No matter if your cat is a picky eater or is on the pudgy side, your four-legged friend will let you know what they feel about the food kept in their bowl. This turns into a challenge for a newbie cat owner.
In this context, Julie A. Churchill, An Associate Professor of Nutrition at the University of Minnesota College, says, “Cats are very opinionated about food, and a lot of their food preferences are formed in the first year,”
Therefore, it’s ultra-important that you let your kitten understand the importance of eating food in the right pattern. This should be done before a kitten turns into a cat. Your early cat feeding should include every food type ranging from dry to wet.
Even if your pet is older, there are still some chances of infusing nutrients into their body through some right dietary changes. Consider beginning this journey with understanding what you are buying and what your cat requires.
Choose a balanced diet –
Cat owners should be familiar with reading the cat food labels effectively. Richard Hill says, An associate professor at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville, “With so much advertising, people tend to focus on ingredients, but the nutrients are more important, namely protein and fat,”
It’s trendy to mash carbohydrates and grains in the cat’s bowl, which is not a bad dietary change to make, especially when fat and protein-enriched foods are overpriced. Carbs are valuable and bring an interesting crunch to cat food. And cats love that crunch. As long as the carbs are in a suitable amount, it won’t affect the cat’s health anyhow.
But how to figure out if the cat’s diet is balanced or not?
For this, you need to look upon a statement from the AAFCO (the Association of American Feed Control Officials) on the cat food package. Richard Hill says, “It will say that the food is complete and balanced, either through a feeding trial or because the recipe meets cats’ nutritional requirements,”
Additionally, the experts say if the food has enough distinctions, there is no need to overdo the supplements and vitamins quantity in the food. This is likely to hurt the cat’s health.
How often do you feed cats? And How much?
Look closely at the cat’s eating pattern. This can say a lot about the dietary impact on the cat’s health. Most cats eat at dawn and dusk only. This is because they feel hungry while playing or catching prey throughout the day. Therefore, these two times can be considered ideal for feeding them. As far as how much they should be eating is concerned, that depends on the cat’s food bowl. Ideally, you should give 200 calories a day to your four-legged friend. However, the calories intake or count may vary based on the food type.
Choose the right bowl size for your little furry friend – Although the cat bowls come in a standard size mostly, yet try to use a medium-sized cat food bowl to feed the correct quantity of food. Be it food bowls or cat water dishes, it should be a suitable size according to your cat’s weight and diet. You can even go for elevated or eco-friendly feeders to ensure the best for your pet’s health.
As far as how much your cat should eat in a day, consider a few factors like the cat’s age, physical movement, size, etc. If you are doubtful, it’s good to consult a veterinarian rather than juggling the calculations.
It’s common for cats to nibble around the food bowl in the daytime. But that does not mean they are hungry or asking for food. Offering food on such behavior may lead to overeating raising further health issues. That’s why the experts consider overeating as a crisis for the cat’s health. After overeating, some common problems encountered in cats are heart disease, joint disease, diabetes, and much more. Therefore, veterinarians recommend setting a mealtime for cats. In case your cat is OK with dietary changes, it’s good to choose foods lower in calories rather than reducing the quantity.
Vegan diets for cats –
Vegan diets may be an amazing idea for you, but that’s not a healthy choice for cats for sure. Unlike human beings, cats require certain minerals, vitamins, and proteins to stay fit as a fiddle. Having said that, you can’t think of feeding raw meat to your little cats as it can prove an unhealthy and inappropriate choice of food according to their body type. Moreover, the bacteria on raw meat includes – E. Coli, Salmonella, etc., can take a significant toll on the cat’s health, making them sick for a long time.
Here, Hill says, “In the wild, they eat the whole animal or bird they catch, not just the meat. Meat alone will be deficient in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.”
Can you feed a cat home-cooked food?
Experts recommend not feeding home-cooked food alone for a safe dietary habit. Here, you should take the veterinary nutritionist’s recommendations to decide the meal type for your cat breed. You have to be so particular here because cats are hardly 8 or 10 pounds, and making even a slight change in their ingredients can change the total nutritional value of the diet. Thus, always blend the home-cooked meals with readymade cat foods to nurture your pet correctly.
In this regard, Hill recommends, “The beauty of commercial food is that it’s formulated specifically for cats, so it’s complete and balanced and meets their needs, and you don’t have to worry about it,”
What to keep in mind?
- Keep an excellent sanitary check on sanitary to ensure good food practices.
- Ensure easy access to clean water throughout the day. The water should be kept in clean water dishes to promote good health.
- Try to stimulate the cat by hiding food in different corners of the home or garden for a quick playtime.
Cats are prone to dietary changes; thus, it’s highly advisable to consult a veterinarian nutritionist before making any dietary changes. This will help you keep a track of the cat’s diet.