As food prices spike due to inflation, you may find yourself seeking ways to stretch your treat-buying budget for everyone in the home, including your cat. But, you don’t want to sacrifice quality nutrition. Consider a low-cost, high-in-nutrition solution: bone broth.
“Bone broth is a nutrient-dense, beneficial treat that is rich in collagen, gelatin, glucosamine, glutamine, chondroitin, sulfate, magnesium and other trace minerals,” says Johnna Devereaux, a certified clinical pet nutritionist and director of nutrition and wellness at Bow Wow Labs, Inc., in Novato, California.
When you slow cook those bones, collagen and cartilage are boiled down, releasing nutrients that deliver anti-inflammatory benefits and help joints stay strong.
Bone broth offers these benefits for your cat:
- Boosts the immune system
- Aids in digestion
- Bolsters the flavor in kibble to entice a finicky feline to eat
- Supports the musculoskeletal system
- Offers a yummy way for a cat to stay hydrated
Keep cats hydrated
Cats tend to drink less water pound for pound than dogs do. However, they still need tasty and healthy liquid sources to stay hydrated.
“An average 10-pound domestic shorthair, indoor cat will typically need to drink 7 to 10 ounces of water per day to keep their skin and organs well-hydrated,” notes Dr. Ernie Ward, America’s Pet Advocate and member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners’ cat-friendly practice advisory board.
So, what’s the solution? Step up the water source by treating them to beef bone broth. The smell of the meat juice may lure your cat to drink up.
Or, the next time you want to offer a special treat to your felines by boiling a chicken on the stove, stretch that poultry power. Don’t dump that flavored water down the drain. Instead, use it as a yummy liquid treat for your cats.
That’s what renowned animal trainer Samantha Martin does as she travels the country with her Amazing Acro-cats. Samantha uses flavor-filled treats and foods as motivators to get her two dozen cats and kittens to ring bells, jump through hoops, leap over hurdles and weave in and out of her legs on stage in front of sold-out audiences.
“We boil chicken breast in water for treats,” says Samantha, who is based in Atlanta. “We give them the excess water to drink afterward, and they love it! This chicken water gives them extra hydration and nutrition.”
Bone broth do’s and don’ts
While many cats enjoy flavored water, including tuna juice-induced or chicken broth, enhancing the flavor g through added salt or onions is bad for their health, cautions Dr. Elizabeth Bales, author and inventor of The Indoor Hunting Feeder for cats.
Remember, you are boiling the broth for your cat, not for your own taste buds. Salt can cause dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea and even seizures in some pets, Dr. Bales advises. Onions are toxic to cats in any form. Check for these ingredients in store-bought broth, too.
Two safe and healthy seasonings you can add to the broth are turmeric and black pepper.
“Turmeric is rich in the plant polyphenol curcumin, a powerful antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation in the body,” Johnna says. “I include turmeric, along with black pepper (rich in the alkaloid piperine) because students have found that piperine enhances the benefits of curcumin and can increase the body’s absorption by up to 2,000%.”
Talk with your veterinarian before you begin adding bone broth to your cat’s meals if your feline is dealing with any chronic stomach issues or serious health conditions.
Bone (broth) appetite, kitties!
Powerhouse Bone Broth Recipe
Certified clinical nutritionist Johnna Devereaux shares her favorite bone broth recipe that is safe and healthy to give to your cats and dogs.
- Raw bones (beef or lamb)
- 4 teaspoons of turmeric
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar
- Spring or filtered water
- In a slow cooker, add all the ingredients and fill to the top with spring or filtered water.
- Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook for 39 hours.
- Discard the bones. Allow the broth to cool before serving to your pets.
- Store the rest of the bone broth in sealed containers or mason jars in the refrigerator (seven days) or in freezer-safe containers (six months).
Suggested serving size:
Provide 1 ounce per 10 pounds of your pet’s weight.
So, a 10-pound cat would receive 1 ounce and a 40-pound dog would receive 4 ounces of bone broth.
Bone broths for cats
Bone broths for dogs and cats is a growing market. Check out the latest bone broths available especially for kitty.
Made by Nacho Bone Broth Toppers; $2.99.
Kittyrade Isotonic Drink; $17.95 for 3-pack.
Caru Grass-Fed Beef Bone Broth; $11.99.