Evaluation of the nutritional adequacy of recipes for home-prepared maintenance diets for cats

Sarah A. Wilson, Cecilia Villaverde, Andrea J Fascetti, Jennifer A Larsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate home-prepared maintenance diet (HPMD) recipes for cats and compare the nutritional profiles with National Research Council (NRC) recommended allowances (RAs) for essential nutrients for adult cats. DESIGN: Evaluation study. SAMPLE: 114 recipes (obtained from books and online sources) for HPMDs for cats. PROCEDURES: Computer software was used to determine nutrient concentrations of HPMD recipes for comparison with NRC RAs for essential nutrients for adult cats. Effects of recipe authorship (veterinarian vs nonveterinarian) and supplementation on the number of nutrient concentrations below RAs were evaluated. RESULTS: Of the 114 HPMD recipes, 113 contained vague instructions regarding preparation, and 46 did not provide feeding directions. Only 94 recipes provided adequately detailed information for computerized nutritional analysis, although most (93/94) still required assumptions regarding ingredients, preparation, or supplementation. Nonveterinarian-authored recipes and recipes without supplement-type products had more nutrient concentrations below NRC RAs, but no recipe met all RAs. With assumptions, 5 veterinarian-authored recipes met NRC RAs for all assessed nutrients except choline; however, taurine adequacy in 2 of those recipes could not be confirmed. Crude protein concentration was below the RA in 6 of 94 (6.4%) recipes. Nutrients most frequently below RAs included choline, iron, thiamine, zinc, manganese, vitamin E, and copper (in 89.7%, 76.6%, 62.8%, 61.7%, 57.4%, 57.4%, and 45.7% of recipes, respectively). CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Problems with nutritional adequacy were identified in all evaluated HPMD recipes. Appropriate formulation of HPMDs requires specialized knowledge of nutrition and use of computer software to avoid potentially harmful nutrient deficiencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1172-1179
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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