How To Feed your Cat Kitten

How To Feed your Cat Kitten

How To Feed your Cat Kitten

Now comes the all-important question of what to feed your cat. Basically, cats need fresh water and a nutritious, balanced diet.  However, there is much more to this process beyond the realms of dry or canned cat food. 

How you feed your cat ultimately determines its life expectancy.  Similarly, how you feed yourself reflects your own life expectancy.  There are many negative things that can happen if your cat’s diet is poor.  This is often reflected by a dry, thin coat of fur.  Moreover, a poor diet can lead to obesity, which often leads to diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, liver disease, and kidney disease.  It can also lead to dental issues, poor nail growth, stomach problems, respiratory or bladder problems, and an overall poor immune system.

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It may seem like the cat food you use has your cat’s diet covered, but the truth is that sometimes the marketing used on the package can be deceitful.  Cat food packaging often claims that “cats love the taste” or that it is packed with nutrition but it is important to know the components of a healthy cat diet so you can make wise decisions for your furry friend.

Your cat’s diet should consist of 6 key ingredients: protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water.  Cats need a high-protein diet and the best source is food that is made from muscle meat.  Many commercial, big brand cat foods use plant-based proteins, which are not as healthy.  Your cat also needs carbohydrates, which you can find in fruit and vegetable sources.  Avoid any kind of food that uses grains. 

How To Feed your Cat Kitten
How To Feed your Cat Kitten

Fats are important because they act as your cat’s main source of energy.  They are important for skin health and they help your cat’s body absorb vitamins, which help process food.  Many commercial cat foods use synthetic vitamins, which are not as healthy as natural vitamins.  Minerals are also important for your cat’s functioning, although the needs of minerals will differ from cat to cat.  Finally, as you know, your cat needs water to stay hydrated.  Interestingly, cats prefer to drink from a running water source, so if possible you should let them drink from a faucet or a small fountain.

When it comes to purchasing cat food and picking a diet for your cat, there are some important things that you should take into consideration.  The worst types of cat food are the semi-moist kind (they often can be bought in pouches.)  Semi-moist food is like junk food for cats and is not recommended by health experts. 

Canned cat food is a better option because it contains a decent ratio of protein to carbohydrates.  Just remember that too much canned food can lead to dental problems later on.  When it comes to canned food, it is best to avoid commercial, big brand names and opt to go for ones that are manufactured by small, private companies, as they tend to use more natural ingredients. 

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Another option is to put your cat on a home-based diet, meaning that you prepare its meals using fresh meats such as chicken or turkey.  There is also the raw food diet, which utilizes raw ingredients.  You can purchase raw foods for cats at high-end pet stores or you could allow your cat to find its food on its own (such as by catching mice). 

If you opt to feed your cat using ready-made pet food, it is important to know how to read the label.  If you see any of the following words in the ingredients section on cat food, avoid buying it at all costs:

  • Corn syrup, salt, propylene, glycol, potassium sorbate, BHT, BHA, propyl gallate, ethoxquin, sodium nitrate, red/blue/yellow dyes, poultry by-products, meat by-products, artificial flavoring, oats, bran, rice, germ, soybean, sugar, or sorbitol

Also, it is important to be aware of price.  When it comes to cat food, you get what you pay for.  If you’re paying $5 for cat food, odds are the ingredients will not be very healthy.  Your cat is probably very important to you so don’t be afraid to spend a little more money on its diet.

Depending on what diet you choose for your cat, you may consider using dietary supplements.  It’s not a bad idea but you should certainly consult with your vet to make sure that it is the right thing for your cat.  Holistic vets are often very knowledgeable when it comes to cat supplements.  A good idea is to start by researching the company who manufactures your cat’s favorite food to see if they are missing any key ingredients. 

How To to transition your cat from old food to new

Finally, you may end up switching your cat’s diet.  When doing this, the most important thing is to be patient.  When your cat starts eating new food, it will cause its body to detox.  The slower your cat’s body detoxes, the better.  If it detoxes too fast, your cat may get sick. 

A good way to transition your cat from old food to new is to start by mixing both together.  Once a week, gradually add more and more new food and less of the old food.  This can be a very long process, depending on which diets you’re switching too (for example, a cat going from dry food to canned won’t need as long as a cat going from canned to a home-based diet).  Depending on the diet, give your cat at least 2 to 6 months to get used to the new food.

As always, consult with your vet on what you should do in terms of your cat’s diet.  Your cat may have special needs depending on its current health.  Here are some other basics of cat nutrition that you should know when it comes to feeding your pet:

  • By nature, cats are strict carnivores. For optimum health, they need meat and animal-based proteins. A lot of commercial cat foods contain plant-based protein (coming from grains and vegetables), which is cheaper but not ideal for cats. 
  • Canned food is better for your cat than dry kibble. Dry food is inferior because it tends to have very low water content, very high carbohydrate content, and plant-based rather than animal-based protein. Even though your cat may appear healthy enough eating only dry food, it is very likely it’s not getting enough nutrition. There is a chance that problems may arise later on, as certain cat diseases are associated with an exclusively dry food diet. These potential problems include diabetes, kidney disease, obesity, and dental issues. I give my three cats one can of wet cat food split between them in the morning, and then they will eat dry cat food the rest of the day.
  • Always provide fresh water together with the cat food, in a separate bowl. Always see to it that your cat gets enough water, especially on dry days. Replenish its water bowl as needed. It is a good idea to always keep the water bowl filled, so that your cat can drink whenever it feels thirsty.
  • Do not give bones to your cat. These will likely splinter into small, sharp pieces that can get caught in your poor cat’s throat.
  • Do not feed your cat with dog food! Strangely enough, some pet owners do this. What’s good for one species of pets is not good for another species.
  • If your cat does not finish its meal of moist food within two hours, refrigerate it. Or just throw it away. Moist food gets spoiled much faster than dry food.
  • When testing new cat food, buy small amounts at first to discover what your cat prefers. Cats can be very picky, so buying six different cans of cat food to find out which ones they like will save you a lot of hassle in the future.
  • Food and water bowls made of metal, ceramic and glasses are preferable to plastic. Plastic material can be scratched, and this creates a breeding space for harmful bacteria.
  • Cat treats are a big favorite by nearly all cats. They can be used to train your cat in a variety of things. They are also great for getting a cat to come to you at important times. Just shake the treat bag and they will usually come running.  However, it is important to note that cat treats should not make up more than 10% of your cat’s diet. A temptation cat treats is a huge favorite for my cats.

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