7 Reasons Why Feeding Your Cat Correctly Is More Complicated Than You ThinkMatthew Russell
Cats can be picky eaters, but they have no problem letting you know when they are hungry.
Such is the life of a pet parent to these often aloof animals. If you’re a cat owner, you can probably relate. Cat care can sometimes be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be.
Picking out the right food for your feline friend is just one of the many ways you can concentrate on optimizing your cat’s health. Along with the right nutrition, you should make sure your cat is getting enough food, and not too much, as well as strengthening positive behavior.
If you’re wondering whether or not your cat is getting all it needs to thrive, you’re not alone. Here are 7 tips to help you get off on the right paw!
7. Type of food
Cats need lean protein to sustain their bodies. That should be the first ingredient on the back of the product.
Many believe that dry food is less beneficial for feline health and avoid it altogether. According to the Conscious Cat, sometimes even grain-free dry cat food contains high levels of carbohydrates and is not nutritionally appropriate for cats.
Any way you choose it, a good cat food is packed full of lean protein, is both grain- and filler-free, and tastes good to your furry friend!
Feeding your feline a food with higher nutrient content means you can feed them less to meet their daily requirements. Narrowing down those nutrients might take some research, or consulting with a veterinarian, but providing a diet of real food meals is a good start, the Feline Nutrition Foundation reports.
Cats need protein, fat, water, vitamins and minerals to thrive. And animals that lack those nutrients can wind up with serious health issues. Cat foods previously manufactured without the amino acid taurine, for instance, led to a number of feline deaths.
The taurine content of any cat food should be no lower that .2%, as recommended by the Association of American Feed Control Officials.
“Obesity is the most common nutritional disease seen in cats,” Joe Bartges, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, DACVN, told WebMD. You should feed a cat between 24 to 35 calories a day per pound, to sustain a healthy weight.
That works out to be about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of food for a 5-pound cat, 3/8 to 1/2 cup of food for a 10-pound cat, or 1/2 to 3/4 cup of food for a 15-pound cat. Given these ranges, PetMD reports, and assessing the body condition of your cat, you can narrow down the appropriate amount.
The Cornell Feline Health Center maintains that feeding frequency depends largely on a cat’s age, health, and own preference. While kittens may require more food, more often, to sustain their growth, adult cats can live on two feedings a day.
According to Animal Planet, leaving a bowl of food out for your cat to “free-feed” is one way to promote overeating. Keeping the feedings regular and measured out can help prevent obesity or health issues from a lack of nutrition.
Cats may need less water per pound of body weight than other pets to survive, but it is still a vital need in their diets.
According to Dr. Jennifer Coates at PetMD, cats get their daily water requirements either by drinking it or eating wet food, as most canned varieties are between 68 and 78 percent water.
For a 10-pound adult cat, spayed or neutered, Coates recommends an average of 261 milliliters or about 3/4 to 1-1/4 cup of water a day.
2. Foods to avoid
Apart from some cheap and nutritionally devoid dry foods, a number of other ingredients can cause your cat problems. Fish, for example, while being a favorite of cartoon cats for decades, oftentimes is laden with heavy metals and other harmful impurities from the ocean.
As WebMD reports, while kittens are quite cute lapping up a saucer of milk, adult cats just don’t have the stomachs to handle the lactose. And just like with dogs, grapes, raisins, caffeine, alcohol, and chocolate are also on the list of dietary no-nos.
Treats are great for behavioral training, the Humane Society maintains, but give your furry friend too many and you may find it meowing for more when they’re not necessary. Feed them as needed, and sparingly, and your cat will be content.
And when it comes to picking out those treats, avoid additives like carrageenan, synthetic preservatives, BPA, artificial food dyes, grains and by-products, Why Cat Why recommends.
Follow these simple steps to ensure your beloved pet is eating right and getting the nutrition s/he needs to live a long and healthy life!