11 Ways to Embrace Your Cat Obsession in the Kitchen
If there's one thing MyRecipes knows, it's how to elevate time spent in the kitchen. If there's another thing we know, it's cats. A large percentage of our staff is made up of self-proclaimed cat ladies who take advantage of any excuse to produce kitty-related cooking content (clearly). That's why, on this very fine National Cat Day, we decided to put together a list of our favorite tips, tricks, feline finds, and recipes that'll help you embrace your cat obsession in the kitchen. You're welcome.
Homemade Cat Treats
Want to know what’s actually going into your furry friend’s snacks? Try whipping up a batch of these easy, homemade cat treats. If you’re unable to make your treats small enough for an easy bit, simply make them as small as you can and break each treat up before giving it to your cat.
Making a Birthday Cake for My Cat Turned Out to Be a Great Meal Prep Move
There are two (arguably flawed) character traits I am notorious for, and entirely comfortable embracing about myself: I act as though my two cats collaboratively hung the moon and I have absolutely no god-given talent or instinct for meal prepping.
It’s not that I live entirely moment to moment when it comes to grocery shopping and feeding myself, but I have accepted that I will never be the person who dedicates Sundays to strategic batch cooking and making multiple meals along with convenient snacks in advance. I was never destined to be that person who closes the refrigerator door on five lidded, glass containers containing five identical lunches for the work week ahead…I don’t even own five matching containers, nor have I ever. (And between us, it’s not even a significant aspiration for me.) There are so many areas of life where planning ahead comes naturally to me, but I’ve tried and failed with most of the popularly praised meal prep tips.
I know it works for others. Truthfully, I so admire those who make their lives easier with it, but I’ve come to understand that there is something about the meal planning/prepping philosophy that simply does not register with my hard wiring—which has led me to (rationally) stop trying and stop tossing out uneaten batches of roasted vegetables. My fate seemingly lies in stopping by the grocery store every few days to buy two or three items. However, every so often, I accidentally do something that works out to be a completely perfect meal prep move.
Like… throwing a birthday party for my first-adopted—Nibblet, the nub-tailed kitty—for example?
You guessed it, pal!
I didn’t plan on it. I was honestly just looking to make a not-fussy “cake” that my cat could eat in good health, and throw a nice, equally low-labor, spread of snacks out for our guests (i.e. three humans—her cat-sitters, my friends—who Nibblet actually acknowledges with loving recognition). Initially, I opted to see what the Internet had to say about making a cat-friendly cake and found a handful of recipes that involved combining ingredients like canned tuna, cheese, flour, and egg white, forming a cake, and baking it. My immediate mental reaction to these recipes involved thoughts like:
- I don’t want flour and shredded cheese gooping up my birthday princess’s system.
- Canned tuna, though delicious, doesn’t feel like “birthday food.”
- She’s a cat… she has no concept of birthdays. What am I doing with my life?
- Anything that requires me to separate an egg is an over-complication of this kitty birthday cake.
- Who am I kidding? My cat loves chicken more than she loves anyone attending this party.
- Chicken it is.
How to Make an Easy Birthday Cake for Your Cat
Supposing you too have a feline friend whose favorite food is chicken and you aspire to make them a very special birthday surprise, here’s how I made a no-fuss chicken cake that doubled as a launching point for my upcoming week of meals.
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I started by purchasing a whole, organic chicken, patting it dry with paper towels, and very lightly salting the exterior of the bird (kitties’ palates are sensitive). Quick side-note: It’s important that you roast your own chicken here instead of grabbing a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket deli; it’s going to be tastier, more cost-effective, and less worrisome from a “can I actually feed this to my pet?” standpoint—but also, you’re going to need the schmaltzy chicken juices are released in the roasting process to form your kitty cake.
