Q:When I try to feed standard cat food to my cat, Henrietta (Henny), she either refuses it or gets sick. So I cook chicken and fish for her.
My veterinarian says that’s not a balanced diet and advises me to keep trying different commercial foods. I think that will prove unsuccessful, and besides, I like cooking for Henny. What do you suggest?
A:Home-cooked dietary deficiencies are common and problematical. For example, most such diets are low in taurine, which causes two serious problems in cats: cardiomyopathy leading to heart failure, and retinal degeneration, which results in blindness.
You may continue cooking for Henny, provided that you have a board-certified veterinary nutritionist balance her diet. There are many ways to find a veterinary nutritionist:
Ask your veterinarian to refer you to one at a nearby veterinary school or specialty hospital.
Visit the website of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition and search the directory.
The above web-based services will allow you to choose diets that contain chicken or fish, and the veterinary nutritionist will balance them with supplements or additional foods.
Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine in Pennsylvania. Contact her at email@example.com.