I’ve been busy again in the kitchen lately experimenting with recipes for healthy cat treats, and I have a recipe to share with you which is just NEXT LEVEL cat treat goodness! These homemade cat treats with pumpkin and turkey are made from just 3 ingredients, require NO baking, are grain free, and packed full of nutritious goodness for your beautiful kitties.
If you’ve got leftover Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey to use up, or a Halloween pumpkin that is still fresh and you don’t want to see go to waste, this recipe is a dream for using up leftovers. What better way to share the holiday cheer with your kitty than making them these delicious and healthy treats for cats?
Scroll down for the recipe, or if you’d like to join me in getting excited about the three wonder-ingredients in our healthy cat snacks, let me tell you a little bit more about them.
If you’ve ever wondered whether cats can eat pumpkin the answer is a resounding yes! Not only can cats eat pumpkin, but it’s actually a fantastically nutritious and healthy ingredient that many cats enjoy eating. It’s high in fibre which can help your kitty feel full – very handy if your little floof likes to complain about their rumbling belly between mealtimes! It’s also packed full of vitamins A and C which help support immune system health, and zinc which is great for the health of your cat’s skin and fur (although if your cat has a well-balanced diet they shouldn’t be deficient in these nutrients).
Our carnivorous kitties thrive on meat, and cooked plain turkey is a great low-fat source of protein for your cat. Just take care to remove any bones before using and remember that non-organ meats like turkey breast or leg aren’t a complete diet for your cat, so don’t go wild and make these your cat’s only food source (I know you wouldn’t!)
I LOVE using gelatin in cat treats, and not just because it’s handy for binding ingredients together. It is derived from super nutritious bone broth and is 99% protein. It contains almost all of the essential amino acids that cats require, including chondroitin and glucosamine that can reduce inflammation and enhance joint health!
You’ll be able to find gelatin in your local grocery store or supermarket in the baking aisle – just make sure you get plain gelatin rather than flavoured and sweetened jello!
No Bake Homemade Cat Treats With Pumpkin & Turkey Recipe
200g / 7oz cooked drained pumpkin or canned pumpkin, no added salt or sugar
75g / 2.5oz cooked turkey or chicken, bones and skin removed
Enough gelatin powder or gelatin leaf to set 100ml / 3 fl oz of liquid (strengths vary, check your gelatin packet for the quantity you will need to use)
1. If using freshly cooked pumpkin, mash your pumpkin with the back of a fork until it forms a pulp. If you’re using canned pumpkin, you can skip this step!
2. Place your cooked pumpkin pulp into the centre of a muslin cheesecloth (or a tea towel), and squeeze over a bowl to extract as much of the liquid as you can, reserving both the strained pumpkin and the liquid that you extract. If your cat is anything like mine, this is approximately the time that they’ll start getting very interested in what’s happening in the kitchen!
3. Have a read of the packet instructions for your gelatin leaf or powder. Some types of gelatin require ‘blooming’ – which means soaking in some liquid for about 5 minutes before using. If yours is one of these, follow the packet instructions to bloom your gelatin but use your extracted pumpkin juice instead of the recommended water.
4. Place your cooked, bone and skin-free turkey meat into the bowl of a small blender and blitz until it forms fine crumbs.
5. Take a small saucepan and combine your turkey ‘crumbs’, pumpkin pulp and gelatin. Place on the hob and heat very gently, adding as much of your extracted pumpkin juice to stop the mixture from getting too dry and sticking – aim for toothpaste consistency or thicker. Don’t boil the mix as this can affect the gelatin’s ability to set properly.
6. Once the gelatin has melted completely into the mix, remove from the heat immediately.
7. Leave to cool in the saucepan for 10 minutes or so, until the mix is cool enough to handle. While you wait, prepare a tray or baking sheet with tin foil or greaseproof paper.
8. Once the mix has cooled a little, take small pea-sized amounts of the mix and roll very gently between your fingers to fashion a small ball. The mix will be sticky and soft, but if it is too difficult to handle, leave to cool for a little longer before trying again.
9. Place each ball on your prepared baking sheet or tray as you go. Once all of your mix is used up, place the sheet or tray into the fridge to set. Setting times will depend on your particular brand of gelatin, but for most it is around 8-24 hours.
10. Once fully set, decant your turkey and pumpkin cat treats into a Tupperware container, and store in the fridge for up to 1 week!