My cat is finicky. He has only a mid-priced preferred wet food, 'Whiskers,' which smells disgusting to me and does not seem very healthy.

He does not eat canned sardines either but loves tuna fish.

So to give him a better food quality for a lower price, I often oven-bake frozen Alaskan pollock and then smash it to pieces by fork to make cat food. But the cat hardly eats that supposedly healthy food after the first day or two of cooking.

Sometimes I add tomato paste, dried basil, or a bit of salt, hoping to make the fish more appealing, but they don't seem to help much.

It is worth mentioning that the cat has had upper respiratory disease, and has frequent dark discharges from his nose. So maybe his sense of smell is not great.

Nevertheless, I'm wondering if there are some ingredients which are particularly liked by cats that I can add to his fish food?


2 Answers 2


You need to do very careful research if you want to feed your cat homemade cat food. All animals have particular nutritional needs that might not be met if you aren't careful. A mistake could result in serious malnutrition.

As for the current diet, tomato paste is not really recommended due to the fact that the tomato plant and green tomatoes are toxic to cats, though they can eat a ripe tomato fruit without ill effects. Also any vegetable from the allium family should be avoided, which includes all variety of onions, garlic, and leeks for these are also toxic to cats, so absolutely do not give your cat any tomato paste that has those ingredients added. Feeding a cat exclusively on fish is also not necessarily recommended, due to the possible mercury content.

In conclusion, the safest bet really is to keep your animal on commercial cat food which has been designed for him.

You may be able to convince a picky cat to change food brands by slowly mixing in a bit of the new food to the old every day, gradually working up until its eating nothing but the new food.

  • Thanks for the tip about tomatoes. but your answer does not have any positive suggestion. I did not ask what is best to feed my cat. I asked about ingredients that may wet their appetite.
    – supermario
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 2:58
  • 1
    @supermario you're asking how to get your cat to eat something that is not nutritionally complete as though it is. Suggesting that you use a nutritionally complete, higher quality commercial food is a valid answer. There are plenty of brands that include fish, if your preference is to feed that, and it's likely cheaper and more efficient to feed quality canned food than to constantly be cooking something your cat does not like, that is not any more healthy than the cheap food you're currently feeding.
    – Allison C
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 15:28

Unlike dogs, cats need meat to survive and don't like carrion (old dead meat/carcass). That's probably why he doesn't like cooked fish and won't touch it if it's older than a day.

Their wild ancestors would hunt and eat small birds and chicks, mice, rats, hamsters and other small mammals and only occasionally a fish. If you want to offer your cat the most natural diet possible, you should feed fresh whole chicks or rats.

An alternative is to feed raw chicken meat, including innards, bones, skin (with feathers, if there are still any) and feet. You won't be able to give your cat all the nutrients he needs like that, but you can go with less canned food. If you have a butcher who actually butchers the entire animal, you can ask for cheap parts that cannot be sold otherwise. Apart from that, some shops sell chicken wings (unseasoned!), hearts or stomachs for cheap, and some Asian shops actually sell frozen chicken feet.

To keep the meat fresh, you can freeze daily servings.

Never feed cooked bones! As soon as it's cooked, the bone becomes brittle and might shatter into pointy shards that can injure your cat. Raw bones don't shatter like that.

A word to seasoning:
The only greens cats eat naturally is grass. Unripe tomatoes, like many other usual ingredients in human food, are actually toxic to cats, like Kay wrote in his answer. Salt is very bad for cats because it's dehydrating and they generally drink very little and often suffer from urinary illnesses. The best seasoning for a cat is no seasoning at all.


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