There is so much cat food available now that it is hard to decide on the best thing to feel your cat. But cats need a balanced diet to ensure that they are fit and healthy. An unbalanced diet can mean that they have growth problems or put on weight. The same as humans, being overweight can be harmful to your cat’s health.
Cat food generally fits into one of two categories:–
- Complete – which contains all the nutrients required by your cat.
- Complementary – which needs to be combined with other foods to ensure your cat gets all the nutrients they require.
Cats need protein, so they should eat meat to satisfy their requirements. You can do this by providing homemade meals or a fresh food diet, but doing this can make it hard to provide the right balance of vitamins, minerals and proteins. If a vet recommends this for medical reasons, they will give you detailed guidelines to ensure that your cat has a suitable diet.
Important tips to remember:–
- Cats are carnivores. They need amino acids, such as taurine, that are only found in meat. You cannot have a vegetarian cat.
- Cats should not be fed dog food and vice versa. Dogs are not meant to have such a protein rich diet, so cat food can cause stomach upsets, such as diarrhoea in dogs. Dog food is not so protein rich, so is not suitable for cats.
- Cats can eat wet or dry food or a mixture of both types. Wet food is soft and often has more flavour. It is easier to eat. If you have a fussy cat, they may find this more appealing. Dry food is harder, which is good for the cat’s teeth and gums. It can also be left out all day without going off. If a cat has a medical problem that requires regular drinking, dry food may not be suitable. It is best to check this with your vet.
But how much should you feed your cat?
This depends on your cat’s size, age and activity level. Most cat food packets will give advice on how much to give your cat, but it is still important to monitor their weight for weight loss and weight gain.
It is important to avoid over and under feeding.
Cats evolved in the wild and evolved to eat little and often. In the wild, they might eat ten to twelve small meals a day. In the home, cats would probably prefer the same, but their behaviour is influenced by their environment and also their previous experiences. If they are used to you coming and feeding them twice a day before and after work, they will be ready for that. They might try and get more food off you if you appear at a different time, but they will anticipate the twice a day feed.
You should replace wet or fresh food twice a day and dried food once a day.
When a cat has been neutred, their activity level will decrease, so also remember to reduce their amount of food.
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