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A lot of people opt for cats as pets, but a lot of them don’t know that cats are picky eaters. They develop a taste of what they like and what they don’t within the first year of their life. It is very important to feed the right food to your cat.
You might spend hours and hours browsing through online pet stores, looking for the best food and care tips for your cat, but no online pet store will be of help unless you understand the basic of feline nutrition. What you think is right for your cat might be doing the exact opposite of what you want for your cat.
For the well being of your cat, it is very important that you know what to do and what not to when it comes to feeding your cat.
What are a cat’s basic nutritional needs?
The most basic point regarding feline nutrition is, understanding the nutritional needs of a cat. A cat most importantly needs protein from fish, meat or other poultry products. Cats also need a certain type of amino acid known as Taurine. Lack of amino acids can lead to several health issues such as blindness, tooth decay etc. Apart from these, cats also need water, certain vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. What cats do not need are carbohydrates.
What is better? Canned food vs kibble.
There are two types of cat food available, canned and dry or kibble. While they both have their pros and cons. Most vets and nutritionists are of the opinion that cats should be fed a mix of both canned as well as kibble.
Dry food is easy to use and can be left out, whereas canned food contains water, which is good as most cats do not drink a lot of water regularly. It’s also a good idea to mix the two as cats often get bored of eating the same kind of food every day and eventually more than often give up eating altogether. Therefore it is a good idea to keep switching between canned food and dry food, so your cat is well fed all times and you can avoid health issues.
Cheaper food: doing more harm than good
Most first-time cat owners go for the cheapest cat food available in order to avoid spending too much. However, this very often is not true in most cases. Cats eat as much as they require eating in order to meet their nutritional needs. This means they might eat twice the amount of the cheap cat food, as compared to premium cat food.
The reason for this is that most substandard foods lack the required nutrition and continuous feeding leads to the serious medical issue.
How much and how often?
Most cats normally eat twice, around dawn and dusk. This is also usually the time they would be out and about hunting for prey. This makes it the ideal time to feed them.
The quantity that you feed your cat depends on her size, type, and level of activity. On an average, a cat needs around 200 calories. It is a good idea to also take advice from your vet. Most vets advice to feed cats at fixed hours and to keep the food away after, as cats will otherwise nibble on the food. Overfeeding is a big problem when it comes to cats. They are not good judges of how much to eat.
Foods to avoid
Like dogs and other pets, cats also have a sensitive system. You might feed your cat even when it doesn’t need to eat out of love. However, not everything that you feed your cat is necessarily good for it.
- Milk and other dairy products: cats often get diarrhoea and episodes of vomiting from milk and other dairy products are lactose intolerant.
- Raw meat: very often we toss a piece of raw meat towards our pets without thinking about what it does to their body. Cats can suffer from pancreatitis, diarrhoea and get exposed to the risk of Salmonella if fed raw meat too often.
- Onions and garlic: feeding your cat onions on a regular basis can cause anaemia and other digestive issues.
- Table scrap: as tempting as it might be table scraps will upset a cat’s stomach and nutritional balance.
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