Cats can be picky eaters, but they have no problem letting you know when they are hungry.
Such is the life of a pet parent to these often aloof animals. If you’re a cat owner, you can probably relate. Cat care can sometimes be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be.
Picking out the right food for your feline friend is just one of the many ways you can concentrate on optimizing your cat’s health. Along with the right nutrition, you should make sure your cat is getting enough food, and not too much, as well as strengthening positive behavior.
If you’re wondering whether or not your cat is getting all it needs to thrive, you’re not alone. Here are 7 tips to help you get off on the right paw!
7. Type of food
Cats need lean protein to sustain their bodies. As such, it is an important nutrient in any pet food product you choose, though it may not always be the first ingredient listed.
Many believe that dry food is less beneficial for feline health and avoid it altogether. According to the Conscious Cat, sometimes dry cat food contains high levels of carbohydrates and is not nutritionally appropriate for cats.
Any way you choose it, a good cat food is packed full of the right nutrients, is filler-free, and tastes good to your furry friend!
Feeding your feline a food with higher nutrient content means you can feed them less to meet their daily requirements. Narrowing down those nutrients might take some research, or consulting with a veterinarian, but providing a diet of real food meals is a good start, the Feline Nutrition Foundation reports.
Cats need protein, fat, water, vitamins and minerals to thrive. And animals that lack those nutrients can wind up with serious health issues. Cat foods previously manufactured without the amino acid taurine, for instance, led to a number of feline deaths.
“Obesity is the most common nutritional disease seen in cats,” Joe Bartges, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, DACVN, told WebMD.
The amount of food, and frequency at which you feed your pet can make a big difference in its health. When determining how much to feed your pet, you should always consult your veterinarian.
The Cornell Feline Health Center maintains that feeding frequency depends largely on a cat’s age, health, and own preference. While kittens may require more food, more often, to sustain their growth, adult cats can live on two feedings a day.
According to Animal Planet, leaving a bowl of food out for your cat to “free-feed” is one way to promote overeating. Keeping the feedings regular and measured out can help prevent obesity or health issues from a lack of nutrition.
Cats may need less water per pound of body weight than other pets to survive, but it is still a vital need in their diets.
According to Dr. Jennifer Coates at PetMD, cats get their daily water requirements either by drinking it or eating wet food, as most canned varieties are between 68 and 78 percent water.
2. Foods to avoid
Apart from some cheap and nutritionally devoid dry foods, a number of other ingredients can cause your cat problems. As WebMD reports, while kittens are quite cute lapping up a saucer of milk, adult cats just don’t have the stomachs to handle the lactose. And just like with dogs, grapes, raisins, caffeine, alcohol, and chocolate are also on the list of dietary no-nos.
Treats are great for behavioral training, the Humane Society maintains, but give your furry friend too many and you may find it meowing for more when they’re not necessary. Feed them as needed, and sparingly, and your cat will be content.
And when it comes to picking out those treats, avoid additives like synthetic preservatives, BPA, artificial food dyes, and by-products, Why Cat Why recommends.
Follow these simple steps to ensure your beloved pet is eating right and getting the nutrition it needs to live a long and healthy life. And if you ever have any questions, always consult your veterinarian.
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