Pork chunks Recipe
This recipe is for those kitties who like their meat cut up into chunks, as opposed to ground-up. It is better for cats as it gives their jaws a bit of a workout. Not as much as with raw meaty bones or whole prey but it's something. My cats prefer chunks to ground, so this is what I feed on non-whole prey days.
As stated in the other boneless recipe article, since different meats & organs have varying amounts of calcium and phosphorus, it is imperative that you first determine how much calcium and phosphorous there is in a given type of meat so that you can then calculate how much calcium to add to a lb of meat to attain the ideal Ca:Phos ratio (which ranges from 1.2 - 1.4Ca: 1Phos). We have Jules' wonderful handy-dandy Excel calculator available to forum members that does this very easily.
If you aren't a member, you can get the fat %, potassium, calcium, and phosphorous levels (plus a lot more) here for most meats, as this recipe is for pork tenderloin based on its composition:
Ideally one should also add organs, but they can be hard to source. Pork liver can often be found in Chinatown and at butcher shops. You would need to adjust ESP amount based on organ additions. I've kept this one simple to give people a jumping-off point.
- 1lb of pork tender loin
- 1 Tbsp (can go up to 2 if your cat is prone to constipation) steamed pureed veggies e.g. squash, zucchini, or home-grown oat/barley/rye/wheat grass from seeds or canned pumpkin
- 1682 mg calcium carbonate or 3/4 heaping teaspoon of eggshell powder (ESP) assuming ~2000 mg elemental Ca per tsp ESP or or a bit less than 1.5 tsp of bone meal powder
- 1-2 egg yolks (this will also take care of iodine and Vit D to some extent); if you have long-haired cats, I'd go with 2 because the lecithin in yolk helps with hairballs. Optional - can add in lightly cooked white of same eggs if your cats like the taste.
- 1/8 capsule of Thorne B-Complex Formula #12 (least stinky cat-safe one on the market) OR 1/16 capsule of Jarrow B-Right "Low Odor" (be watchful for nausea)
- Carlson/NOW/Source Naturals Taurine powder, or any capsule brand - at least 1,000mg, even 1,500mg if you want
- Vitamin E - 2 400IU; GNC Natural E 400 100% natural D-alpha capsules (note: no other GNC E is soy-free, just this one) OR Dr. Ron's Unique E OR Carlson Laboratories d-alpha Gems OR Natural Factors Clear Base E. These are the only 4 products forum members have been able to verify are soy-free (this caution includes similar products from even these brands).
- 1/2 tablespoon unflavored Gelatin or collagen powder as a proxy for cartilage
- 1/2 teaspoon Dulse (has lower iodine levels than Kelp) to provide trace minerals and support thyroid function
- Home-made meat broth or water as needed to make it easy to mix e.g. 2-3 oz, want to keep it a bit sticky to ground meat adheres to the chunks
- Vit A - 2000 IU & Vit D - 200 IU OR Cod Liver oil in lieu of Vits A and D e.g. Nordic Naturals brand soft gel or liquid (doesn't quite match up to A & D but we have to work with the brands out there so..) Vit A is to adjust for liver not being a part of this recipe; if using pork liver and 2 egg yolks both A and D can be skipped
- 1-2 Tablespoons of animal fat (since pork can be quite a bit lower in fat - anywhere from 8 to 17% fat - compared to a mouse e.g. from duck, beef, or pork trimmings or ghee made from cow/buffalo milk
- *Omega-3 - at feeding time
*I personally prefer to add NOW Krill oil or a combination of anchovy, sardine, and salmon oil. Brands depend on feline bosses' preference, which currently are limited to Nordic Naturals & Carlson's. I add these at feeding time not into the mix because although there's no credible data, I'd rather not take a chance of oxidation.
I have the same concern regarding oxidation with liquid Omega-3, so I tend to avoid them altogether unless I'm feeding a large colony of cats, and know I will use up a bottle in less than a week.
So 1 meal a day, I split either 1 500mg NOW Krill oil or 1,000mg wild salmon oil containing at least 400DHA and 300EPA among my 4 cats.