I proceeded to roast this chicken as I normally would any other—breast up, in a cast-iron skillet, at 450 degrees, basting the bird with its own juices after 45 to 50 minutes, and then allowing it to cook 10 to 15 minutes longer (or until juices run clear when you pierce the chicken with a knife). I allowed my chicken to cool down while I finished throwing together some people-friendly snacks. Once cool enough to comfortable handle, I pulled all of the meat from the bones, setting aside enough white meat to form Little Nib’s cake (about 1/2 of the meat from one breast).
Next, I finely chopped the designated cake meat and placed it in a small bowl, adding a few tablespoons of chicken drippings from the pan to the meat. Using a small rubber spatula, I mixed the chopped poultry and savory juices to create a moistened chicken blend and pressed this mixture into a small, ungreased ramekin. I covered with plastic wrap and popped the ramekin into the fridge until party time.
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When Nibblet was ready for cake, I simply ran a knife around the edge of the ramekin to loosen, placed a plate on top, and inverted the molded chicken cake onto the plate (much like you would any other cake). I added a few chicken-flavored, tartar-fighting cat treats for a touch of decorative flair, but doing so is hardly necessary… when a cake of pure animal flesh is placed in front of their face, I can promise, your small predatory beast isn’t going to care about crunchy pantry treats or dental hygiene.
(P.S. No, I did not let her eat that whole cake, she got a few bites and we saved the rest for later.)
How Making an Easy Birthday Cake for Your Cat Can Jumpstart Your Meal Prep
At this point, I think the kicker is fairly obvious: I roasted a chicken.
And having a whole chicken’s worth of cooked meat (minus a kitty cake’s worth), already pulled from the carcass and bagged up in the fridge is a good thing. Now, do you necessarily need to make your cat a birthday cake and throw a party in their honor in order to roast a chicken at home and pull some meat? Uh no.
As Cardi B put it, I ain't tellin' y'all to do it, I'm just tellin' my story.
However, I will say, having cat birthday party leftovers—along the lines of a veggie platter with green goddess dip, a boatload of pimiento cheese, plenty of hummus, crackers, etc.—can really open up a lot of doors for your cooked, shredded chicken.
In the hours and days post-party, I used the picked-clean carcass to make a batch of chicken stock to toss in the freezer, and have utilized the supple meat, enhanced solely by my other remaining party snacks, in a variety of quick packed lunches and dinners.
For example, I used leftover endive and other veggies chopped up from my crudite platter to make a colorful tossed salad and topped it off with a handful of chicken and a drizzle of green goddess dip that I thinned out to a looser dressing consistency with a little water. I also made a chicken, prosciutto, and pimiento cheese sandwich with a side of blanched green beans one night. A day later, I stirred the remaining green goddess dressing into a portion of the chicken for a herbaceous twist on chicken salad, which I enjoyed on crackers alongside raw veggies and hummus. Tonight, I’m planning to cube now-stale baguette, and toss it with fresh herbs I have from making green goddess dip, some veggies, chicken, and a simple vinaigrette for panzanella. I think you get the idea… it’s halfway through the week and I’ve yet to stop by the grocery store on the way home from work, and I’m not anticipating a need to for the remainder of the week.
So yes, technically, my meal prep revelation here is that it’s a good idea to have cooked chicken, cut vegetables, and maybe a couple of prepared dips/spreads on hand at the start of the week. I told you, my inherent aptitude for this stuff is not raising any bars. Even still, I suppose I probably could have reached the same conclusion sans feline fiesta… but honestly, that route doesn’t sound nearly as fun.
20 Kitchen Items For Cat Ladies Who Love To Cook
My personal aesthetic could be accurately described as “Dolores Umbridge meets the crazy cat lady from The Simpsons.”
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I also spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Thankfully, there are a lot of products out there that cater to people like me. Like a lot. After a lengthy search of the internet, I can happily report that this is one niche market that is most certainly notbeing ignored.
