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The Purr-fect Feed – Must-Know Tips for Feeding Your Cat!

Cat dietary requirements

Cats are among the most lovable pets around the world. According to the American Pet Product Association, a huge 46.5 million households in the United States have a cat. Their cute little faces, soft fur, and playful character make them irresistible!

After all, cat care is a big responsibility. One of the most important things is making sure they’re getting the right food and nutrition.

Probably your thoughts are, “How hard can it be to feed a cat?” Well, the truth is that there are quite a few things you need to take into account – from knowing what nutrients they need to select high-quality foods, keeping portion sizes under control, and dealing with any specific cat dietary requirements your pet might have.

No need to stress out, we got you covered! This guide will simplify everything, and make it easy to comprehend these essential cat nutrition tips.

Tip 1: Know Your Cat’s Nutritional Requirements

Tips for feeding a cat

The nutritional requirements of cats are unique, therefore, before we get into the specifics of feeding your cat, it is crucial to understand their unique nutritional needs. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they can only maintain their body functions with animal-based proteins.

Unlike dogs and humans, cats cannot synthesize certain indispensable nutrients by themselves, such as taurine, vitamin A, and some amino acids. These nutrients must be obtained through their diets.

Did you know that on average a cat needs between 20-30% of its daily calories from protein? It is important to choose high-quality, animal-based proteins for your cat as they help the body build and maintain muscle mass, support the immune system, and boost skin and hair health.

Tip 2: Select High-Quality Cat Food

Cat feeding tips

When it comes to feeding a cat, remember that not all cat foods are the same. Stick with quality, balanced cat foods that are specially designed for your cat’s life stage and breed. Try to buy cat foods that have animal-based proteins listed as the first few ingredients in the ingredients label, including chicken, turkey, or fish.

In addition, be cautious about the cat food guaranteed analysis on the label. This section is meant to provide data about the minimum percentages of crude protein, crude fat, fiber, and moisture content in the food.

As stated by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), adult cat foods must include protein content of at least 26% and 9% fat on a dry matter basis and check the AAFCO tag to ensure it meets the necessary nutritional standards for your cat’s life stage. So, do not forget to verify the details before you purchase.

Tip 3: Wet or Dry Food, Which One is the Best?

feed a cat wet and dry food

The age-old debate: wet or dry food? The fact is, there are advantages and disadvantages on both sides. Some cats like the Ragdoll may prefer wet food, which is called canned or pouched food, as it has a higher moisture content that can help kitties stay hydrated. It is also tastier and more appetizing for cats, especially aging adults or breeds with flatter faces like the Persian cats who might have a poorer sense of smell.

However, dry food, which is commonly known as kibble, is more convenient, less messy, and also assists in cleaning a cat’s teeth through the crunchy texture. Many veterinarians suggest a mix of wet and dry food as it helps to provide a well-balanced diet and potentially satisfy your cat’s preferred eating style, so you can feed a cat wet and dry food.

Tip 4: Schedule the Feeding Time

Cat feeding

Cats are creatures of habit, and setting up a regular feeding time can assist in managing their appetite and prevent overeating or food begging. Most cats are happy eating twice a day, with a gap of around 8-12 hours between each meal. Yet, some cats like the Norwegian Forest Cat could be picky eaters and would want smaller, more frequent meals.

Take into account your kitty’s unique likes and that will help you to figure out the perfect feeding time. Also, make sure that your kitty has drinking water all the time because hydration plays an important role in maintaining overall health.

Tip 5: Portion Control and Calorie Counting

Cat nutrition tips

Cats are often overfed by their owners, which can result in obesity and other health issues. It’s very important to understand your cat’s calorie requirement based on its age, weight, and activity level to prevent them from being overfed. The average cat needs only 20 calories for each pound of body weight per day to remain a lean and graceful animal.

Use our Cat Calorie Calculator to find out the exact daily calorie intake for your kitty. This useful tool considers variables such as your cat’s weight, age, and level of activity and suggests a personalized recommendation.

Secondly, once you know your cat’s daily caloric intake, you should measure out their portion sizes according to that. Make sure you use a measuring cup or a scale to give the right amount of food in each serving.

Based on a survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) in the US, it is estimated that 59% of cats are overweight or obese. Yikes! We don’t want your pet to be one of those statistics.

Tip 6: Introduce New Foods Gradually

Tips for Feeding Your Cat

Cats are known to be very choosy about their food and if a sudden change in their diet is made, it can cause digestive upset or a total refusal to eat. If you want to introduce a new food, first mix small amounts of the new food with their current food over a week or two. This is one of the useful Tips for feeding a cat to prevent digestive issues.

This gradual change in diets gives your cat’s digestive system enough time to adapt to the new food and makes it less likely to have gastrointestinal upsets. Furthermore, monitor your cat’s reaction towards the new diet and look out for any signs of allergies or intolerances like vomiting, diarrhea, or scratching too much.

Tip 7: Hydration Is The Main Thing

cat drinking water

Water is a must-have for your cat’s general health and well-being. Cats tend to dehydrate especially if they are fed mostly dry food. Keep in mind to offer your cat fresh and clean drinking water at different places around your house for proper hydration.