- Run about 10 or so chunks through a regular food processor, or strong blender, no need for meat grinder. Leave rest of chunks as-is. If using a larger amount of meat than 1lb, grind about 5% of the meat (in ounces) e.g. for 5lbs of muscle meat, grind 4oz leaving 4lb 12oz in chunk form.
- Mix all ingredients together including ground meat & veg/grass as well as cut-up chunks
- Portion out into small glass jars.
Practical and General Notes:
How much to feed?
It's very nutritionally dense with a high satiety rate, so a little bit really satisfies them. Start with just 1 tsp of this either by itself as a snack or mixed into current food.
If your cats like it, you can feed the same amount in weight in ounces as with ground i.e. 2.5% of body weight. Because of the chunks, this can figure out to about 2 Tablespoons per meal. Will vary based on how big the chunks are.
What if my cats don't like the mix?
If they won't accept the chunks, add a topping such a Hormel real bacon bits or grated sharp cheddar or anything they like e.g. crushed-up dried liver. More ideas here on our "no-snub" and "bribe" areas of the site.
Cats are rarely allergic to it whereas with chicken, turkey, lamb, and beef puking and/or skin/ear itching reactions are much more likely.
Cats tend to like the taste, so transitioning isn't as big a barrier whereas many cats don't like the taste of chicken or find game meats too..well, gamey
Pork is quite easy to find especially muscle meat e.g. Costco sells it for around $2/lb. Needless to say, as with all meats, ideal is to get pasture-fed organic meat, so same would be the case for pork. Do the best you can. Eatwild.com is a good resource
It's fatty acid profile is quite close to a mouse's. Yes, I am crazy enough to have compared all the #s, and they were better than most other meats.
Pork these days is quite lean, so depending on your cats' needs, you can add additional fat if you like in the form or any animal fat or ghee. I don't because I provide my cats with a lot of variety. You can use this recipe with any meat if you'd rather not use pork.
What about using a cut with bones?
Absolutely! Real bones are always superior to any proxy we can come up with. The mix can most definitely be prepared using cuts of meat with bone too.
If you do this, you will need to adjust for the lower calcium content compared to phosphorous e.g. turkey breast with bone has a 9% bone ratio, which would need at the very least additional eggshell powder (ESP). Turkey legs with bone is around 17% bone ratio as per USDA, so in that case no ESP would be needed.
Is it hard to cut up chunks?
No, meat is quite easy to slice through, so you will not need a special cleaver. If you happen to have a meat grinder, you might be able to purchase a pie-shaped attachment (thanks go out to one of our members - Evita - for this tip:) which will make your life a lot easier as you can get it to chunk meat for you without having to do it by hand.
What size chunks?
If your cats are new to raw, you can start with smaller boneless chunks which require minimal chewing. Chances are, once they taste it, they'll like it enough to stick with it and you can move on to bigger sized chunks. Start with a kibble-size bit then up the size as you go to larger cubes.
Can I vary the amount of ground meat if I my cats balk?
The idea here is to mix in just enough ground meat with supplements to be able to make it all cohesive - chunks, ground, broth, supplements etc,. Our Trikki Maharaja typically goes for the chunks and the ground comes along with it so thanks to him I've experimented with this recipe in order to use the bare minimum ground meat i.e. just enough to have it all well mixed in. Please feel free to experiment based on your cats' tastes. With cats not used to chunks, you can use a greater ratio of ground to chunks.
ESP or bonemeal?
For some additional information on this, here's what I have on ESP and bonemeal. Ultimately you have to be the one who decides based on your comfort level whether bone meal makes more sense or ESP.
If you decide to go with eggshell powder (ESP), grind it as finely as you can so it practically disappears once mixed. Some grit will never go away but as long as it clings to the meat, you're covered.
Do I have to feed ground or chunks?
No, just providing more options since not all cats eat whole prey. Once your cats are used to meat only, you can move on to manageable sized bone-in chunks e.g. cut-up smaller (preferably also lighter) bones like larger quail, game hen pieces including necks, or smaller and lighter bones like day-old chicks, mice, etc. This recipe is good for cats who either do not like ground meat and will not eat whole prey/RMBs or those who simply like the consistency of chunks better. Bon Appetit!