Summer weather has finally hit Honolulu…
[She explains what’s it like to endure skyrocketing temps without AC, and how her clever ideas for keeping herself cool during the crazy heat gave way to a brilliant idea for keeping her fur-babies equally cool as little cucumbers: Catsicles!]
Along with attempting to not disappear into a puddle of The Cat Lady Formerly Known As Louise, I’m trying to keep my kitties cool and comfortable. I keep their water cool and filled, and they’re really loving their raw food just this side of thawed. For the brief shining moment that we had a icy water-filled cooling pad (until my husband stepped on it with his man feet and popped it) the girls were in heaven.
Looking in my fridge and “cat pantry,” I found a few freezable, cat-friendly foods, and decided to experiment with cat popsicles or “catsicles.”
Some were successful (Chicken Chicken Tuna Pops!) some were awful for all involved (Freeze Dried Shrimp Treats, Tuna Water, and Olive Olive Oil Slushy … DISGUSTING, and the smell soaks into EVERYTHING).
But Brandy, Tailsy, and I did find a couple simple winners, which we’d like to share with you. On those hot, still days, nothing is quite so satisfying as the midday quiet punctuated by the happy lapping sound of cool kitty tongues.
Catsicle No. 1: The Goat Milk-sicle
What you need: The Honest Kitchen’s Pro Bloom Instant Goat’s Milk, water, Dixie Cup.
(Note: For more sensitive stomachs, I recently tried this recipe with Cat Sure cat milk, and it worked just as well. Brandy does quite well with goat milk, since goat milk is more digestible to cats and Pro Bloom is formulated to be suitable for cat stomachs. However, I know not every cat can handle goat milk, so a “cat milk” made just for cats might be better if goat milk is not an option. I like Cat Sure because it’s lactose free and great for older cats who might need to put a little weight on.)
Brandy is a huge fan of the Honest Kitchen’s Pro Bloom Instant Goat’s Milk for cats and dogs. It’s like candy to her. As soon as she hears me rip open the packet — I generally only give her about a fourth of a packet at a time — she’s literally hopping up and down at my feet screeching for her goat milk treat. Sold in boxes of single serve packets (one packet makes about one cup), it’s chock full of probiotics and nutrients. Plus, as she’s developed a little bit of irregularity in her old age, the Pro Bloom tends to keep everything moving along comfortably.
So, why not try it as a catsicle, I thought?
Mixing up my typical fourth of a packet of Honest Kitchen Instant Goat Milk, I poured it into a Dixie Cup and put it in the freezer. The catsicle was frozen solid within about an hour. Since I used a Dixie Cup, I could just cut it away when the pop was solid. I’ve used ice trays in the past, with the catsicles easily popping out in cubes, but I find I don’t really want to reuse the plastic tray after it had had milk or raw meat in it. In the future, I think a silicon tray might be a good alternative.
Upon releasing the pop I plopped it on a plate for kitty consumption.
Brandy went bananas.
As I wasn’t sure the effect the pop would have on her stomach, I let her lick at it for about 10 or 15 minutes then attempted to take it away (I tend to be very conservative about introducing new foods to cats). She was not happy, and I was punished. Still, I was able to wrestle it away from her and refreeze it in a clean Dixie Cup for her to snack on later. (Once unfrozen for a time and licked on, I wouldn’t keep a Goat Milk-sicle longer than about two days.)
What I did notice while I was putting the catsicle away was that it melted very nicely. It still smelled fresh, sweet, and slightly grassy, and it melted smoothly and evenly. No lumps, bumps, or unpleasant odors.
As an added bonus, the next time I made some Goat Milk-sicles, I tossed in a couple pieces of Bravo! freeze dried fish treats (Mariner’s Medley) or sprinkled in some Real Meat Pet Food Seasoning (an air-dried raw meat pet-food topper). After the Goat Milk-sicle melted a bit, it was like a meat surprise inside the pop.
Speaking of a meat surprise …
Catsicle No. 2: The Chicken Chicken Tuna Pop
What you need: Primal Pet Foods Chicken Mix, some tuna water from a can of tuna, a dash of the Honest Kitchen’s Pro Bloom Instant Goat’s Milk (optional), water, Dixie Cup.
I used the Primal Chicken Mix, not the nutritionally complete Primal Formula, because I use it as a base to make my own raw cat food, and it’s just what I have around. But really, I think any high quality raw ground chicken or raw chicken frozen cat food will work.
I made this pop for Tailsy. As my resident “wild child,” aka former stray, she’s less interested in goat milk and more interested in meat with a capital MEAT.
Thawing the chicken meat to just pliable but still “crunchy,” I gently pressed it into the bottom of a Dixie Cup, just under a quarter of the way full.
Then I mixed in just enough chilled tuna water (I just put the can in the fridge for a while then opened it) and a bit of regular water (if needed) to make the mixture uniform but still textured. I think Tailsy prefers a rougher texture to the pop, but to each cat their own, I suppose.
If you want to mix in a dash or two of the Pro Bloom Goat Milk for a probiotic boost, mix it in with some tuna water/regular water until completely dissolved and smooth, then add the mixture to the meat and stir.
Put the Dixie Cup with the meat pop mixture in the freezer for about an hour then cut away the Dixie Cup and serve.
Tailsy was in the ZONE when eating this pop. It sounded like she was saying “yumyumyum” while she licked. Again, I only let her have it for 10 or 15 minutes at a time, just to be sure it agreed with her stomach. (It did.)
So there you go. If your cats are toasty on these hot summer days, a catsicle might be just the treat to chill them out. If you try one of my creations, I hope your cat enjoys it like mine did. Or maybe these examples will inspire you to come up with a recipe of your own!
Oregon Veterinary Specialty Hospital (OVSH) has been serving the Portland and Beaverton area community since 1979. Dr. Robert T. Franklin (Internal medicine) welcomes referrals from veterinarians all over the Pacific Northwest. Our goal is to help your pet regain health and live a long and happy life.
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Beaverton, OR 97005.