While many other common household pets are happy to chow down on anything edible (and even non-edible!), cats are a little more fussy. But how do we know what our cats like?
For new owners this can be especially difficult, and while there are plenty of options at the local supermarket’s pet food aisle, how do we know what is really the best for our furry friend’s health? Here is a quick overview of a cat’s dietary needs.
What Type Of Food/Water Should You Buy?
Cat food can be bought in cans or as bags of kibble. Kibble (dry food) is popular because there is no mess, but vets are beginning to advise against using it. But why is this? Simply put, cats are designed to get most of their daily water needs from meat, and so they are not as likely to make trips to the water dish when they are dehydrated. Because of this, feeding kibble can eventually cause dehydration. Cans of food on the other hand, contain a large amount of water and helps to prevent this, which is why canned (wet) food should be the main staple of your cat’s diet.
Before you throw out all of your bags of cat food, remember that canned food is a staple, but not the only type of food your cat can eat. A healthy mix of the two is acceptable.
When it comes to water, even though cats get a lot of it from meat, it is still vital that you provide it. This is where the fussy cat syndrome can play a part, because for some, tap water is unacceptable and they will flat out refuse to drink it. In this case, try buying bottled water. Some good brands include Evian and Buxton.
Can I Make My Own Mixtures?
Mixing your own cat food is not a good idea because of the very specific dietary needs of cats. You might have thought that including lots of fish in the diet is the way to go, but actually too much fish (if it’s raw) can lead to vitamin B1 deficiencies and many different health problems. Even tuna, a feline favorite, can flood the cat’s system with too much vitamin A and cause a number of problems. The best thing you can do is stick to commercial food products which are safe and created especially for cats.
How Much Should I Feed My Cat?
This is where you need to be extra careful. Obesity is a growing epidemic in pets and you need to take special care to avoid fattening up your cat. Like in people, obesity is dangerous and can cause heart disease, liver disease and more. Generally you should be feeding your cat 25 calories for every pound they weigh, so if you have a 10 pound cat he would need 250 calories a day. Sometimes you can go a little over this to about 30 calories per pound, but try not to make overfeeding a habit.