Tips on How to Feed Your New Kitty or Cat
17 April, 2014

If you have just brought a kitty or cat into your home, there are so many things to consider.  You want to make sure your home is cat or kitty proof, have the right bed or space and the right food to eat.  And cats are much more particular about what they eat so it’s important to get the right type of food from the start so you don’t have to vary it too much.

Your veterinarian will give you some good guidelines

As always, your vet is a great place to start to give you suggestions on what to feed your kitty. Even though most cats have the same basic requirements, individual factors are relevant. Your cat’s age, sex, breed, weight, activity level, general health and medical conditions affect his or her nutritional needs. Also, important differences exist between the calorie and ingredient content of wet and dry cat food.

Make sure to look at the calorie count

Just as with our people food, your cat food is required to have the nutritional information on its label. Calorie count per serving or per package is not part of the data mandated by law. While some manufacturers do provide this information on their labels, most do not. Sometimes you can see a canned food’s calorie content on the product page of the manufacturer’s website.

Your cat’s calorie needs

Although various factors affect your kitty’s exact calorie needs, there are some basic guidelines. A growing kitten weighing 4 pounds generally needs 300 calories per day, which is about the same as a healthy 9 to 10 pound adult cat needs. That same adult cat, if overweight and put on a diet by her veterinarian, probably only needs around 200 daily calories. Talk to your veterinarian about how many calories to feed your pet each day so you know all the relevant individual factors have been taken into consideration.

Wet cat food is less calorie-dense than dry food

With a typical moisture content around 75 percent, canned cat food is far less calories than dry food, which is usually made up of only about 10 percent moisture. In other words, wet food is more filling with fewer calories. Whether this is a positive or a negative depends on the situation. If your cat is overweight, it’s definitely a plus. If your kitty isn’t taking in quite as many calories as your veterinarian recommends, the lower caloric density of wet food may represent a drawback.

Wet food has more animal protein but a shorter shelf life

Aside from the caloric density, wet and dry cat foods have other significant differences. One key companion advantage to wet food is that it’s higher in the animal-based protein and fat your kitty needs and lower in unnecessary carbohydrates that contribute to excess weight and obesity. Also, the higher moisture content helps prevent dehydration and benefits cats with diabetes or kidney problems.  However, canned food is generally more expensive and, once opened, it requires refrigeration and has a short shelf life.

Your cat’s body weight

If your cat has extra weight, he or she may struggle to be active and your kitty is at increased risk for developing diabetes, arthritis, fatty liver disease and other problems. The lower caloric density and more nutrient-appropriate content of wet food can help. Also, because canned food can’t sit out for extended periods like dry food, your cat is less likely to overeat with free choice feeding. Remember that it isn’t only diet but exercise that can help your kitty stay slim and not too many treats.

Each cat has different needs and likes when it comes to food.  If your cat eats regularly with a healthy cat food, has plenty of water and exercise, he or she should thrive.

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