An appropriately fed cat is essential to its happiness and health. They have very specific dietary needs that vary as they age.
Your cat should consume an animal-based diet with limited carbohydrates. Read the label on their food to analyze the ingredients; those containing ground corn should be avoided as one of their top five ingredients.
1. Know Your Cat’s Diet
Idealistically, choosing food for your cat should depend on their life stage, health issues and taste preferences; additionally it should be low in carbohydrates.
Cats, unlike other mammals, are obligate carnivores and require food rich in protein and fat with only small amounts of carbohydrates present.
Diets consisting solely of canned food or balanced homemade meals should usually meet your cat’s nutritional requirements, with Meow Mix being avoided due to high corn and carb levels.
2. Know Your Cat’s Needs
One of the key aspects of supporting your cat’s health is understanding their nutritional requirements. Your vet can assist in establishing this, along with any alterations they might need in terms of diet or other medical issues that arise over time.
Be mindful of your cat’s water intake as cats that rely solely on dry food are susceptible to dehydration. Try feeding moisture-rich canned food like tuna for maximum hydration and overfeeding could lead to obesity or other health concerns.
3. Know Your Cat’s Abilities
No matter the age of your cat, they require food that meets its unique dietary needs. From kittens and adults through senior cats, all have individual dietary restrictions which must be maintained to keep them happy and healthy.
If your cat has become used to free-choice feeding, try shifting their habits with timed meals or puzzle feeder. This helps control calorie consumption and prevent overeating. Treats should account for less than 10% of daily caloric intake as too many can cause weight gain while depriving energy away from hunting which is an inherent predatory behaviour.
4. Know Your Cat’s Schedule
Crepuscular cats tend to wake their owners at a regular time every morning – this is part of their natural circadian rhythm and allows them to be awake at the dawning of each new day.
Food texture, aroma and temperature all play an impactful role on cats’ appetites. Grace the community cat is known to stay hidden until her caregiver sets down food in front of her before emerging to enjoy eating it.
Maintaining a consistent routine for your cat can also help alleviate boredom and stop destructive behaviors, like scratching or excessive grooming, from occurring. Bored cats may engage in destructive behaviour such as scratching or excessive grooming to keep themselves busy.
5. Know Your Cat’s Environment
Cats, being carnivorous animals, must hunt and kill to obtain the nutrients they require – this hunter behavior affects wildlife populations while contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.
Cats need lofty places to perch and survey their territory, so provide various forms of cat furniture like climbing towers and scratching posts for them to do this.
Separating food and water bowls helps avoid competition between them, encouraging hunting behavior by providing fresh, clean water on multiple occasions a day in wide, open bowls that won’t trap strong odors.
6. Know Your Cat’s Schedule
Cats spend their days hunting prey in the wild to secure food sources that will support their survival, while domesticated felines receive daily doses of specially-formulated cat food to meet their nutrient requirements.
Establish a regular feeding time schedule for your cat. Doing this allows it to understand its schedule and anticipate events that are imminent – such as its food bowl being filled – further improving their quality of life while satisfying hunger pangs.
7. Know Your Cat’s Needs
As natural hunters, cats require high amounts of protein and moderate levels of fat in their food, along with various vitamins and minerals to stay healthy.
Many owners prefer feeding their cat small meals throughout the day to match its natural feeding behavior and reduce obesity risks.
Food labels will list calories for each food as Kilocalories (kcal). Be mindful when reading this information as calorie counts may differ among foods and some cats may require less. Additionally, take into consideration that some cats require fewer calories.
8. Know Your Cat’s Abilities
Cats’ senses of smell, touch and temperature greatly influence their food preferences, with particular textures or shapes they favor forming part of their preferences.
Kittens require frequent small meals in order to meet their nutritional requirements, and offering more food will only increase their appetite and lead to overeating.
Timing feeding involves making food available at regular intervals and restricting treats to 10% of total daily caloric intake, so as to maintain control of caloric consumption and minimize counterconditioning efforts to teach cat behaviors such as entering their carrier or sitting pretty.
9. Know Your Cat’s Needs
Cats’ needs can differ based on their life stage and health status, from dry food preferences to specific textures or flavors that they prefer. Therefore, it’s wise to consult your veterinarian in regard to their nutritional requirements as they can offer recommendations tailored specifically to your feline friend.
Feeding your cat a healthy and varied diet is vital for their overall well-being. A properly balanced diet not only supports their predatory instincts, but conserves energy that would otherwise be used hunting and foraging for food, saving energy in the form of hunting energy costs and foraging energy costs. They require fresh drinking water, too!
10. Know Your Cat’s Environment
As obligate carnivores, cats can cause lasting environmental damage by preying upon native wildlife and spreading zoonotic diseases, not to mention contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.
Cats require high places in which to survey their territories and fulfill their natural hunting and resting needs. Enriching the home with perches designed for catnaps, and toys that mimic prey are great ways of providing this environment.
Feeding puzzle feeders or food balls that simulate natural foraging behavior is another excellent way to promote natural hunting behavior and ensure they always have access to fresh running water.