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Making Homemade Chicken Moist and Dry Cat Food

On request, here is a recipe for making homemade moist and also dry cat food. It is worthwhile to make since most of the cat food on the market contains vegetable matter, especially corn, as well as preservatives. Cats are carnivores and they require much more protein than dogs and other pets. Even cat food labeled “high-protein” is usually very deficient in protein.

While this recipe has what cats need, it does take a little time to make it. The biggest reason for that is that after baking, the oven is turned off and the kitty kibble is left in the oven overnight, to ensure that it is thoroughly dry. The food is then refrigerated. It will last about a week in the fridge, in an air-tight container, and about 3 months when frozen. This is unlike the store-bought dry food, which lasts indefinitely at room temperature. Commercial dry cat food not only contains a lot of corn and cornmeal, which doesn’t readily go bad, it also has preservatives. Neither of these is good for cats. Barley would be far healthier, but you aren’t given a choice.

The following recipe is based on work done by veterinarians, including those of the American Animal Hospital Association.

This recipe can be varied a little, in case not all ingredients are not readily available.

Cat food ingredients:

3 pounds roasting chicken, quartered

4 cups of water

1 cup finely chopped carrots

2 stalks finely chopped celery

½ cup uncooked barley

½ cup chopped spinach (it can be thawed out frozen spinach)

½ teaspoon iodized salt

2 teaspoon baker’s yeast

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Cat food instructions:

1. In a pot, heat the chicken, water, salt, and vegetables (except the celery) to a boil, covered.

2. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 to 1 ½ hours, until the chicken is tender.

3. Remove the chicken and strain the juices into a bowl. Refrigerate, then skim off the fat from the top off the juice.

4. While the broth is cooling, remove the chicken meat, skin, and fat from the bones and either dice it into small pieces or run it through a blender or food processor to puree it. Set aside

5. Return the broth to the pot. Add the barley, celery, yeast, and lemon juice. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

6. Add the diced or pureed chicken and the spinach. Simmer an additional 15 minutes.

7. Allow to cool to room temperature and feed as moist food or proceed for making dry food

Dry food:

8. To the moist food, Add enough whole wheat flour to make a thick, sticky dough (2-3 cups) and turn onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 200° for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and cut into cat-bite-sized kibbles.

9. Return to the oven and cook for another 1 hour. Turn off the oven and let the food sit overnight, then break it apart at the cut lines and store the food in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week or freeze it for up to 3 months.

Note: The vegetables aren’t strictly necessary. They simply provide carbohydrates for energy. The salt provides the needed amount of iodine and the yeast provides B-complex vitamins. This is a balanced food, though fish oil can be added if you wish.

If cost is an issue, you can use chicken thighs instead of a whole chicken in this recipe. Thighs are usually cheaper.

This is also much healthier than what you can buy at the store and though time-consuming, it isn’t tremendously expensive in comparison to store-bought cat food. The cost should be less than $5.

The name of the kitten in the picture is Cherokee. Her nickname is Chero-kitty and she is now full grown.

  • Did you know that cats require very high amounts of protein in their diets?

    • Yes
    • No


What do you think?

14 Points

Written by Rex Trulove


  1. Funny, every now and then I will fix chicken for my cat Brendel and she loves it. But the Dude will not touch anything but his dry food, not even treats. Greta recipe.