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Recently, I began trying to make my own wet food. However, while my cat is always drawn to the store-bought ones, she doesn't eat a bite of what I make after smelling it.

I have tried till now -

  1. baked (cooked) chicken, from raw
  2. boiled (cooked) chicken, from raw
  3. meat (defrosted and warmed) chicken tenders, from frozen

But I am yet to have any success.

What can I do to make my home-made wet food more palatable and attractive?

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Here you have to take a GO SLOW approach.

Consider this example -

Suppose, you are taking a highly salted food regular diet. Doctor tells you to cut your salt intake. It will be almost impossible for you to do it at one jump. You take a GO SLOW approach. You start slowly reducing the salt in your food every day. It will take time. But ultimately the low salt food too will get palatable.

Now, returning back to the cat -

Break down the cooked food into fine pieces. Then start mixing small amounts of cooked food with your cat's store-brought food. Slowly keep increasing the proportion of cooked food in the mixture everyday. Ultimately a time will come when your cat will no longer refuse to eat cooked food.

NOTE:

During baking process juices drip from the meat. Meat is rich in both Vitamin B and C. But both being water soluble weans away with the dripping juices. Gathering this juice and serving it with the meat may minimize loss.

Also after boiling meat, the boiled water must not be thrown away but served for a similar reason.

And, never give your cat frozen tender meat. It is a totally unhealthy food for a cat. It comes loaded with saturated fat putting your cat's heart at risk and is high in sodium putting your cat's kidneys at risk.

  • In your example (third paragraph) about the salt intake - you're not implying the store-bought food has high salt content, right? I presume it's just a hypothetical scenario to explain your point. – flow2k May 26 at 18:33
  • yeah obviously hypothetical, for OP to better understand – Sonevol May 27 at 0:14
  • I am quite curious to know about how this question arises of it being hypothetical or not – Sonevol May 27 at 1:30
  • @Sonevol you didn't write the word "suppose" lol – ankii May 30 at 15:39
  • @ankiiiiiii street English this is called, according to the context one or two words are often omitted, got to guess it – Sonevol May 30 at 15:58
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Your first concern shouldn't be the appeal of the food, but the nutritional completeness. If your motivations for making your own cat food are to save money or make things easier for yourself, I'd recommend you go back to a high-quality commercial wet food instead. Creating a homemade, nutritionally complete meal for your cat is a lot more complicated than just cooking a piece of chicken breast and giving it to them. If you have medical concerns leading you to creating your own wet diet, it should be done with the advice and involvement of a veterinary professional (preferably one who knows a good amount about animal diets).

Cats require animal protein, as well as a particular combination of amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals; just feeding plain chicken breast doesn't meet their requirements. It's a good treat, but not a good regular food. You'll need to either add the supplements directly (by breaking open capsules and adding them to the food), or purchase a commercial cat supplement blend that can be added to the food. Find a proven recipe and follow it (favor vetted sites like WebMD Pets over "mommy blogger" recipes that may be severely nutritionally deficient).

Once you have a nutritionally complete recipe selected, you'll want to choose a high-quality meat. Aim more toward dark meat over white meat chicken, and use a good brand, not a flavorless one. (You mentioned using Tyson chicken tenders in a comment; Tyson, while a readily available brand, is low quality meat that tends to be flavorless and depends on breadings or seasonings to be palatable even to humans.) Try the chicken cooked plain with a little cat-friendly cooking oil yourself to see if it has a taste to it or not; if it's bland, keep it for your own seasoned recipes and try another brand. You'll likely end up with something organic or all-natural, and possibly fresh from a local meat market or butcher shop, to get something that will be appealing.

You'll also need to transition the cat; this goes for any change in diet, not just transitioning to homemade. Cats tend to have sensitive digestive systems and sudden dietary changes can upset them; over 1-2 weeks, mix increasing amounts of the homemade food into decreasing amounts of the commercial food. Don't use up the end of your commercial diet! You'll want some to go back to if the cat has digestive issues from the homemade or fully rejects it.

To aid in making the homemade food (or any food) more appealing, you can get feline probiotic powders that make the food smell much more appetizing to the cat. These products are readily available through your vet, or (at least in the US) can be purchased from Amazon under the names FortiFlora (Purina) or Advita (VetOne).

Once you've transitioned your cat, you'll have to be diligent about monitoring their health and maintaining the correct balance of supplements in the food, at least at the start. Again, partner with your vet during this period. You'll want to be certain that your homemade diet is in fact nutritionally complete, and that your cat is not suffering any deficiencies that can lead to serious medical problems or death.

And, unless this is for a medical reason where commercial foods are no longer viable, accept that your cat may not want to make this change. Some cats are very particular about their food, and don't want to change from what they like, so if it's nutritionally complete, let them keep eating it. If this sounds too expensive or like too much work, similarly, if they like their current food and aren't having any issues caused by their current diet, let them keep eating it.

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