Tips to Make Sure Your Cat Has a Proper Diet
6 April, 2015
Some of our cats are inherently good eaters and will eat whatever you give them, while others are extremely fussy. The most important outcome of what you feed your cat is how your cat thrives on his or her current diet. And, of course, that your cat likes to eat and has just the right amount of food each day (and water).
However, if you are unsure if you are feeding your cats properly, below are some over tips to help.
1. Make sure to feed your kitty a diet that contains mostly poultry or chicken-liver variety. Avoid beef (some cats have trouble digesting beef), lamb, corn, soy or milk products. A small amount of dry food provides the “crunch” that cats crave. Make sure to read the labels. A diet that is called “Chicken Entree” may only contain a small amount of poultry. Ingredients are listed on labels with those in the largest amount listed first.
2. Avoid marketing hype and realize that those funny colors are put in foods for humans—our kitties could care less. It’s better to have quality ingredients that look closer to real food. Mixed colors are a bad idea in a dry food!
3. Think critically about ingredients. Especially with dry diets, ingredients like herbs, mushrooms, etc. are unlikely to survive the heating process and might not be a benefit to your cat and could cause digestive issues.
4. Within reason, it’s okay to treat your cats periodically to some cooked poultry. Other cats enjoy cantaloupe, tomatoes, etc. Remember that treats are exactly that—treats—and not the basis of a complete diet. Always start with little pieces to see what your cat can tolerate.
5. Pay attention to your cat’s appetite on a daily basis. A healthy cat eats well every day and really looks forward to mealtime. If your cat or kitten misses a day or two of eating, call your veterinarian. Often times, if your cat loses his or her appetite, it is one of the first signs of serious disease in cats. You don’t need to be alarmed unless this occurs for more than one day.
6. Never force your cat to eat a new food. Although it seems like a dog will eat almost anything that is wrapped up in cheese or peanut butter, our cats are more discriminating. Make food changes slowly and patiently. Cats can and will starve themselves if confronted with a new food not to their liking. If you need to change food, introduce the new food slowly by mixing with the old food until your cat is ready for the full changeover.
7. Always provide a source of fresh, clean water daily to your cats. Some cats will drink out of a wide, shallow bowl, but others prefer their water from a circulating water fountain or even a glass. And try to make sure that your cat does drink water to balance his or her die.
8. Evaluate your cat’s diet by how your cat or kitten looks and feels. Cats that are eating an excellent diet are lean, have a shiny coat, don’t have dandruff and aren’t constipated or plagued with vomiting and diarrhea. If you can easily feel your cat’s ribs (but not see them) and if your kitty has a tuck after the ribcage (when you look down upon him or her), most likely the weight is just right. Sick cats lose the normal fat pad over the spine. You should never be able to easily feel the bones of your cat’s spine.
9. Always speak with your veterinarian about nutritional concerns. As always, your veterinarian is your cat’s most knowledgeable resource for nutrition and advice and can recommend the best type of food for your specific cat.
Each cat is different and will take to and react differently to his or her food. Therefore, buy in small amounts at first until you find what is best for your kitty.
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