The Skinny on Cat Food
10 June, 2013

Some cats are finicky eaters while other cats have no problem eating whatever you give them.  But, just as in humans, cats need a well-rounded diet that consists of protein, fat, water, carbohydrates, and vitamins and minerals.  If you are a new cat owner or just want a little more information on feeding your cat, the below will give you a quick education on what type of food and how much to feed your cats.

Cats need protein in their food

Cats, similar to humans, need protein and depending on the type and brand of cat food, protein may come from animal or plant sources. Soy, chicken, lamb, turkey, and fish are examples of proteins. Cat food also contains by-products of these sources.

Cats also rely mainly on nutrients found in animals that contain high protein, moderate fat, and minimal carbohydrates. Their bodies are made to metabolize animal proteins and also need the amino acids that are found in animal-based protein. Some cats have to eat prescription food if their bodies don’t make these in adequate amounts.  High quality cat food will have ingredients that are not byproducts.

Dry or canned food?

There are very different schools of thought about dry food versus wet food. It seems to be though, as long as the food is high-quality there is little difference. Some cats will benefit from higher moisture content found in wet food.   Most cats do fine on dry food and you can add some water to it.

Canned food may have more protein than dry food and contains about 75% water while dry food may have only 10% of water.   Simply keeping a bowl of water in addition to dry food might not be enough for some cats. Having a diet that includes both canned and dry food can create a good balance between proteins, fats, and ensure that your cat is well hydrated.  And, most cats LOVE the canned food – so why deprive them.

When looking at the labels on your cat food, make sure that protein is on the top of the list.  Most high-quality cat food will have a specific label of the ingredients in the food. This helps you have a good guideline of what brands and types of food to buy and also know that the ratios of nutrients, fats, proteins, and fat are correct or meet the standards necessary for your cat.

Feeding your cat

Some people feed their cats once or twice a day and others just leave food out all day. Some cats can regulate their diets and eat until their full while others gorge whatever is in front of them. Overall, to make sure your cat stay slim and in shape, portion control is the best.

Switching to a new cat food

If you decide to switch to a new cat food, make sure to do so slowly.  Mix the new food with the old food. You can start by adding a 1/4 of the new food to the old and slowly increase this amount until your cat is completely moved onto the new brand. Watch for any changes in your cat’s appetite and litter box in case the new food doesn’t settle well in their system.  Or if our cat walks away from the food and doesn’t eat it, try another kind.

Each cat is different and has special needs and tastes. There are so many brands of food out there from common brands to specialty holistic brands and it can be confusing to find what brand and type of food works best for your cat.    However, the most important customer is your cat.  He or she will let you know if he likes the cat food.

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