Want to keep your kitty in your life as long as possible? A cat’s diet is very important to their overall health. What they eat becomes the materials that make up their bodies and gives their bodies the energy they need to perform all their life processes. That may sound complicated, but there are actually 5 great (and easy) ways that you can improve your cat’s diet.
You can improve your cat's diet significantly by feeding your cat a food with a high moisture content. You don’t have to feed mice to your cat, but a switch from dry cat food to wet cat food makes a big difference. A typical dry cat food has a moisture content of only 8-10%, while a wet cat food generally has a moisture content of 70-80%.
Cats are obligate carnivores. What does this mean? An obligate carnivore is a creature that must eat animal protein in order to satisfy all of their nutritional needs. Due to the way a cat’s body processes food, a vegetarian diet will leave a cat seriously nutritionally deficient. Protein is really important if you want to improve your cat's diet.
Check the nutrition panel of your cat’s food to see just how much protein is in their current diet. The ingredients can tell you a lot. Try to find a food that lists an animal protein first and has as many animal proteins listed as possible (the closer to the top of the list, the better). Ideally, you want to find a cat food that has the least processed, freshest, animal protein possible.
Protein is not the only point of concern for obligate carnivores like cats. Carbohydrates can be damaging to a cat's body. Their bodies do not have the necessary enzymes to break down carbohydrates efficiently. Small amounts of carbohydrates are not a big deal, but eating a lot of them consistently can lead to illness in cats.
How do you know how many carbohydrates are in your cat’s food? Check the ingredient label. Often you will see ingredients such as corn, corn meal, corn gluten, wheat, peas, and other plant matter listed. Improve your cat's diet by trying to find a cat food with as few of these plant based ingredients as possible. If they are listed further down in the ingredients list that is a plus too.
No cat food is perfect! Just like we (humans) use vitamins to supplement our diets, cats need their vitamins too. Talk to your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist about the supplements that would improve your cat's diet specifically. A cat’s needs can vary based on factors like age and health conditions.
There are two common nutritional supplements that are of great help to cats:
Free feeding is easy and that is why it is so commonly used. A bowl of food is left out for your cat to eat whenever they please. If the bowl is found to be empty, it is simply refilled again.
Scheduled feeding is more work, but it can really help you to improve your cat's diet. With scheduled feeding, you have specific times when your cat will be fed. After a few minutes, the cat’s dish is picked up again and your cat must wait until meal time comes around again to eat again.
What are the advantages of scheduled feeding for cats?
Sources & Digging Deeper: