I love all animals but the truth is, I’m a dog person. Given my dog obsession, it is a surprise when people learn that the cats in my home outnumber the dogs. The story of how a dog lover became a cat owner is here, but the bottom line is that I live with two orange male tabby cats and a female shepherd mix dog. Because they grew up together, the dog and cats are friends and watching them play during the day has been a nice bit of comic relief during these long stretches at home.
My cat Milo was adopted as a tiny kitten from the San Francisco SPCA in 2005, making him 15 years old and the oldest member of the pet gang. He made the journey to Greece with me and despite his shy character, he adjusted to the new Greek environment very well.
Things were going fine for Milo until about two years ago when he started drooling an unusual amount, drinking quite a bit and acting very tired and lethargic. I took him to the vet where it was confirmed he has feline diabetes. I can’t say it was a surprise and the truth is, I played a big part in this. He likes to eat, I like to be lenient and that deadly combination allowed him to overeat for many years. He was at least five kilos overweight when the diagnosis came in.
The vet said we caught it early enough that the condition could probably be controlled by diet so suddenly, the whole household, which had been eating as much as they wanted whenever they wanted, went on an eating schedule. This wasn’t enough, so I gave Milo special canned food for diabetic cats. While his weight dropped a little bit he was crying for food all the time, and his condition wasn’t improving. So, I began to do my own research and read many stories about people who had successfully cooked for their cats with great results. Health conditions vanished, energy improved, vitality was restored. The recipes, while kind of gross for a non-meat eater like myself, seemed simple enough. Watching him suffer was hard so I made the leap and started experimenting with various homemade cat food recipes. Cats need very high protein diets which means the recipes end up being heavily meat-focused. Thus I became friends with the butcher.
The outcome: Success! It took over a month to notice a difference but slowly, Milo started losing weight and not crying that he was hungry. His drooling decreased. His drinking normalized. But most importantly, he became noticeably happier. He started playing again instead of sleeping all the time. He began following me around the house. He became more energetic and engaged. It has been over a year now and overall, he just seems healthier and with more vitality. We went to the vet last week, and his numbers were great. Even the vet was impressed. It seems, at least at the moment, he won’t need insulin. His weight is at a healthy level, and his overall health outlook is good. This is a big improvement from a year ago.
Here is the recipe I recommend and some references if you want to do your own research or get a bit more gourmet.
–One whole chicken, chopped into the smallest pieces the butcher will make. When I say whole chicken, that is 100% whole (bones, organs, all of it).
-Half a kilogram of sardines, trimmed and chopped into the smallest pieces the fish market person will make.
–4 tablespoons of psyllium
–4 tablespoons of olive oil
–2000 mg of taurine (you can get this at most vitamin or health food stores)
–1 teaspoon of salt (I use Himalayan salt).
**vitamin B and E supplements are also recommended, see below.
The instructions are actually quite simple. I boil the chicken and fish and then blend all the ingredients together in a high-speed blender, adding about 2-4 cups of water. I divide it into jars and freeze everything I am not using that day. For two cats being fed twice a day, this lasts about one week.
Extras: I noticed the cats both like tomatoes and avocado so I’ve been adding a bit of that to the mix. They like it a lot. Importantly, there is no grain whatsoever. Low carb is important for Milo’s condition and healthier for cats in general.
Here’s the original recipe. When I first began making the recipe, I wasn’t using supplements but the more I read, the more it seems the supplements are important so I’m now adding vitamin B and E to the recipe.
A few things to note….At the beginning, I was keeping my second cat, Emerson, on his dry food but the more I read, the more I became convinced that this new high protein, low carb diet would be better for both of them. They both eat it now and seem very happy.
This isn’t a recipe I would cook for my dog, Andromeda, because dogs and cats have different dietary needs. At the moment, I’m continuing to feed Andromeda her dry kibble but after having such success with the cat food recipe, I’m starting to explore homemade dog food recipes too. This will be a fall project. Here is where I am planning to start.