Here are 20 of my favorite feline finds:
Buy it here: Anthropologie, $12
Buy it here: Anthropologie, $16.99
Buy it here: Anthropologie, $12
Buy it here: World Market, $9.99
WATCH: How to Make Homemade Cat Treats
Buy it here: World Market, $12
Buy it here: World Market, $7.50
Buy it here: World Market, $9
Buy it here: World Market, $10
Buy it here: Amazon, $16.95
Buy it here: Amazon, $18.12
Buy it here: Amazon, $11.99
Buy it here: Amazon, $12.99
Buy it here: Amazon, $24.99
Buy it here: Amazon, $12.99
Buy it here: Amazon, $16.99
Buy it here: Amazon, $13.19
Buy it here: Amazon, $15
Buy it here: Amazon, $14.99
Buy it here: Amazon, $7.58
Buy it here: Amazon, $15.99
You Can Get Cookie Cutters That Look Just Like Your Pets on Etsy
You are probably here because you love your pets, or know someone who treats their animals like their own children (You either know one, or you are one). Maybe you bake your pets their own treats, or maybe you’ve cooked them a meal or two in your Instant Pot. This is a no-judgement zone.
In the midst of some very important cookie cutter research (Yes, we’re in full holiday cookie mode in October, what of it), I stumbled upon what may be the greatest Etsy listing of all time: Baker’s Street Cutters’ custom pet portrait cookie cutters.
Imagine, a cookie cutter shaped like your animal, and the possibility of making cookies that look just like your animal. You would be living your best life with what is clearly evidence of a technological zenith. Now, $27 does sound steep for a cookie cutter, but this is a one-of-a-kind baking tool we’re talking about.
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“I personally design each cutter and pay attention to every detail,” says Ivan, the artist. “Before printing I will send you a preview to see and to make any changes to the design if necessary.” You just can’t find that kind of dedication on Amazon.
And you don’t have to limit yourself to cats and dogs, either. One shopper was delighted with what I can only hope is a cookie cutter rendition of her pet lemur. Ivan is also talented with birds. It’s important to note that these cookie cutters aren’t dishwasher-safe and don’t do well with hot water. But aside from that, they’re pretty darn adorable.
If you’d rather get a human-inspired cookie cutter, Baker’s Street Cutters has got that too. You can choose from cultural icons like Freddie Mercury and Frida Kahlo, or you can just get one of your face. Remember, no judgment.
Trader Joe's Is Releasing an Advent Calendar for Your Cat
Advent calendars are becoming a huge holiday trend, with everything from Costco's German beer calendars to Aldi's calendar filled with treats for your pup. And now TJ's is debuting a brand-new cat advent calendar that lets your favorite feline join in on all the fun too!
Trader Joe's vice president of product marketing Matt Sloan and vice president of merchandising Collin Fields recently dished on this brand-new product via the Trader Joe's podcast earlier last month. Fields says they were surprised to see how popular their dog advent calendar became, and when their loyal feline-loving customers asked them to make one for cats, it was basically a no-brainer.
WATCH: How to Make Homemade Cat Treats
According to Sloan and Fields, this cat advent calendar—Catvent, if you will—is loaded with 25 treats made from salmon and seaweed that your cat will adore. Plus, the final treat for your cat to enjoy on Christmas Day is a massive, fish-shaped treat to make the holiday extra special.
We're not sure when this feline-friendly advent calendar will drop, but we will keep our eyes peeled and let you know as soon as we have more info. Keep checking back, because we're sure these bad boys will sell out fast! Meowy Christmas!
This article was originally published on Eating Well.
How to Keep Your Cat Off the Kitchen Counter
Full disclosure: My cats like to hang out on the kitchen counter. I have no intention of forcing them to stop because I do not want to hurt their feelings—I work for them, after all.
But this is one of those “do as I say, not as I do” situations. The truth is, letting your kitties have full reign of the counter can have dangerous repercussions for you and your pet.
