Cat Food and Nutrition
Right choice of food for cats is a biggest challenge for cat’s keeper. Cat food comes in so much types and it is not difficult to research about what cat nutritional factors are required and what is the ingredient that is harmful for cats. Toxic or dangerous foods for cats and kittens should be avoided on all costs. Commercially available food for cats should be high quality and not all emphasis should be on providing cat with dry food type.
Feeding concerns are one of the top priorities among cat owners. With a wide variety of cat foods to choose from, it is difficult for owners to know which one is the best for providing best cat nutrition. Before choosing the type and kind of cat food it is essential for owners to know a few details about dietary needs of cats:
- Cats are obligate carnivores, so their natural diet mainly consists of proteins attained from muscle based meat.
- Their diet should consist of taurine, which is an amino acid present in meat, and is vital for the eyesight, heart function and reproductive system of cats. Taurine is not present in a plant based diet.
- Cats only need moderate level of fat in their food, which is mainly used to absorb vitamins. Overly fatty food results in weight problems among cats.
- Even though cats do not have a strong thirst drive, water is essential for their kidney and urinary tract health. In their natural environment, 70% of water is obtained from their food. High amount of water intake is essential to keep cat healthy.
- Cats just need 3-5% carbohydrates in their diet. High amount of carbohydrates disturbs their blood sugar and insulin level.
Foods To Avoid
- Cats should never be given chocolate; it acts as a toxic to their digestive system.
- Sugar is harmful for the immune system of cats. Because carbohydrates are made up of units of sugar, they should also be avoided.
- Canned tuna or raw egg whites deplete Vitamin E reserves of a cat.
- Onions cause anemia in cats.
- Cow milk causes upset stomach in cats.
- Pork contains parasites that hurt a cat’s sensitive digestive system.
- Liver should not be fed if Vitamin A is being added to the food separately.
- Bones should not be fed to cats for they will splinter or pierce throat and stomach walls.
- Pet food designed for other animals should not be fed to cats: their unique nutritional needs will not be fulfilled.
- Commercial cat food with ingredients like ‘animal digest’ or ‘artificial flavor’ or ‘by-products’ should not be fed to cats.
Diet For Obese Cats
Cat nutrition should be balanced in a careful way. Owners have to take the necessary actions so as to decrease the cat’s weight for the extra weight strains the organs of the cat like the heart, liver and kidneys. And furthermore, it may trigger other health problems as well.
- The owner should not switch to low fat foods for the obese cat which will result in the cat being hungry more often and eating more. Instead, the best way is to feed the cat high quality, balanced diet and strictly following a twice a day meal schedule.
- Dry food is more prone to cause obesity due to high carbohydrate content and due to being usually served in all-you-can-eat fashion. Thus overweight cats on exclusive dry food diets should be switched over to a wet food diet.
- Old obese cats should be given wet foods so as to maintain healthy kidney function. Since older cats have a less active digestive system so it might be helpful to give them smaller more frequent meals in order to digest it properly.
- Cats should not lose more than half a pound of weight per month; otherwise they face risk of more health issues.