Proper cat nutrition is important for your cat to live a long and healthy life. It is important that your cat gets the right vitamins, minerals, and nutrition to aid good health, which means feeding him the right food and the right portions.
What is needed in a cat's diet?
All cats have a natural craving for meat, since they are carnivores. This is just one of the many ingredients you need to look for when selecting best food for your cat.
Having enough Taurine is essential to a cat's development. If a kitten does not have this, it could go blind or develop cardiomyopathy, which is a fatal heart disease.
Choose a quality cat food (preferably a
natural cat food
) that has all the necessary nutrients a cat needs.
The following is needed to properly nourish your cat:
- Protein for healthy body tissue
- Carbs for energy
- Fat to absorb and store vitamins for a shiny coat
- Vitamins for a healthy metabolism
- Minerals for skin, fur and development
Cat nutrition also depends on what kind of cat you are feeding. Do you have a kitten? Learn what to feed your kitten with this
guide. A fully grown adult cat or an older senior cat will have different nutritional needs than a kitten has.
When feeding your cat, it is important to be aware of the food's nutritional value, but also to be aware of a possible cat food recall. There are a number of decisions that you will have to make to ensure that the food contains the right cat nutrition levels for your pet.
-- Cat Nutrition --
Dry Food vs Canned Food
Dry food has a hard, crunchy texture, and is good for keeping your cats teeth clean from tartar build up. You can also keep it out longer for when you’re gone throughout the day. Many of the scientifically produced dry foods these days provide great nutrition but make sure you buy the high quality ones. The ingredients in these also keep your cat fuller for longer, which means he will need less of it to feel full and nourished.
Some people prefer to buy canned food and there is some high quality canned food out there. However, look out for preservatives and additives, which can lower the nutritional value of the food – and don't buy the really cheap food if you can help it, as there will be little by way of nutrition and vitamins in it.
Do taste tests to find out what type of food your cat prefers, and also which type agrees with his stomach more. You can, of course, give your cat a combination of canned and dry food as part of his diet.
Having trouble reading the label on your cat's food?
Cat food labels can be confusing, just some human food labels. It is important to know exactly what you are putting into your cat's diet.
When looking at a food label, always check for what ingredient is listed first. If you see chicken, or a chicken bi-product, this means the food is higher in protein. If corn is listed first, that means the food it's higher in carbohydrates, aka "fillers". Your cat’s food should not contain large amounts of carbs. Remember, cats are made to eat meat, so that should always be the first, or at least the second, ingredient listed on their food label.
Cat Nutrition Guidelines to Follow
- Minimum 28% protein for adult cats
- 31 to 32% normal
- Fat 21%
- Minerals 6%
- Vitamins 2%
- Fiber 3%
- and Carbohydrates 36%
Once you have picked out what food you will use, be sure the American Feed Control Officials (AAFCU) has tested it. This will be printed on the label.
Finally, will your cat like what food you've picked out?
Your cat may or may not like the food you select. If you are trying to introduce a new food into his diet, do this slowly. Don’t switch his food all at once; try mixing in a small amount of new food with his old food for about 7-10 days, then slowly increase the amounts you give him, until eventually, you’re only giving him new food.
Kittens are more likely to try a variety of foods if they start eating kitten food when they are first weaned from their mother.
Drinking enough water is important for cats, so be sure to have plenty of fresh water out. If your cat doesn’t get enough water, he will end up dehydrated. An average 10-lb cat needs one 1/4 cup of water a day.
Have you ever given your cat milk? Adult cats actually lack the enzyme that allows them to digest lactose so try to avoid giving your adult cat any milk. You can get special milk designed for cats but cats do not need milk as part of their diets – water is fine as long as they are getting plenty of nutrition through their food.
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