Provide your feline friend with an ideal diet is vital to their wellbeing, yet many cat owners lack an understanding of which human foods are safe or even toxic for their cat.
When purchasing cat food, look for one with an ingredient list that is full and balanced, as well as low in carbohydrates and legumes such as beans.
What is a Cat’s Diet?
A cat’s diet should be complete and balanced. According to the VCA, this means providing their body with all of the necessary nutrients in proper quantities in order to remain healthy – proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals all play an important part. These essential substances provide energy as well as building cells. These components can be found in meats, vegetables, dairy products or legume plants among many other places.
Domestic cats are obligate carnivores, meaning that most of their protein must come from animal-based foods such as meat and organs. Plant-based proteins do not provide much nutrition due to a lack of metabolic pathways required to properly digest them.
Canine foods are usually superior to dry food due to being higher in both water and protein content and carbs; to choose canned food with an ideal protein level of 40% or above is best. Fiber supplements may also be added for regularity. If your cat lives indoors, consider giving him/her more opportunities to spend time outside by providing more frequent fiber supplementations of their diet.
How Much Food Should I Feed My Cat?
Proper nutrition for cats is of vital importance in their overall wellbeing; feeding too little may prevent her from receiving all of the essential vitamins and minerals required, while too much food could lead to obesity and subsequent health issues.
An often-made mistake when raising kittens is to provide all their food at once (known as “ad libitum” feeding or free choice feeding). This approach may lead to obesity in juvenile cats, binge eating disorder and set the stage for orthopedic issues, diabetes and other metabolic conditions in later life.
Cats require both wet and dry foods for a healthy diet, along with regular feeding sessions.
Idealy, cats should receive two to three smaller meals daily to reduce waste and prevent overfeeding. An automatic feeder may help establish a routine feeding schedule; some cats take more time eating canned food at first but once settled into a feeding routine will usually enjoy it more and more! Just make sure the canned food chosen suits their weight, activity level and any preexisting health concerns they have.
How Often Should I Feed My Cat?
Cats must receive high quality canned food at least three times each day and more frequently if possible, in addition to having access to clean drinking water at all times.
Many cats accustomed to eating an almost exclusively dry kibble diet will initially resist adopting a new one. Instead of forcing it upon them by withholding food altogether, it would be more effective to gradually introduce it in increasing amounts until their taste buds adjust and they eventually choose it on their own.
As much as possible, provide your cat with canned foods lower in carbohydrates than what they have been fed kibble. Purina DM and Hill’s m/d diets may be suitable. In nature, cats consume very few carbohydrates at all; when feeding mostly dry-food diet cats a meal of canned meat instead, the inclusion of bones provides enough calcium to prevent dehydration.
What Should I Feed My Cat?
As a general guideline, it’s best to provide your cat with high-quality packaged cat food designed specifically for her needs. This will ensure she receives adequate protein, nutrients and moisture.
Supplement your cat’s diet with small pieces of meat designed to be chewed by its teeth, such as gizzards. Cooked egg and sweet potato also provide low-sugar treats they love!
Cats are obligate carnivores and require nutrients found only in meat products for proper nourishment, including essential amino acids and preformed vitamin A. When selecting food items to feed your feline friend, look for ones with both low fat content and high protein concentration.
Additionally, it is crucial that older cats and kittens consume food low in carbohydrates. This is especially important if their weight fluctuates significantly, making excess carbs especially detrimental. Most canned food contains under 10% carbohydrates. Furthermore, adding 1-2 TBS of water with each meal to keep your cat hydrated – whether plain water, tuna water, clam juice or chicken broth can work just fine!
How Can I Feed My Cat?
If your cat is used to eating only dry food, transitioning them gradually onto a canned diet may prove challenging. Start by mixing small amounts of canned with dry food at first and gradually reduce it until your cat accepts eating his new diet. Warm the canned food first so it doesn’t become too hot before adding bits of cooked chicken or meat (rather than fish as this could have an unpleasant odor for your feline friend) for added incentive to make sure he eats his new meals!
Many cats suffering from respiratory symptoms (coughing/difficult breathing), cystitis and kidney disease have found great improvement after switching to a high protein, low carbohydrate canned food diet. Naturally, cats (true carnivores) consume their meals from mostly meat/organs with only small percentages coming from carbohydrates; yet many dry foods like kibble and prescription renal diets such as Hill’s K/D that veterinarians frequently suggest contain 40-50 percent carbohydrates!