Paying attention to what you feed your cat can help them live longer and healthier lives. Proper nutrition can help cats stay healthy for longer, allowing you to save money at the vet by preventing disease and health problems. Follow these cat nutrition tips if you want to keep your cat healthy and ensure they live a long life.
- Avoid Kibble
Cats are carnivores, so they need meat to stay healthy. Dry kibble may not meet their needs the same way wet, meaty food can. Kibble is typically low in protein and water but high in carbs. Instead, feed your cat foods that are high in protein so they can live happy, healthy lives.
- Feed Your Cat According to Their Needs
Some cats have special dietary restrictions due to health concerns. If your cat has a health concern, consider speaking with your vet, who can recommend food and supplements to make your cat feel better.
- Avoid Toxic Foods
It can be tempting to share every bite of food with your cat, but human food can be toxic to them. Always avoid feeding your cat known toxic foods, including:
Ask your vet for a complete list of toxic foods and consult with them before you feed your cat anything off your plate.
- Don’t Feed Your Cat Too Much
Many people overfeed their cats, which makes them overweight. In fact, obesity is one of cats’ most common health concerns. While fat cats look adorable, obesity can cause numerous other health conditions, such as diabetes and arthritis, so never overfeed your cat. If you find your cat gaining weight, cut back on the food to help them stay a healthy weight.
Remember, most vets recommend between 20-35 calories a day per pound for your cat to keep them at a normal healthy weight, although actual amounts may vary. Consult your vet if you’re not sure how much to feed your cat.
- Give Your Cat Enough Water
Water is vital for all animals and accounts for up to 70% of a cat’s body weight. Having a water deficiency can become serious and result in illness or death, so your cat must always have access to clean and fresh water.
If you find your cat isn’t drinking the water you put out for them, consider leaving catnip in the water or adding water to their food.
- Choose a Balanced Cat Food
Every cat parent should know how to read food labels. People often focus on the ingredients when figuring out what to feed their cats, but they should really be focusing on protein and fat. To know whether or not you’re providing your cat with balanced feed, you can check for a mention from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) on the package. If you don’t see one, it’s not balanced cat food.
- Cat Supplements
If you’re feeding your cat balanced food, they will not need supplements. In fact, giving your cat more vitamins and minerals than they need could make your cat sick. Of course, if your cat has a specific health condition, they may need supplements, but you’ll only know that if your vet tells you. If your cat is eating healthy food, they will never need supplements, no matter what a company’s marketing says.
- Transition to New Food Slowly
You might have heard this advice if you’ve ever had a dog, but the same is true for cats. Switching your cat’s diet on them abruptly can result in unpleasant kitten diarrhea for both of you. It’s best to transition to a new food slowly by mixing some new food with the old and seeing how your cat responds.
- Cat Treats
You can give your cat treats, just as long as they aren’t contributing to weight gain. Remember, treats are for rewards and are typically not a good source of balanced nutrition. Treats should only make up around 10% of your cat’s daily calories. If you notice your cat is gaining weight, you can try switching to low-fat treats or use catnip as a reward since it’s calorie-free.
- Free Feeding
Before cats were domesticated, they ate their meals throughout the day, so it’s best to feed your cat multiple times a day, including in the morning, at noon, and before bed. If you feed your cat dry food, you can leave out a bowl of food throughout the day to allow your cat to free feed. However, you may choose to use dry food to supplement their high-protein diet of canned food to ensure they’re getting the proper nutrition.
- Get Ceramic or Stainless Steel Bowls
Stainless steel and ceramic bowls are healthier for your cat because they don’t retain as much bacteria as plastic bowls. Unfortunately, some cats may also have a plastic allergy which can threaten their health and wellness.
Additionally, you should clean your cat’s bowls out regularly. If you’re using ceramic or stainless steel bowls, you can throw them into the dishwasher at least once every few days to ensure your cat isn’t ingesting any bacteria.
- Importance of Cat Nutrition
As a pet parent, you want nothing but the best for your furry companion. Feeding your pet correctly can help you avoid preventable health concerns, including the most common, obesity. However, feeding your cat all depends on your ability to properly read nutrition labels to ensure they’re getting a balanced diet rich in fat and protein. If you’re unsure which food to buy your cat, always opt for wet, canned food as kibble may not contain the right balance of nutrients to keep your cat healthy and strong.
Learning how to take better care of your cat starts with proper nutrition. While exercise is important in preventing obesity, diet plays a more prominent role in their physical and mental health. By feeding your cat a healthy diet, they can become happier, playful, and healthier. If you don’t know what to feed your cat or how much, consult a vet who can give you more nutritional information for your cat based on their current health and weight.
Marné Amoguis holds a B.A. in International Business from UC San Diego. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing. Outside of writing, she loves traveling, playing music, and hiking.