This is really delicious; I enjoy the fact that I can lick off the fork that I use to serve this food to my cats! About 1/4-1/3 cup makes a nice meal for most cats.
1 can of sardines (I usually buy the 3.5 oz cans packed in Olive Oil. It is best to use the ones that are more whole - in other words, not the skinless boneless ones.)
3 tbsp of cocktail sauce (see note below)
Scoop sardines out of can and onto a plate, discard extra oil. With a fork, mash sardines into a smooth consistency. Add cocktail sauce. Mix thoroughly.
Cocktail sauce is just ketchup with horseradish added. You can use pre-made, but I would avoid any brands with high fructose corn syrup. You can make your own in two ways: 1) use organic ketchup and simply grate fresh horseradish root into it to taste, or 2) use canned tomato paste, adding a dash of apple cider vinegar, a sprinkle of sugar, a dash of salt, and a grating of horseradish root, keep tasting and adding little amounts of the ingredients until you like the flavor...
Horseradish Root has a very strong flavor - but I find even finicky cats seem to like it in moderation. Horseradish is easy and prolific to grow, but you can also usually find chunks of fresh root in most grocery stores. Simply wash and peel part of the root, and grate on a fine cheese grater. Taste as you add to make sure you don't use too much. Wrap and freeze the unused portion, it lasts a couple months in the freezer and is actually easier to grate once frozen.
I also like to eat sardine salad in the morning - as a super-breakfast!
An important note - None of these recipes are meant to be adopted as the sole daily meal for your cat. I am a strong believer in variety and individualization in feeding my animals. I don't believe in the commercial marketing that insists that cats and dogs are supposed to eat the same exact meal every single day of their lives. We humans certainly couldn't thrive eating in that manner and nor can our animals no matter how 'balanced' the meal might be according to some preset standard devised by the commercial pet food industry. So these recipes are meant to be used along with what you are feeding your cat now - mix it up and be creative. Nutritional balance is important but it should be considered a weekly goal using a variety of sources of nutrients to achieve.
And here's a recipe that is really cat-specific, although dogs would probably like it as well. The raw chicken hearts provide cats with a wonderful array of the amino acids they need for optimal health as well as other nutrients. If your cat turns up her nose at them raw, then try lightly sautéing them in a bit of butter just until they start to give off a chicken-y aroma. Cats that are used to eating cooked foods get a little de-sensitized to aromas and don't smell the more subtle aroma of raw meat as acutely as they naturally would. By lightly cooking the hearts you bring out the aroma for your cat, and then you can cook them a bit less each time you serve and get your cat back on track with appreciating raw meat aromas.
'Essentials' Dinner - Canned Salmon, Egg, and Chicken Hearts
1 can of canned wild pink Alaskan salmon
½ - 1 lb raw chicken hearts, chopped (can be lightly sautéed)
You can add 1-2 tbsp of cooked peas (optional - one of my cats adores peas!)
Put all three ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. ¼ cup would be an appropriate meal for a medium sized cat. Remember, grainless meals are concentrated nutrition. You won't have to feed as much bulk of food as you would a commercial kibble.
Scrambled Eggs with Broccoli
Dogs and many cats love steamed broccoli florets
6 dozen eggs
1/2 package frozen broccoli florets, heated, or about 1 cup of steamed, fresh broccoli florets
Dash of salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil to coat bottom of frying pan
Beat eggs well in a large bowl. Add cooked broccoli and salt and pepper and mix together gently. Heat olive oil in frying pan on medium low heat and add egg mixture. Keep stirring the mixture as it cooks, or you can leave it covered, on very low heat, to make an omelet. About 1/3 cup would make a good meal for most cats.
Lightly Cooked Livers with Sardines
3 cans of sardines
1 lb of chicken livers
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Heat olive oil in a sauté pan. Add livers and cook for about 15 minutes. Let cool, then chop into bite size pieces. Mix livers with sardines and serve. ¼ cup would be an appropriate meal for a medium sized cat. And be creative - you can add some raw chopped chicken hearts, an egg, or a sprinkle of fresh mild herbs to this meal if you want.
Soft-Boiled Eggs, Baked Carrots, and Ground Chicken
1 lb of raw ground chicken meat, preferably dark meat
3 soft-boiled eggs
2 tbsp butter or olive oil
1 tbsp bonemeal (human-grade)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wash and trim the carrots, place them in a small oiled or buttered baking dish. Bake for about 20 - 25 minutes until soft and lightly browned. Let cool and mush up with a fork. Peel and chop up soft-boiled eggs and mix with the raw ground chicken, bonemeal, and carrots. ¼ cup would be an appropriate meal for a medium sized cat.
Baked Veggies and Sautéd Chicken Thighs
2 lbs of boneless chicken thighs
Dash of olive oil
1 can sardines
1 small beet, 1 small sweet potato, and 1 small butternut squash
3 tbsp olive oil or butter
2 tbsp minced fresh herbs or 2 tbsp dried mixed herbs (can be rosemary, thyme, mint, sage, oregano, and/or marjoram, etc.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wash, peel, and cut up the vegetables into similarly sized pieces, about 1/2 inch in size. Place them in a small oiled or buttered baking dish, and toss them so oil/butter coats all pieces. Bake for about 20 - 25 minutes until they are soft and lightly browned. Let cool and mix in the minced herbs.
Rinse and cut chicken thighs into strips. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a sauté pan. Add chicken and cook a bit. You don't need to cook the chicken completely (as you would for serving humans); you can leave it on the rare side for cats and dogs.
Once cooked to your satisfaction, take chicken off heat and let cool down. Add the sardines and vegetables. If the chunkiness is too overwhelming for your cat, you can put all ingredients into a food processor and chop it up a bit. ¼ cup would be an appropriate meal for a medium sized cat.
Sardine and Beef with Celery and Cucumber
Some cats go nuts for cucumbers! Give this a try and see what your cat thinks! Cucumbers and celery have a nice array of minerals and phyto-nutrients and are detoxifying as well.
2 cans sardines
2 lb ground beef
½ cup puréed raw celery
½ cup puréed raw cucumber
1 tbsp bonemeal
1 tbsp alfalfa powder
2 tsp kelp and/or dulse
Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. ¼ cup would be an appropriate meal for a medium sized cat.
If you only add one special ingredient to your weekly meal plan - it should be Canned Pink Wild Alaskan Salmon.
Canned Pink Wild Alaskan Salmon is a simple and easy way to boost the level of healthiness in any meal! I make an attempt to feed my cats one tablespoon of canned salmon almost every day. And when I open the can, I indulge in a couple forkfuls myself each day as well. Most dry skin problems can be effectively addressed by eating some canned salmon daily. Canned salmon is high in well-preserved, naturally-formatted EPA and DHA (omega 3 essential fatty acids). You may see a lot of products advertising that they contain omega 3's, but in most cases, the omega 3's are either rancid or not in a format that we or our animals can metabolize effectively. I especially like to eat canned salmon in the morning as the high quality fats are great energizers. And as you are distributing salmon to your household - don't forget your dog either! Cats usually love salmon and consider it a real treat.
Usually one can lasts about 4 days in our household. That's my husband, me, our large dog, and two cats. Don't store left over salmon in the can - once cans are open and exposed to the air, the metal starts to oxidize. I usually separate the can into two glass bowls - one for the animals and one for the humans; you'll see skin and bones in the cans - although these are totally edible and are probably the most nutritious parts, I usually separate those parts out for the animals and save the more civilized pieces of meat for the humans... Try eating just two tablespoons of canned salmon in the morning before you start your day - it makes such a difference to energy levels and sugar cravings!