A bone meal refers to raw or cooked finely ground bone powder given to cats and other animals as a dietary supplement. This meal is a great source of not only calcium but also other nutrients including phosphorous.
If you love homemade cat foods especially boneless meats, your pet may be a deficiency of calcium since these diets do not contain enough amounts.
To avoid a deficiency, you can make a bone meal at home or buy it from a pet store. However, do not give your pets those intended to be used as fertilizers as they are poisonous to these pets.
Why go for it?
It is a source of nutrients that meat has excluding proteins and fats. Also, it is a great source of phosphorous and calcium especially the hydroxyapatite or calcium phosphate.
Secondly, when compared to other calcium supplements for cats, also recommend it since it mimics this pet’s natural diet such as rats and mice.
Firstly, when compared to eggshell powder for cats, calcium carbonate among other calcium supplements, it presents a challenge of ensuring correct calcium to phosphorous ratio since it also contains phosphorous, i.e., the correct amounts to add to cat food are difficult to determine.
This presents the possibility of a wrong ratio as well as giving these pets both high amounts of these two vital minerals. High amounts are not so good, especially for older cats.
Secondly, there is a possibility of contamination by heavy metal especially if the source of bones is from old animals as well as infectious prions such as those causing Mad Cow Disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy).
Homemade bone meal for cat food
If you have the right tool for pulverizing them, making your own at home is an easy activity. Going for beef ribs or bones from rabbit or chicken may make grinding easier.
Once you are done making your meat broth or stock, get rid of all meat and dry them at temperatures of about 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
The drying duration will depend on which animal and part of the bone. For example, those form bird’s wing may dry faster than those from thighs.
You can also dry them naturally on areas where your pets or any other animal cannot access. This may take up to a week before they dry completely.
Once they are dry, they will tend to be brittle. Afterward, pulverize them to powder using a coffee grinder or a Vita-Mix.
Some disadvantages of the homemade one are that it may have a shorter shelf-life when compared to commercial brands as well as the inability to know what amounts will be enough.
Finally, to know the right amount to add to your diets, you should consider discussing the issue with your vet. Let your vet also know the kinds of foods you give these pets beforehand.
Commercial bone meal supplement for cats
Instead of making your own, you for the Bone Meal Steamed Powder for Dogs and Cats made by UPCO and Now Bone Meal available on amazon.com or any other brand, especially if approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for those in the US or relevant regulatory bodies elsewhere.
Most of these commercial ones are well balanced in their content of phosphorous and calcium. However, since different brands have different amounts of these vital minerals, follow instructions of the manufacturer’s when feeding them to your cat.
The freeze-dried bone – microcrystalline hydroxyapatite (MCHA)
Also, you can also opt for the Whole Bone Extract or microcrystalline hydroxyapatite MCHA which is a ground “freeze-dried bone, usually from New Zealand. It’s the highest quality bone replacement because it is uncooked,” notes Healthy Pets.
New Zealand has superior herd feeding standards even when compared to those of countries like the United States of America.
The advantage of MCHA is that most nutrients are still intact and in their natural balance like a raw bone. Try brands such as Pure Encapsulations – Calcium MCHA.