Basic Nutrition For Cats
By Zara Willmott
Basic Nutrition for Cats: Cats are what are known as obligate carnivores. An obligate carnivore must eat meat. Through evolution, their digestive system has been shortened and optimized for proteins from meat. They simply don’t have the dental or digestive apparatus to process plant materials. It’s therefore surprising, given their physical inability to process plants, that you will still find cats nibbling on plants from time to time. There are many theories for why cats would nibble plants. They may be trying to balance an upset digestion or add missing vitamins and minerals. Perhaps they simply like the taste.
What to Feed
Fortunately these days, we don’t have to go out and hunt for food to feed our cats. There are a large number of very good, nutritionally balanced foods available in pet stores to satisfy any cats’ tastes. Try to feed good quality food. Talk with your vet, see what they recommend for your kitty’s health, breed and age. It really does make a difference in the health and appearance of your pet. Pick one that your cat likes and stick with it. Cats don’t actually need a lot of variety. Changing their food constantly tends to just make them picky eaters. They can be stubborn and refuse to eat unless it’s their favorite.
Food for Different Ages:
Nutritional requirements for your pet will vary by age and size. What she needs as a kitten will be very different than what she will need as an adult. Be sure to follow the instructions on the bag to avoid feeding too much or too little. Again your vet can help guide you so you don’t over or underfeed. Cats appreciate consistency in their feeding schedules. Try to feed them at the same time each day. Also, try to keep their bowls out of high traffic areas. It’s hard to eat your dinner when people are stepping on you! This is especially important if your kitty is skittish or anxious.
When you need to switch from one type of food to the other, do so in a gradual process. Shifting gradually from one to the other over the course of a week will help prevent digestive upsets. You may need to switch foods because your store may stop carrying the brand you like or perhaps your kitten has grown old enough to graduate to adult food. Do the changeover slowly and your cat will thank you for it.
Try not to feed your cat people food. Some things, such as chocolate, are actually toxic to cats. Others can cause digestive upset. Offering some cooked meat as a treat is great but keep in mind that it’s best plain (no seasoning) and be sure to remove the bones from any cooked meat you might want to give to your cat. Poultry and pork bones in particular can splinter in the digestive tract and can injure your cat.
Feeding treats is something for you to decide if you want to do it. Some people are dead set against them. Others lavish treats on their pets at every opportunity. There are many good cats treats on the market today. Read their directions carefully. You don’t want to overindulge your cat and turn her into a furry beach ball with legs. You can even try making your own
Feeding your cat a good well-balanced diet is the best way to keep them healthy. We didn’t touch on Raw Diets in this blog post, if you are considering a Raw Diet please consult with a Vet and research thoroughly.