getting a meal plan from a veterinary nutritionist or at least discuss with them whats the best options are for the life stage of his cat. If your friend does not want to go that route then I would recommend Hilary's Blend for cats, it's widely accepted among veterinary professionals to be complete & balanced. The book has a TON of recipes for all life stages and the supplements are readily available for purchase.

I'm not 100% well versed when it comes to making home-made diets, I'm more educated on what has already been proven to work to keep pets healthy and the reasons why. I think your friend is on the right track but should get a bit more guidance from board certified pet nutritionists or someone with a PH.D in animal nutrition.

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