Use our Cat Water Intake Calculator to find out the correct daily water intake for your felines depending on their weight, age, and activity level. This tool can assist you in tracking your cat’s water intake and making any necessary changes.

Furthermore, try adding water to your cat’s wet food or even get a cat water fountain, since the flowing water helps cats drink more.

Tip 8: Supplements and Treats in Moderation

Wet or Dry Food for cat

Although supplements and treats are a good way to give extra nutrients or rewards to your cat, you should make sure to use them in moderation. Excessive consumption of treats can lead to weight gain and cause the diet to be imbalanced.

If you opt to give supplements to your cat, ask your vet first to make sure that they are safe and specific to your cat’s individual needs. The supplements that are usually given to cats are omega fatty acids, probiotics, and vitamin B supplements.

When it comes to treats, try to make sure that no more than 10% of your cat’s daily calories are treats, and choose low-calorie, protein-rich ones like freeze-dried meat or small pieces of chicken.

Tip 9: Meet Special Dietary Requirements

Feeding Time for cat

Some cats might have special dietary needs as a result of some health conditions, allergies, or age-related challenges. For instance, senior cats may need a protein-rich diet with fewer calories to keep their muscles in good shape and promote healthy aging.

If your cat has a condition that has been diagnosed by a veterinarian, such as an illness of kidney, diabetes, or food allergies, work closely with the doctor to have a customized diet plan considering the specific nutritional needs that are unique to your cat.

Tip 10: Keep a Track on Your Cat’s Body Condition

Cats eating

Periodic evaluation of your cat’s body condition may help you notice early signs of inadequate diet or other health problems. A healthy cat should have a visible waistline when viewed from above and should be able to feel but not see their ribs.

If you discover your cat is either gaining or losing weight fast or their body condition looks different in any way, see your vet for advice on any dietary alterations that need to be made.

A study found that as many as 58% of pet owners are not even aware that their pet is overweight or obese. So, don’t be part of that percentage! Be sure to monitor your cat’s body condition and modify their feeding schedule accordingly.

Bonus Tip: Improve Your Cat’s Feeding Experience

High-Quality Cat Food

Giving food to your pet isn’t just about filling up the bowl, and then you are done. It’s a chance to provide them with a richer environment and to mimic their instincts of hunting.

For example, larger breeds like the Maine Coon may particularly enjoy using puzzle feeders or food dispensing toys that make cats work for their food, which comes close to the natural hunt-and-forage process their ancestors engaged in.

These mental and physical activities have the potential to work magic for your cat. It can help to overcome boredom, lower stress levels, and even promote a healthy weight by slowing down their eating pace.

FAQs

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need to eat animal-derived proteins of the highest quality. Check for cat food products that have chicken, turkey, or fish mentioned as the first few ingredients. These proteins provide the cats with such vital nutrients as taurine and amino acids which they are incapable of producing on their own.

No, cats cannot be vegan or vegetarian. Their bodies are adapted to get the vital nutrients from animal-based proteins and the plant-based diet lack these nutrients and thus can cause various health problems.

Most cats like to eat two meals per day, spaced about 8-12 hours apart. Yet, some cats may be inclined to eat small meals more often. Pay attention to your cat’s tastes and adjust the feeding schedule as needed.How much water should my cat drink?

Hydration is no less than important for your cat’s health in general. Use our Cat Water Intake Calculator to figure out the daily water intake amount that is appropriate for your cat’s weight, age, and activity level. Moreover, you may add water to wet food or choose to use a cat water fountain to increase water intake.

While some human foods like grilled chicken or fish can be safe for cats in moderation, it should be noted that feeding them table scraps or processed foods is not recommended. Try to stick to treats that are formulated for cats and always consult your vet before you introduce any new food to your cat’s diet.

A healthy cat should be able to see their waistline when viewed from above and should be able to feel but not see their ribs. If your cat is demonstrating fast weight gain or a significant change in the body condition, contact your vet to adjust the diet.

No. It’s better to introduce new foods progressively. Changing the cat’s food drastically can result in digestive disorders or a total refusal to eat. Introduce small amounts of new food by mixing it with current food gradually over a week or two to give their digestive system time to adapt to the change.

The puzzle feeders and the food-storing toys are like interactive games for your kitty! Rather than just eating out of a bowl, these clever gadgets force your kitty to hunt down their food, similar to when they are out in nature looking for food. This helps to keep them mentally and physically active, combat boredom, relieve stress, and even control their weight by slowing their eating.

Final Words

After all, at the end of the day, it is proper nutrition, that is the key to your feline friend being healthy and happy. We’ve talked about everything from cat feeding tips, including carnivory requirements, to the choice of high-quality food, portion control, and suitable diets. Keep in mind that each cat is different.

Therefore, it is important to take notice of what they like or dislike, as well as their reactions to specific activities. Following these suggestions and staying informed about your cat’s individual dietary needs, you can make sure she succeeds and lives a long life by your side.

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