Making sure you’re feeding your feline the best cat diet is one of the most important ways to ensure cat health.
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they require meat in their diet. That’s what they evolved eating, and that’s what they continue to need. The general rule is that cats should be eating one ounce of food per pound of body weight (2/3 cup per 10 pounds). This varies depending on the age and health status of your cat.
Related Slideshow: 70 facts almost too weird to be true
Image Credit: Ruta Lipskija/iStock.
What about vegetarian food?
If you feed your feline a vegetarian diet, he or she can develop serious health problems, including blindness. Cats don’t eat vegetables (and aren’t very good at digesting them). Veggies do contain vitamin A, which cats need but can’t manufacture on their own—it must be given in the form of an animal product. So if you want to go vegetarian for your kitty, remember that he might not thank you for it later.
Image Credit: suiwuya/iStock.
Can i feed cats human food?
Feeding your cat human food is sometimes fine, but don’t do it too much. The problem with too much human food is that it can lead to obesity. Cats are prone to getting fat and developing serious health problems. They’re also very susceptible to diseases of the heart (cardiac disease) and liver (liver cancer). Not only that, but a diet high in carbohydrates can cause constipation.
Cats like milk because they have special receptors in their mouth and throat that are triggered when they taste the fat in milk. But many adult cats are lactose intolerant; even though they love the taste of it (especially cream), it makes them sick later on down the line.
Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.
Should i feed my cat wet food or dry cat food?
There’s not a single easy answer to this question, but one thing is for sure: your cat needs a diet that’s high in protein and fat. It’s actually an entirely different ball game for cats since their nutritional needs differ from dogs – not all pet foods are the same.
If you’re interested in giving your cat a balanced diet, consider wet cat food as an option or in addition to adult dry cat food. It has the needed portions of protein and fat. Canned cat food is more expensive, but it can make a difference in your cat’s body weight and health.
Image Credit: Liudmila Chernetska/iStock.
The problem with dry cat food
The issue with most adult dry cat food products is that they are not the best quality. They contain a lot of filler, which is either grain (which isn’t ideal for cats) or meat by-products. The problem with by-product dry cat food is that it’s not 100% meat. Because cats can’t digest grains properly it can cause serious health problems later on down the line. Canned food tends to be better balanced for cats and kittens, especially containing important amino acids.
Often the packaging of adult dry cat food doesn’t indicate how much protein or fat is in the kibble. If that’s the case, you have no idea what you’re getting into when you open up the bag. It’s easy to overfeed your cat or kitten and make him sick if he eats too much dry food at one time. But, if he becomes overweight this could lead to serious diseases later on down the line. Dry cat foods are certainly convenient and less expensive. That’s why a lot of pet parents choose them. Unfortunately, the same thing that makes dry food less expensive is that the quality is lower.
Image Credit: Petra Richli/iStock.
What a great cat diet looks like
A great diet consists of key nutrients that are in animal-based products (meat). These nutrients are usually scarce or absent entirely in plant products such as corn and soy. And although these ingredients may be found in most commercial cat foods, they aren’t ideal sources of protein and fat for cats compared to meat.
Cats shouldn’t eat too many carbohydrates, either. They need to consume a good amount of fat and protein in their diet. Cat owners should be aware that grain-based foods can contribute to obesity, diabetes and other health problems.
Cats also need taurine—a special amino acid found only in meat—and vitamin D3 from animals. If you cut out all animal products from your cat’s diet without providing any kind of supplement, you could end up with a health condition.
Image Credit: Sergey Pakulin/iStock.
Always read cat food labels
When you read cat food labels, look for ingredients that are healthy and good for your cat. If you see something that contains tons of carbs – like you might find in dry food – don’t buy it. Healthy ingredients include things like water, turkey, oil, and chicken. All of these are good ingredients and will make your cat happy. The problem can be with the rest of the food; sometimes they use junk as filler to make it cheaper to produce or increase profits.
Don’t forget that while you’re looking at the labels on all those treats to also check the expiration date so you know if it is still good or not. Once a package is opened it will expire faster than usual so don’t let it sit around too long before using it up.
You should always read the label of any cat food before buying it for yourself. There may be an ingredient in there that do not want to eat or feed their pet due to allergies or other reasons (such as animal products). Always check out what exactly goes into that type so you know exactly what’s going inside your body/cat’s stomach!
Image Credit: Lightspruch/iStock.
Cat Diets: helping your cat lose weight
If you’re looking to put your cat on a weight loss plan, there’s good news: the process is like what we’ve already discussed. To achieve ideal weight, cats need a combination of diet and exercise. It isn’t just as simple as buying weight management food.
The most important aspect of any cat weight loss plan is ensuring your cat is getting enough exercise. Cats only need about 30 minutes a day to stay in shape. If you notice that your cat is gaining weight or not keeping up with its usual activity levels, it may be time to increase their exercise time.
Like humans, cats tend to get bored when they do the same thing over and over again, so you may want to vary their exercise routine from day to day. A few ideas include running around with them in the house or yard (it can be really fun for both of you!), tossing around a toy like a feather wand for them to chase, or even teaching them some tricks for treats. Your vet can help you develop an appropriate feeding and weight loss program if you’re unsure where to start.
Image Credit: Astrid860/iStock.
