What can I use (temporarily) instead of commercially prepared wet cat food?

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

A few months ago, I was unable to visit the grocery store and buy wet food for my cat. Guilty as charged, I started to think about the alternatives.

But many questions popped in my mind. Will other foods be just as healthy? Will my cat eat it happily? And how much would it cost?

Here is what I found about alternatives to a commercial wet food for cats:

If you have run out of wet cat food, then don’t worry. You can make wet cat food for a few days that would be quite healthy. The food you prepare must have all the essential nutrients and should be palatable. Only then you can do justice to your cat without buying wet cat food for a few days. 

I’m sure you want to know more, as all the feline parents should know the alternatives, just in case. 

What should the alternative cat food be like? 

Before knowing the alternative cat foods, let me remind you of a fact; cats aren’t human. Yes, you can’t feed whatever you are eating. The nutritional demands of cats are way different.

The digestive system of cats works differently. They need some important nutrients (essential nutrients) from their diet that their bodies can’t synthesize. So, you have to feed them the alternative meal that has those essential nutrients. 

Human food might not contain all the essential nutrients that your cat needs. So, the food that you have to offer them as an alternate to the commercially prepared wet cat food must be:

1. Enriched with essential nutrients

Let’s talk about one specific essential nutrient that your cat needs on a daily basis. Taurine is an essential nutrient that is obtained only from animal protein. Many other animals can synthesize taurine from already present amino acids in their bodies. But cats are incapable of that. 

What if cats do not get taurine from their meals? Taurine is required for healthy eyesight, a healthy cardiac system, healthy pregnancy, and a strong immune system. So, if cats do not get taurine then they can suffer from loss of eyesight, heart problems, and fertilization problems. Your cat will also get sick more often. 

Although the deficiency of taurine cannot be predicted right away (because of no early symptoms) but the long-term effects are fatal. 

So, you have to make sure that what you are feeding to your cat contains taurine. If not, then continuous consumption of food deficient of taurine will cause many health issues. 

2. Palatable 

Imagine you have made a great healthy wet food for your cat, spending hours in the kitchen. And when it’s mealtime, your cat doesn’t even come near it! This can happen when your cat has always eaten commercially available wet food. Now she does not recognize this homemade food as a meal! 

What you can do is to prepare a sample food and offer this to your cat when she seems hungry. If still, she is not finding this food palatable, then you can add or subtract the ingredients. 

You can try eating your meal and see if your cat wants it. If yes, then prepare similar food for her with healthy ingredients. Put small amounts of herbs or spices just to give it the aroma. Do not feed cheese to your cat even if she asks for that. Cheese is not at all a healthy alternative cat food. 

So, the food that you prepare must be palatable. You can do different experiments to make your cat eat that alternative food happily. But be sure to add all the essential nutrients that your cat needs. 

Your cat might love homemade food instead of store bought, just like the one in the video!

Best temporary alternatives to wet food

If you don’t have any idea what to feed your cat except wet cat food, try this amazing Meow mix original dry cat food from chewy!

But if you want something home-made or made from scratch, you could try these options:

  • Chicken and rice: Boiled and shredded chicken with boiled rice is very healthy for your cat. But not all cats like the taste of boiled chicken and rice. So, you can add a bit of spice or herbs to it and give it a try. Boiled chicken contains essential nutrients that your cat needs. So, you can give it to her as a meal once a day. 
  • Eggs: Eggs are also very healthy for your cat. Scramble the eggs or boil them hard and then mash them. It’s better not to add seasonings but if your cat dislikes eggs then you can add a bit of flavor. Also, you can add some boiled chicken to it to give it some flavour as well.
  • Different proteins: Other than chicken, you can give your cat some fish and lean meat. Some people feed a lot of tuna to their cats which is not a healthy option. Canned Tuna contains traces of mercury so you should avoid it. Also, if your cat is not habitual of having beef then don’t give it to her now either. Your cat can get really sick.
  • Vegetables: Although cats don’t eat vegetables as a meal, vegetables do provide some essential nutrients to your cat. You can offer her boiled and mashed carrots, squash, cabbage, kale, and spinach. But you can offer vegetables only once in a while when you don’t have wet cat food and meat at home. 

Watch this video to know a few healthy homemade cat food you can prepare now!

What to do if your cat isn’t eating alternative wet food? 

Don’t freak out if your cat is not interested in alternative food. Just calm down and offer her the food after some time. If the cat is still not accepting the food then try giving her dry cat food. Dry cat food also contains essential nutrients but not as many as in wet cat food. So, don’t solely give them dry food. Figure out what your cat likes and then feed her that meal when she is hungry.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best homemade food for cats? 

A meal that has around 60% protein, 40% carbohydrates and fibers is considered healthy for cats. Don’t forget to add supplements if you want to give your cat nutritious food. 

What if I feed only wet food to my cat? 

Wet food is great for the cats as wet food has high moisture content. Water is essential for cats just like it’s essential for other living beings. 

Why is canned Tuna bad for cats? 

Canned Tuna contains traces of mercury. Although traces of mercury are not fatal but giving your cat a lot of canned Tuna fish is really dangerous. If your cat likes the canned tuna, you can try giving it fresh fish meat. Just boil the meat and remove all the bones. 

Can cats eat rice? 

Yes, cats can eat boiled rice. The rice shouldn’t be raw. You can add boiled and shredded chicken to the rice to make them even more nutritious. 

What can I feed my cat if I ran out of food? 

Cooked chicken, fish, lean meat, boiled rice, and a few vegetables are suitable for your cat. It also depends on your cat’s preference as cats don’t find everything palatable. Alternative food should be both nutritious and palatable.

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