What can you feed a cat if you have run out of food?
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What can you feed a cat if you have run out of food?

Cats
Food & Nutrition

Unlike dogs, cats tend to be fairly finicky about what they will or won’t eat, and for some owners, it can take a lot of trial and error to find a diet that is both appropriate for the cat in question, and that they enjoy eating! Regardless of what you feed to your cat, it is always wise to make sure that you keep a track of how much food you have in reserve and buy or re-order a new bag well before you run out, in order to ensure the continuity and proper nutrition that your cat needs.

However, every cat owner will undoubtedly find themselves caught out at some point, and find out that there is less food left than they thought, often at the most inconvenient time when it is not possible to buy more!

In this article, we will look at some of the household and cupboard food items that you are likely to have on hand and that you can feed to your cat for a one-off emergency meal if you have run out of their normal food. Read on to learn more.

For emergencies only!

First of all, it is important to note that the suggestions we will make in this article are designed simply to be palatable to your cat and fill their tummy for a one-off emergency meal, and that they are not nutritionally complete in the way that cats need to support their regular diet.

None of the recipes that we will suggest are designed to take the place of a proper complete diet, and should only be given as a one-off out of necessity. There is more to feeding a cat a homemade diet than simply mixing up meat or fish that you have to hand, and none of these dishes fit the bill for your cat’s regular diet!

Special considerations

If your cat has to eat a specialist diet because of health problems or sensitivities, you should always speak to your vet for advice in an emergency, even if this is out of hours. For certain cats with special dietary requirements, missing a meal or eating something different can cause problems-such as in the case of diabetic cats-and so you should talk to your vet about what to do in this situation.

Many clinics sell prescription and veterinary diets themselves, and may open out of hours for you to buy a bag in an emergency, although they may charge you an out of hours callout fee to do so.

Suggested meals

When it comes to feeding a cat a one-off emergency meal, the core considerations to bear in mind are that the food will be palatable to your cat, safe for them to eat, and not cause digestive upsets or any problems.

If you know that your cat is sensitive to certain ingredients, make sure you steer well clear of these, and before you start cooking or mixing, ensure that you have a list of the main household foodstuffs that can be harmful to cats to hand, to ensure that you don’t accidentally add something inappropriate.

Keeping it simple is the best approach, and so all of our suggestions involve missing a base of plain brown rice for fibre and bulk with a meat or fish product to make it appealing to your cat.

Boil the rice in plain unsalted water until it is very soft, and then strain and allow it to cool.

In terms of what you can add to the rice to make it appealing to your cat, there are several options.

First of all, plain skinless and boneless chicken breasts can be boiled in unsalted water, cooled and mashed into the rice to make a type of pate or paste that is thick enough that your cat cannot simply pick out the chicken and ignore the rice. Mix with a ratio of at least 50% chicken to rice.

Basa fish, cod and other white, unsmoked fish can also be used in the same way-boiled off, cooled and mashed into the rice.

Tinned tuna is a cupboard staple that most cats get very excited about, and that can be given as a special treat or at a pinch, as part of a meal. However, too much tuna is not good for cats, so try not to feed it as a treat regularly.

Choose tuna in spring water ideally, or brine if this is not available-steer clear of tinned tuna in oil. Then again, simply mash the tuna into your cooled rice mix before offering it to your cat.

Tinned red salmon can be prepared in the same way, as can various other types of tinned fish such as sardines, but avoid anchovies as they are very salty, and this is not good for your cat. Also, avoid fish in things like tomato, salted water, or with other added ingredients.

Hamburger meat or mince (lean) can also be cooked and mixed with rice, although if possible, stick to chicken or other white meat where cats are concerned, as red meats can be too rich and high in iron.

Don’t forget to stock up on your proper cat food as soon as you are able!

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