I belief the following information is very appropriate and will give people alternatives, although some may think that home-canning meat for your cat is a bit extreme. Maybe this is not useful for everyone, especially in these “modern” times, but the skills of self-reliance are very useful even today. Personally I find it very rewarding that my family does not depend on the store for everything.

When choosing to make your cat’s food yourself, what to do when traveling with the cat, if the cat stays behind with a sitter, or in times of emergencies or power-out?

Stocking up on a supply of commercially available canned or dry cat foods in one option, but not every raw-feeding enthusiast thinks this is appealing, after having become accustomed to the quality and peace of mind of homemade cat food. I think your new lifestyle should not leave you in a bind in situations when fresh food is not an option, and emergency situations don’t need to be compounded by having to fall back on pet foods you have chosen to turned away from.

On this page I will show you how to can home-can fresh meat to use later in making cat food using one of my premix formulas for situations when refrigeration is not an option. Home-canned meat has also proven itself as the ideal and nearly fail-safe start to get your cat transitioned to a home-made cat food, and eventually to a raw meat cat food. A good supply of canned meat will see you and your cat through situations like:

  • your friend or pet sitter is not comfortable with feeding raw while you are away.
  • you are on the road with your cat, and frozen food is not an option.
  • you are preparing a disaster evacuation kit.
  • the power goes out at home, and you have no means of refrigerating food.
  • your cat is ill and requires more flavorful food as an enticement to eat.
  • your cat simply won’t eat the food when prepared with raw meat.
  • you are not comfortable using raw meat to prepare your cat’s food.

Use the home-canned meat to mix daily portions of cat food, using one of my raw diet premixs of your choice. Except on occasion or in emergencies, do not feed meat – raw, cooked, or canned – without the addition of the premix. The premix is designed to balance meat as a food for cats, supplying essential nutrients without which your cat will most definitely become ill and deficient in time.

I advocate the feeding of raw meat as the ultimate choice for your cat, but wholeheartedly support the notion that a homemade cat food using cooked or canned meat is a definite step in the right direction and much better than commercial pet foods. However, cat owners should take note that heat processing does denature the meat, and nutrients will be lost during cooking or canning. While the premix will replenish some of them, the beneficial fats in meat will be lost.

The following instructions have been compiled based on the specifications provided by the “National Center for Home Food Preservation”.

Before we proceed with the actual steps of canning meat, some important points:

• There are no safe options for canning ANY meats in a boiling water canner.
You must use a pressure canner.

• Please read these helpful links if you are not familiar with a pressure canner and home preserving foods:
Using Pressure Canners – National Center for Home Food Preservation
Principles of Home Canning – US Department of Agriculture

• Salt is added to foods during home preserving as flavor only. It is not added as a preservative.
DO NOT ADD SALT WHEN CANNING MEAT FOR YOUR CAT.

• Choose quality, fresh, chilled meats. Any meats you usually use to make your cat food can be used for canning. Remove excess fat from meat. Use meats WITHOUT bones for this recipe. If you wish to can fish as a treat for your cat, bones do not need to be removed.

• A pressure canner is a useful tool to own for preserving a variety of foods for your whole family. Once you are familiar with its use, a pressure canner can help you be more self-reliant.

Step-by-step instructions for canning ground meat or meat chunks using a pressure canner and the “raw pack” method:

Canning Cat Food pic 1 STEP 1– Use 250ml (8oz.) or 500ml (pint) canning jars. Do NOT use bigger jars. Wash jars, bands, and lids in hot, soapy water. Rinse well. Or run your jars through the hot cycle in your dishwasher.
Canning Cat Food pic 2 STEP 2 – Place lids in saucepan; cover with hot water. Heat to barely simmer over low heat to soften rubber seal. Keep warm. Do not boil.
Canning Cat Food pic 3 STEP 3 – Have plain meat, ground or chunked, ready and pack  cold into jars. Avoid leaving air pockets as best as possible. Leave 1 inch (3 cm) space at top.
Canning Cat Food pic 4 STEP 4 – Wipe rim of jars with clean cloth. Slightly moist cloth works best. Food or meat residue left on rim will inhibit proper seal of lid.
Canning Cat Food pic 5 STEP 5 – Place warm lids on jars and tighten band one jar at the time. Tighten bands “finger tight”. Do not over tighten.
Canning Cat Food pic 6 STEP 6 – Place sealed jars on trivet in pressure cooker. Follow pressure-cooker manufacturer’s directions for number of jars and amount of water to add to cooker. In the cooker shown, we stacked 24 jars on 2 levels.
Canning Cat Food pic 7

STEP 7 – Seal pressure-cooker and heat until 11 lb. pressure is reached, then begin timing. Process for 1 ¼ hours (75 min.) at recommended pressure. See chart below for specific pressure recommendations based on your altitude. Processing time remains the same.

0 – 2,000 ft. ……………..11 lb.

2,001 – 4,000 ft. ……….12 lb.

6,001 – 8,000 ft. ……….13 lb.

6,001 – 8,000 ft. ……….14 lb.

Canning Cat Food pic 8
STEP 8 – When processing time is up, turn stove off and allow pressure in the cooker to drop naturally (or leave until next day). When pressure has dropped completely, open cooker and remove jars. Place in a draft-free place for 12 hours. Do not tip jars. Check every jar to make sure lid has sealed properly (Lid will be concave and will not give if pushed down on). Refrigerate any jars that have not sealed properly and use within 3 days.

 

Canning Cat Food pic 9 STEP 9 – Store jars in a dark, cool place; use within one year.