Their litter-covered paws could put you at risk for serious bacterial infections (this is especially important if you live with someone with a weakened immune system), while the cat might unintentionally land on a hot stove or eat something that negatively affects their health. Also, you could end up with fur in your food, and nobody wants that.
There are plenty of reasons your cats want to hang out on kitchen counters: They like heights, running water, and being wherever the action is. But there are a few ways you can deter the behavior.
1. Move your barstools.
Some cats can jump to great heights on their own, but others rely on nearby barstools to help them make the leap. Removing that middle man will probably be frustrating for your furry friend, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
2. Put double-sided tape on your counter’s edges.
Cats don’t like how tape feels on their paws—and can you blame them? Once they’ve experienced the stickiness a few times, they might be less inclined to jump on the counter. This also works well when you’re trying to keep cats from scratching your furniture.
3. Line your counters with aluminum foil.
Cats also aren’t fans of the way aluminum foil feels on their wittle baby paws. The crinkly sound isn’t pleasant for them, either. Make sure to tape it down so the foil (and the cat) don’t go flying off the counter.
If you’re cat isn’t responding to any of the above methods, it might be time to consult a vet or a behavioral specialist. It is important to note, however, that you should never resort to spray bottles or scare tactics. Frightening your cat is not only damaging to their mental health and your bond with them, but it’s also ineffective. The animal will start to associate you with the bad behavior, and they’ll likely continue to misbehave when you’re not around.
'Julia's Cats' Is the Perfect Gift for Cat Ladies Who Love to Cook
Through personal letters and photos, authors Patricia Barey and Therese Burson tell the absolutely lovely story of how Julia Child became a bona fide cat lady.
You Can Eat Cookie Dough and Play With Kittens at This Pop-Up Lounge
Heaven is a place on Earth.
National Drink Wine With Your Cat Week Is an Arbitrary Holiday That Actually Matters
It's Thursday, February 21, which means we're smack-dab in the middle of National Drink Wine With Your Cat Week (February 18 to February 24). Your immediate reaction should be one of unequivocal excitement mixed with sheer panic. You’ve been living the last three days of your life ignorant to the fact that you were missing out on National Drink Wine With Your Cat Week, and now there’s only four days left to celebrate! I KNOW.
But everything’s OK. Take a breath. If you are the type of person who is thrilled that such a celebration has been decreed into existence (a.k.a. the best type of person), you are more than likely no stranger to the central festivity involved here. National Drink Wine With Your Cat Week is a brilliant combination of National Drink Wine Day (February 18) and National Love Your Pet Day (February 20), brought to life through a partnership between Offers.com and Pet Winery.
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Speaking as someone who plans birthday parties for her cats (and takes great joy in doing so), I applaud these companies and heartily believe that the spirit of National Drink Wine With Your Cat Week is one we should aim to carry in our hearts year-round. In fact, I think it says a lot that it was deemed necessary to dedicate an entire week toward celebrating the time-honored tradition of drinking wine with one’s cat.
If you’re planning to do the rest of this week right, I should point out that it is Drink Wine WITH Your Cat Week, not Drink Wine in Close Proximity to Your Cat Week, so you probably ought to consider what feline-friendly wine your own furry buddy might like best. Pet Winery offers everything from a light-bodied Meowsling to the fuller bodied Purrgundy. And if you’re really looking to party, you should pop a few bottles of Meow & Chandon.
WATCH: How to Make Homemade Cat Treats
There’s certainly something magical about this officially sanctioned (sorta?) holiday season, but really, if you’re only drinking wine with your best feline friend(s) one week out of the year, you’re doing it all wrong.
Trader Joe's Is Finally Getting Cat Treats
The Art of Making Animal Pancakes
Make these cute critter shapes right meow.
13 Pet-Friendly Recipes Your Furry Friends Will Love
Looking for more pet-friendly tips and treats? Check out more recipes for your furry friends here.