Sunday, December 30, 2018

"Caged-In Kitchen" and Home Cooked Pet Food Update


Ever since I started the pets on a home cooked diet, my gosh the cats are driving me batty. They jump on the counters, try to open cupboards, knock down dishes, knock down food and even rummage through the garbage. I even found Oscar up on the hood of the oven while the oven was on. That was the last straw.

I tried EVERY suggestion given to me and ones I found online about trying to keep cats off counters. None of them worked. It's almost as though the cats tried even harder to trick me. I felt like a prison warden at one point, keeping guard so I could catch them in the act.

Who needs that stress? I put my foot down! I caged in the kitchen! "Caged-In Kitchen"- How often do you see THAT on a real estate listing??? :)

The tiny little kitchen in our rental has two doorways and one open area over the breakfast bar. I bought some very cheap 10x2 pine at the lumber yard and used leftover chicken wire to build the "cage". The entire project cost less than $30. This is the barricade over the breakfast bar. It just hangs off of hooks and I can remove it for suppertime.

These are the two "screen" doors. They fit perfectly and hang very well if I do say so myself! I did this yesterday, it took me about 7 hours but now I can sleep better knowing that my kitchen won't be destroyed when I wake up in the morning. If this were my home, I would have painted the doors and made them a little fancier I think. But this is a perfect temporary solution.

Home Cooked Pet Food Update

I started the three dogs and three cats on home cooked food in August. Through trial and error I believe I can finally say I've got it right. :)

The dogs now get only slow cooked pork and a mix of carrots and beans. Charlie and Jack were having bouts of vomiting now and then and I read a tip online that it could be due to the starch in the diet, i.e. the rice. Ever since I cut the rice out, no more vomiting, go figure.

Tip: If you want to feed your pets a home cooked diet, TALK TO YOUR BUTCHER!!! We go through about 100 pounds of meat each month. I talked to the butcher at our local grocery store and she gave me an AMAZING price on top sirloin pork - hardly any fat on it. I just call her a few days before I need my order, she preps it and I pick it up. Easy peasy and very economical!!

Marlene was losing a lot of hair. I thought she was shedding, because she normally does this time of year, but it lasted a long time, so I added some coconut oil to her food and her coat is back to normal.

The cats only eat pork with some taurine supplement and a multi-vitamin Kelp powder (the dogs get the Kelp too). Dana and Leo the cats are doing so well on the new food - no issues at all. Oscar can't eat the pork, we found out he was allergic to it, so he eats chicken breast. He still has some issues but we have really cut down his allergy meds. We found out that he is allergic to many things during the last few months: pork, eggs, coconut oil, rice...the list goes on.

Overall it was a bit of a learning curve to figure out portions, allergens and supplements. But all of the pets are doing so well on the home cooked food, I'm so pleased!!


  1. Well, you've certainly won this round of the War with the Counter Cats! That's the funniest thing I've ever seen but I understand its necessity. Cats delight in disobedience.

  2. Dear Rain, I am so impressed with your eating plan (and your carpentry skills!) Marlene's coat now looks very beautiful. I think commercial animal food is packed with fillers of little or even negative nutritional value, so you are doing a great job in caring for all your four legs. My mother used to buy things like cow heart for our dogs and had it bubbling away on the stove top like something from a wishes cauldron!

  3. Hello Rain! So...were the cats trying to find the food, or just being typical nosy cats? Ingenious remedy! Whole new perspective on herding cats!

  4. Caged kitchen! Brilliant!

    Here... Not construction troubles...My husband's health...

    Wisps of Words.... ✨

  5. You are an amazing pet owner. You are the second person I know to make their own dog/cat food. My daughter makes 'puppy soup' for a suppliment to her dogs' diet. I will tell her about talking to a butcher to see if she can get discounts on some of her ingredients. Thanks for that tip. Your caged in kitchen is ingenious. Very clever way to add a bit of peace of mind to your nights. Happy New Year to you and Alex!

  6. Your cats are gorgeous, and your solution to them climbing on your counters and using the kitchen as their playground is pretty genius, Rain. What an informative post. One of these days I hope to have a cat again. We were fortunate, when we had a cat, for some reason she did not get on the counters (that I ever saw). That is the only thing that makes me take pause about having a cat again. I suspect we were just very lucky with that one.

    Happy New Year, Rain! To you and Alex, and all your lovely pets.

  7. Rain - 1, Cats - 0 LOL You have won the battle with the cats and that is a big accomplishment. They do not give up easily! I bet they're having secret meetings while you sleep on how they can get past this :)

  8. Rain,

    I made home-made baby food for our kids. This was a ton more economical and I knew precisely what my baby was eating!

    You're a multi-talented gal. You're a real Jackie-of-all-trades! ;)

    Here's to the best new year yet, dear friend!! XO

  9. Ha ha! I was looking for more taller gates to keep the dogs out, but thankful daughter took them with her. They were the food sharks vs. the cat.

  10. I love the first pictures. They know they are guilty.

  11. Great that you have come up with a way to have a pet free kitchen! Coco loves Coconut oil. She weighs bout 22 lbs. and doesn't need to gain any weight so I don't know how much to give her. Nancy

  12. Love the caged in kitchen!

    And yup. Fat is a pretty essential diet component. Its essential for healthy skin and fur/hair, and there's alot of essential nutrients that the body absorbs better with some fat. One of the biggest things I see when people start a home made diet (cooked or raw) is that they try to eliminate as much fat as possible. But unless your dog has a health problem that can cause more problems. You might try not trimming your meats as much. And/or adding the coconut oil into the diet of hte other dogs. Some dogs are more sensitive to fat quantities than others, so go slow, but they likely need some too, they just haven't shown it yet.

  13. Thanks Friends :)

    The kitchen set up is working SO WELL. I love it!

  14. You are such a great mom! You did an amazing job with the cages! LOL! That is brilliant! And, I am so happy about the food! Really enjoyed the pictures! Big Hugs!

  15. I am so jealous of your caged in kitchen. Dogs cats little people ... I wanna keep them all
    Congrats on your success !!!

  16. Oh wow, that's some ingenuity there to keep your kitchen straight. That reminds me of when one of my besties had all of these wooden gates made to keep her toddler from going down the stairs and I forget where else.

  17. You are a trooper and so patient with your animals. Glad the home made food is working out well with the fur babies. They all look really healthy!
    Love your solution to the cat problem and with screens the air can still circulate. Good job!


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