Cat Diet Preparation

Diets should be prepared according to the recipe given, with no substitutions, additions, or omissions. Each ingredient in the diet is important and provides specific necessary nutrients. Proper preparation of homemade diets requires time and effort. An accurate kitchen scale that measures in grams and ounces is required for diet preparation. Ingredients should be carefully measured to provide the proper combination of nutrients. Individual ingredients in the diet (such as meat and the carbohydrate source) should be cooked separately. Meat should be cooked for a minimum of 10 minutes at 180 ° F. Chicken and ground beef, in particular, should be well cooked to prevent bacterial contamination. The use of raw ingredients is not recommended due to the increased risk for foodborne illness (see Chapter 2, Food Safety). Carbohydrate sources such as potatoes should be cooked to improve their digestibility. Vegetables should be washed and then cooked prior to use. Once the food ingredients have been cooked, they should be measured and combined. Any salt in the recipe can be added at this time, but other vitamins and mineral supplements should not be added yet. Once the food ingredients are combined, the ingredients should be mixed in a blender to ensure their even distribution. This will prevent the pet from picking out certain dietary ingredients and not consuming others. An unbalanced diet will be consumed if ingredients are separate and the pet does not eat the entire mixture. Vitamin and mineral supplements should be crushed to a powder form and added after the food sources have been cooked and combined. Homemade diets do not contain preservatives and are high in moisture, thus they are highly susceptible to bacterial and fungal contamination if left at room temperature for more than a few hours. The the recipes in this book have been designed to be prepared in small batches to minimize the amount of food prepared but not required for feeding. Any prepared diet that is not being consumed immediately should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for no more than a few days. If preparation of a larger batch of food is desired, then the recipe should be prepared up to the point of vitamin and mineral supplement addition and stored frozen. When ready to feed, the portion of diet can be thawed, weighed, and the appropriate amount of vitamins and minerals can be added prior to feeding. Before feeding any food that has been stored in the refrigerator or freezer, the color, odor, and consistency should be checked. If there are changes, or there is visible mold growth, the food should be discarded. Vitamin and mineral supplements are present in small quantities, but they are a very important part of the diet. Supplements should be included as stated in each recipe and not substituted or omitted. For example, many diets include both iodized salt and a salt substitute (potassium chloride). Iodized salt is important as a source of iodine and sodium, and salt substitute is included as a source of potassium. Both are equally important for inclusion in the diet. Bone meal is included in diets because it is an excellent source of calcium and phosphorus, and calcium carbonate (baking soda) is included as a calcium source. Some recipes call for one – half of a vitamin or mineral tablet. In general, these are human products that are not meant to be cut in half, so each half may not be exactly half of the vitamins called for in the recipe. However, over the course of several days, the proper amounts of vitamins and minerals will be fed overall. Prior to feeding, the diet should be warmed to just below body temperature (about 100 ° F). Especially if food is being warmed in the microwave, the food should be checked for hot spots, as the food may heat unevenly. A small amount of water can be added at this time, if necessary. When feeding, the food should not sit out at room temperature for more than a few hours. Any food not consumed should be removed and discarded. Bowls used for serving should be washed thoroughly after each use.

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