More and more pet owners are investigating the concept of creating home-cooked foods for their pets rather than buying commercial foods. Sometimes this is due to a pet's ongoing illness although often it's because of concerns about the quality of commercial foods. No matter what the reason, cat owners can create their pet's food and do so safely. In addition, even the most finicky feline will enjoy home-cooked meals! Cats are natural carnivores; which means they must have meat in their diet daily. Not only does the meat provide the proteins and fats cats need, but it also supplies the essential amino acids required for correct digestion of the foods they eat and other bodily processes. Although most homemade cat food recipes contain some carbohydrates (primarily to add vitamins, minerals and fiber to the diet) cats don't have a nutritional need for carbohydrates. When cooking for your cat, the recipe should be at least 80 percent animal protein, no more than 15 percent vegetables, and no more than 5 percent grains and other foods. Make sure you cook the meats thoroughly. Although raw food diets are becoming more popular, those have their own protocols for safety. The vegetables and grains you add to your cat's meals should also be cooked; steaming them is fine. By cooking the vegetables, the cell walls are broken and the food is therefore more digestible. Chicken and Tuna Delight This recipe makes one day's food supply (about 450 calories) for an average, indoor, 10 to 12 pound cat. 2/3 cup chicken, raw, deboned 1 - three ounce can of tuna in oil 1 chicken egg, small, hard-boiled, shell removed 2 tablespoons oatmeal, cooked (leftover from breakfast is fine) 2 tablespoons wheat grass 1. Steam or bake the chicken until done yet still tender. Cut or shred the meat into very small; bite-sized for your cat 2. While the chicken is cooking, break up the hard-boiled egg into a small bowl. Crumble it well. 3. Cut the wheat grass into small pieces and place on a paper plate or microwave safe plate. Cover with a damp paper towel and microwave for 10 seconds. (If you don't have a microwave, dip the wheat grass into boiling water for about five seconds then remove.) 4. Combine cooked chicken, tuna and the oil from the can, oatmeal and grass in the bowl with the crumbled egg. Mix well. 5. Divide into two, three, four, or five meals (depending upon how many your cat is used to eating each day) and refrigerate the meals not being served immediately. Suggested daily supplements should include: A good quality, natural vitamin and mineral supplement. A 250 to 500 mg taurine supplement. A bone meal supplement; either natural bone meal, finely ground egg shells, or a calcium lactate supplement. Supplements should be added as the food is served. Variations (unless otherwise noted, use the same amounts as for the ingredients being replaced): * If you have access to quail eggs, add two to three hard-boiled quail eggs (no shells) instead of one chicken egg. * Or hard-boil a duck, goose or turkey egg (no shells) and just use half of the egg in each day's recipe. * Instead of wheat grass, you can use any grass grown indoors for your cat, including oat grass, millet or bluegrass. Do NOT use sorghum or Sudan grass, as both are poisonous to cats. * Substitute turkey for chicken. * Substitute salmon for tuna. This food will remain good in the refrigerator for two to three days. Liz Palikahas written seven books on pet foods and nutrition. Her book, "The Ultimate Cat Treat Cookbook" (Wiley, 2005) contains many healthy recipes for cat treats. Her newest book on pet foods, "The Ultimate Pet Food Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Feeding Your Dog and Cat" (Avalon Books) is due out in January 2008.