Protein: The key to a cat diet
A high protein diet has is very beneficial for cats at all life stages, especially when it comes to maintaining healthy body condition scores and muscle mass as they age. Protein helps maintain skin and hair health as well as keep the immune system strong—in short, it’s important. It’s also great because it keeps your cat feeling full longer than other macronutrients do while providing tons of energy-boosting nutrients. If you decide that a high protein diet might be right for your kitty, look into foods like Orijen Regional Red Grain-Free Dry Cat Food or Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Adult Dry Cat & Kitten Food; both contain at least 30% protein per serving.
Another option would be switching from dry food (kibble) only or canned food only diets over exclusively wet food-only diets. Canned foods generally have fewer calories than kibble. That means they will be best for overweight cats who need less energy dense.
Image Credit: Vera Tikhonova/iStock.
What about diet cat food?
Another choice is feeding your cat diet cat food. These are sometimes marketed as “weight management cat food.” These foods are designed specifically to help your cat lose weight and meet the nutritional needs of an active cat. If you’re going to feed a diet cat food, it’s best to look for one that contains at least 30% protein per serving. Read the labels – whether it’s dry food or canned food, don’t trust that a weight management food will be right for your cat’s weight loss plan.
Image Credit: insonnia/iStock.
The Finicky Cat Diet: what to do if your cat won’t eat
If your cat won’t eat, the first thing to do is take them to a veterinarian. It could be something serious, like cancer or diabetes. If they’re in good health, then you should try changing a variety of factors at once.
For example, if your cat currently eats dry food, switch to wet food and also try a different flavor and brand. Try switching from the bowl on the floor to a plate on the table and vice versa. Finally, if you feed them immediately upon arriving home from work every day at 6:00 p.m., try feeding them earlier.
The bottom line is that cats are creatures of habit and often become picky with their food when something changes in their life or routine. As long as they’re healthy it will probably pass eventually, but it can help not to wait too long before trying some new approaches!
Image Credit: Magone/iStock.
Raw meat diets for cats: ask a vet first
Raw food cat diets are another specialty diet that requires careful research and consultation with a vet. This is one of the more controversial diets and has been found to carry a risk of bacteria, parasites, and viruses. Raw food carries risks that go beyond those of a cooked diet, so we don’t recommend it for everyone.
In some ways, a raw food diet for cats is the opposite of feeding them dry food. It’s something you have to do a lot of work for, and comes with different risks.
The raw food diet consists of feeding your cat uncooked meat and bones, egg yolks, or something similar. It’s important to note that this isn’t just going to your local grocer and throwing some chicken wings in the microwave. Raw pet food needs to be carefully balanced with nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids (which is basically just protein), fatty acids (fats), enzymes and probiotics.
Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.
Raw cat food diets need supplementation
Raw diets need to be supplemented in some terms because cats have trouble digesting certain nutrients in their raw states. For example: calcium levels need to be adjusted because of their inability to break down phosphorus on their own.
There’s also the issue of weight management. Without proper nutrition planning your cat will end up being overfed or underfed both of which can lead to serious health issues later on in life. If you’re interested in this type of diet you should talk with a veterinarian first before committing completely.
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi/iStock.
Pay attention to your cat’s behavior and health, not their weight
It’s not just about the cat diet – pay attention to your cat’s behavior. The way he or she acts is more important than how much they weigh. Worry when they’re lethargic, not eating and drinking, or suffering from stomach problems like vomiting or diarrhea. These are all signs that something is wrong.
If your cat suddenly stops eating or becomes too thin, it’s important to bring them in for a check-up with their veterinarian right away. When you visit the vet make sure that you have any medical records from when they were healthy and before they started having problems. If you can’t find these records, ask the doctor at least some basic questions about how to care for your cat, what common symptoms are associated with illnesses like this, and how long it usually takes for cats to recover after starting on treatment or receiving surgery.
Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.
Malnutrition: a risk with some cat diets
Cats can suffer from malnutrition if not fed regularly (and especially if not fed enough). It’s very easy for small pets like kittens to become malnourished.
Keep an eye on their energy levels and activity. If your cat has enough energy to play you probably don’t need to worry too much about their weight. For a cat that’s lethargic and not eating or drinking, this is a different story. If you feed your cat canned food, water their dishes often and make sure there’s always fresh water available (especially if they live inside). When feeding your cat dry food, make sure that it isn’t left out too long. Make sure there’s plenty of fresh water available at all times. Cats tend to drink less than dogs because cats aren’t much interested in water unless it’s cold.
For those who already have an overweight cat, the most important thing for weight loss is to make sure he or she eats enough food every day. Even if that means changing his diet for the time being to one that helps him lose weight at a slower rate. This means looking for foods with fewer calories per serving but still packed full of nutrients. You can also try adding a little canned pumpkin or low-fat chicken broth to the food.
If your cat is overweight, it’s important to start by making sure you’re getting enough calories in their diet—this means feeding them dry foods with high protein levels. It’s also important that they get plenty of water, exercise and playtime every day.
Image Credit: RobertPetrovic / iStock.
Conclusion: The Best Cat Diet
In conclusion, it is important to remember that cats are not dogs or humans. They require different kinds of food and they need their nutritional needs met in a certain way. Feeding the wrong kind of food can lead to all kinds of health problems for your cat and even death.
It’s up to you to make sure that your cat is fed the right kind of food. If you’re not sure what type of food is best for your kitty, then ask your veterinarian.
Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.
More from MediaFeed:
Image Credit: PijuanDesignWorkshop / Etsy.