Gently Cooked or Raw. Our Pets Live Longer on 100% Whole Food Diets.
Our cats and dogs are fat and getting fatter. A 2020 study looked at 90% of commercial pet foods and found that the average cat food was more carb than protein, and the average dog food was nearly equal parts protein and carbs.
The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention published their 2022 figures showing that 61% of cats and 59% of dogs are overweight or obese. The fatter a body is - no matter what the species - the shorter its health-span and lifespan will likely be.
MARS Petcare – owner of Banfield pet hospitals, Royal Canin pet food, and many other brands – published a study this year (2023). They looked at over 13 million dogs visiting over 1000 of their Banfield pet hospitals and determined that the average age at time of death for those dogs was 10.6 years.
Our animal companions cannot live longer, healthier lives on ultra-processed diets (i.e. kibble and canned feed) just as we cannot juice cleanse our way out of a daily Happy Meal®.
Our lifestyle choices catch up with us and our companions. We do not have to accept that 11, 12 or 13 years is a long life for our furry companion. It might be better than the odds, but what sets that bar at 10.6 years for dogs and a couple years higher for cats needs to be challenged.
I own Goodness Gracious, a company that handcrafts 100% whole food, human grade, species appropriate diets for dogs and cats. The food we make is the food I feed, and I love every molecule of it. Getting more time begins with diet.
As Mama to three dogs collectively weighing 170 pounds, I understand how choosing real food over ultra-processed feed pinches the pocketbook. Out of respect for parents who want to but cannot afford to buy the kinds of foods that we make, I developed and published a complete and balanced homemade recipe for dogs that could be fed either raw or gently cooked.
The recipe was so well received that I was asked to make one for kitties. While my business - like every business - exists to make money, and I want people to buy our products, I also feel an obligation to help because it is in my power to do so. (Thank you, Mom and Papa, for that glorious life lesson.)
Science shows that replacing as little as 20% of an ultra-processed diet with whole foods has a positive impact on a pet’s body. So here it is feline-folks. A recipe for an optimal, 100% whole-food, cat food that you can make at home. This one can be served either raw or gently cooked.
Below this recipe you will find the links to download the full nutritional profiles for the raw and cooked versions of this recipe. This recipe was formulated using the Animal Diet Formulator (ADF) software, and based on that software it is complete and balanced according to the FEDIAF nutritional profile for adult cats.
Why FEDIAF over AAFCO? FEDIAF is the European equivalent of AAFCO and in the opinion of leading holistic veterinary nutritionists as well as my own, it is a better standard.
The Cat Food Recipe for DIY'ers
How To and Nutritional Highlights
Gentle cooking according to ADF is a low temperature form of cooking where the moisture level is preserved and browning does not happen. A crockpot would fit the bill. So would steam or sous vide.
Do not cook your oils. Add the fats at the end into a cool mixture to avoid the formation of ALEs. (These are oxidized fats which are heat induced toxicants).
I like to puree the ingredients together. Otherwise, picky eaters may toothpick around the veggies, but that is totally a chef's choice. Kitties are very texture-oriented.
This recipe will be complete and balanced to the FEDIAF profile without the spirulina, cranberries, or broccoli but I like them because they are packed with rich and powerful phytonutrients that are beneficial for kitties.
This recipe makes approximately 6.2 pounds of food. There are about 28 kcal per oz. A 10 lb indoor adult cat will generally need about 7.5 ounces per day. Reduce that amount if your cat is sedate or overweight to about 5.25 oz daily. Whatever will not be eaten right away should be stored in the freezer. You know the drill. Thaw in the fridge before serving.
The taurine in this recipe is awesome, owing to the use of mussels. The raw version is formulated to have 1.77 mg/1000 kcal. (1.59 in the gently cooked version). The FEDIAF minimum requirement is 0.67.
This recipe is formulated to achieve a 4:1 Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio. On a dry matter basis, about 67% of the nutrients come from protein, 18% come from fat, and a beautifully low 6% from net carbs.
32 oz Turkey Giblets
24 oz Mussels (you can find these frozen or at the seafood counter of your grocery store. Do not substitute canned.)
18 oz Lean Pork (sirloin or tenderloin)
9 oz Eggs (no shell)
6 oz Asparagus
6 oz Broccoli
2 oz Oysters
1 oz Cranberries
16 grams Ground Egg Shell
12 grams Organic Wheatgerm Oil (or 1 oz organic sprouted sunflower seeds if feeding recipe with raw proteins & eggs)
6 grams Spirulina (dried)
Cooking options for the proteins: Cut the pork into cubes so that the cubes are about the same size as the giblets, shucked mussels and oysters. For sous vide cooking, put the proteins (including the eggs) in a zipper seal bag and submerge into the water bath. Set your sous vide to 165 degrees and cook for 2 hours. (It's ok if it cooks longer, this is the beauty of sous vide). For crockpot cookers, put the proteins (including the eggs) in a crockpot and cook until done (165 F internal temp). Do not add water. Allow proteins to cool.
Cooking method for the veggies: I like steam. Cut your asparagus and broccoli into equal size pieces. Using a steamer basket in a pot with a tight-fitting lid, steam just until al dente. Allow to cool.
Egg shells: You can dry them in the oven and then using a food processor or a spice grinder, finely grind the eggshell.
Combine: Put the eggshell powder into a large bowl. Add your wheatgerm oil and spirulina to the bowl.
Combine proteins (including egg), cranberries and veggies in a food processor and pulse or puree until desired consistency is achieved. Thoroughly combine with eggshell/spirulina/wheatgerm oil mixture. Refrigerate. Scoop and serve in appropriate portions for your cat. Freeze what will not be eaten in a couple days.
Fyi... this article including the recipe is protected by copyright. Like any cookbook, you are welcome to use the recipe in your home kitchen to make this food to feed your personal furry family. Reproducing it in whole or in part as your own or without proper attribution to the author is prohibited. "Grrrr," say the legal dogs 🐕
About the author
This article was written by Amy Renz, the CEO of Goodness Gracious (the website you're on). You're welcome to browse our pages to learn more about us and our educational, advocacy, and charitable works in addition to our awesome food and treats. Or you can fire up your kitchen and start making some super food for your #1 Fan. Wag, woof, lick, purrrrr.