A proper diet gives your cat a better chance at avoiding certain health conditions such as obesity, chronic kidney disease (CKD), and lower urinary tract disease. So, as a pet owner, you’ll be indirectly cutting down on some unnecessary veterinary expenses by adhering to proper feeding guidelines when feeding your cat.
However, a good diet is not all there is to it. Proper feeding is also important. If you’re in search of valuable tips on the correct way to feed your cat, we’re here to help. Before outlining the vital feeding tips, we’ll first look at the nutritional needs of cats.
Understanding Cats’ Nutritional Needs
Cats are classified as obligate carnivores; they thrive on a meat-based diet or food gotten from animal sources. Remember, the diet must meet your cat’s basic nutritional requirements.
For instance, cats need taurine, a type of amino acid, to grow. You can only get this nutrient from foods like milk and meat, both obtained from animal sources. The bottom line is that the digestive organs of cats can only effectively process meat-based diets.
A typical adult cat requires about 250 calories a day to stay healthy. That means a well-balanced diet consisting of proteins, animal fats, minerals, vitamins, and carbohydrates. Moreover, your cat’s nutritional needs depend largely on its weight, size, activity level, and health history. Water is also an essential component of a cat’s diet. Sadly, cats naturally don’t like drinking water. So it would be best if you found a way of keeping your cat properly hydrated.
10 Tips For Feeding A Cat Correctly
Cat owners make a couple of mistakes when feeding their cats. Here are ten tips for feeding a cat correctly.
1. Feed your cat according to its health and wellness needs.
If your cat is diabetic or has any special condition, consult your vet to recommend a diet that serves its needs. For instance, cats with urinary tract problems would benefit from canned food since they need more water.
2. Choose between dry or canned food.
You can opt for either of them or decide to give your cat both. Your choice of food must cater to the nutritional needs of your cat. Don’t hesitate to consult your vet for professional advice to determine the diet that best suits your cat.
3. Feed your cat according to its life stage.
Cats are categorized under three life stages – kitten, adult, and senior. Each of these stages has different nutritional needs. For instance, kittens require a lot of proteins and calories to grow and develop. A senior does not require as many proteins as kittens, so you can’t give them food packed with proteins.
4. Buy top quality food.
Your cat deserves the best food regardless of whether you are going for dry or canned food. Top-quality food gives your cat a healthy balance of animal fat, proteins, taurine, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates.
5. Use separate bowls for food and water.
Cats can contaminate their water bowl with bits of food if placed close to their food bowl. Wash each bowl thoroughly after each feeding to prevent bacteria and germs contamination.
6. Use a prescription diet.
Most adult cats suffer from obesity. A prescription diet can help to keep your cat’s weight in check whilst providing correct nutrition. Choosing the proper prescription diet can be challenging as there are several prescription diets on the market. Make sure you consult your vet to find out the best diet for your cat.
7. Give your cat enough drinking water.
If your cat doesn’t like drinking water, you can opt for canned food due to its high moisture content. Canned cat food helps cats stay hydrated. If you give your cat dry food, you have to ensure that it takes enough water.
8. Give your cat treats from time to time.
Occasionally give your feline healthy treats. Treats provide a more exciting alternative to regular meals. Watch out for treats that are high in unsaturated fat, so your cat doesn’t get overweight or develop certain health conditions.
9. Avoid overfeeding your cat.
Correct feeding doesn’t necessarily imply giving your cat excessive amounts of food. Cats usually eat multiple times daily. More so, they don’t eat much due to their tiny stomachs. So try not to force your cat through overfeeding. How much food your cat should eat at a serving depends mainly on its age, size, and activity level. You can divide your cat’s meal into 3-4 small servings.
10. Establish a feeding routine.
Proper feeding entails giving your cat food regularly. Not only that, your feeding routine has to be consistent to ensure your cat is well-fed. Irregular feeding patterns can have some profound health implications for your cat.
Dry Food vs Canned Food
No doubt, a well-fed cat is a healthy and happy cat. However, many cat owners face the challenge of choosing a diet that suits their cat’s nutritional needs. There are two major cat food types – dry food and canned food.
Both cat food types have benefits for your feline. Dry cat food is relatively affordable compared to canned cat food. If you can’t afford canned food, there are some quality dry cat food in the market you can go for.
Top-quality dry food does not contain artificial ingredients, fillers (like soy, wheat, or corn), or by-products. Manufacturers also add a meat protein source to enhance their nutrients. Unlike canned cat food, you can leave leftover dry cat food out for more extended periods.
A cat with diabetes, kidney disease, or urinary tract disease needs more water intake to help it stay hydrated. In such cases, nutrition-savvy veterinarians strongly recommend feeding such cats canned food as opposed to dry food. Remember that cats don’t like taking much water. So, if you’re feeding your cat dry food, you have to find a way of providing it with a sufficient amount of clean water.
More importantly, before you settle on a type of food to feed your cat, try to find out which one it likes better. Not all cats like canned food; some prefer dry food. Regardless of the type or brand of cat food you want to buy, make sure you verify that it is certified by the relevant feed control authority in your region.
How To Choose A Well-balanced Cat Food
Choosing a well-balanced cat food for your feline starts with checking the label. Check to see if it meets the nutritional standards and has the appropriate authorities’ necessary certifications.
Whether you’re buying dry or canned food, check out for one that suits your cat’s age. You shouldn’t be feeding your adult cat food meant for kittens. A veterinarian can help you determine
your cat’s age and the type of food you should give it. Furthermore, you can buy cat food according to your cat’s activity level.
Starting A Feeding Routine
Maintain a consistent feeding routine to ensure your cat stays happy and healthy. Disrupting your cat’s regular feeding routine can cause some digestive issues and health conditions.
Determine your cat’s appetite and the amount of food it consumes at a sitting. Ensure you give the cat that established portion to control its weight and help you quickly recognize any changes in its appetite.
While a regular feeding routine may work for most cats, it may not work for some. In such a case, you might want to try the free-feeding schedule. If you’re not sure which feeding routine to adopt, don’t hesitate to consult your vet, so you don’t overfeed or starve your cat.