Dear Christopher Cat: When I try to feed standard cat food to my cat, Henrietta (Henny), she either refuses it or gets sick. So I cook chicken and fish for her.
My veterinarian says that’s not a balanced diet and advises me to keep trying different commercial foods. I think that will prove unsuccessful, and besides, I like cooking for Henny. What do you suggest?
Christopher Responds: Home-cooked dietary deficiencies are common and problematical. For example, most such diets are low in taurine, which causes two serious problems in cats: cardiomyopathy leading to heart failure, and retinal degeneration, which results in blindness.
You may continue cooking for Henny, provided that you have a board-certified veterinary nutritionist balance her diet. There are many ways to accomplish this.
You can ask your veterinarian to refer you to a veterinary nutritionist at a nearby veterinary school or specialty hospital. Or visit acvn.org/directory, the website of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition.
Another option is to use a commercial web-based service run by veterinary nutritionists, such as BalanceIt.com or PetDiets.com.
You’ll be able to choose diets that contain chicken or fish, and the veterinary nutritionist will balance them with supplements or additional foods.