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5 Great Ways to Improve Your Cat’s Diet

by Robin Mudge March 20, 2017 0 Comments

5 Great Ways to Improve Your Cat’s Diet

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.

 

#1: Improve Your Cat's Diet With Wet Food 

Is your cat dehydrated? Unlike humans and dogs, cats don’t have a strong thirst drive. Even if a cat has plenty of fresh clean water available to them, it isn’t likely that they will drink enough water to stay hydrated. In the wild, cats stay hydrated by eating moisture-rich prey like mice (which are about 70% moisture) rather than simply drinking water.

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%.

 

#2: Choose Cat Foods with More Protein

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.

 

#3: Cut Down on Carbohydrates

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.

  improve cat diet

#4: Add Supplements

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:

  • Taurine.
    This is an amino acid that is only found animal proteins. Most commercial cat foods already have plenty of taurine, but a little extra can’t hurt. Cat’s that don’t get enough taurine in their diets slowly begin to have heart and vision problems over a few months. Death can result if the deficiency goes on long enough.
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids
    These fatty acids help with immune system function and a number of other important systems. It can be tough to get enough Omega 3 fatty acids from a commercial cat food. The problem is that they are quite sensitive and are degraded by the high temperatures used in processing cat food. They are often lost in storage as well.

 

#5: Use Scheduled Feeding Instead of Free Feeding

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?

  • You can monitor your cat’s eating habits.
    One of the easiest ways to know that your cat is sick is to see that they do not want to eat. It can be hard to tell how much your cat is eating and when they are eating when you free feed.
  • You have more control over portions.
    Helping your cat maintain a healthy weight is really important. The same kinds of diseases that occur in humans because of obesity occur in cats too. Scheduled feeding gives you control over what your cat is eating and how much they are eating.
  • You can feed fresher foods.
    Fresh foods can go bad after being left out for a long time. For that reason, they are all but impossible to use in a free feeding situation. With scheduled feeding, you can use fresher foods and know exactly how fresh they are when they are being eaten.
  • You build a trusting relationship with your cat.
    When you hand your cat a plate of food, your cat connects you with a positive message. As you feed them consistently, they trust you for the most important thing in their life – food. Sometimes, this style of feeding helps super shy cats to finally bond with their owners.

What do you do to help improve your cat’s diet?

 

Sources & Digging Deeper:

Robin Mudge
Robin Mudge

Robin Mudge a cat lover and blogger based in Metro Detroit. Besides blogging at www.PlayfulKitty.net, she enjoys acting, singing, and teaching special needs students.



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