Feeding your cat a well-balanced, veterinarian formulated diet is essential to their overall wellbeing. Cat’s have varying nutritional needs based on their age and health, so it is important to discuss food options with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will also assess your cat’s body composition at each wellness visit to determine their ideal weight and make feeding recommendations.
Nutritional Requirements for Cats:
Cats require water, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and minerals just like humans do! However, human food is not meant for our pets because it can be too fatty and most can be toxic for our feline friends. Also, it is important to always incorporate some canned food as well because cats are not as effective at drinking as dogs are. Canned food can help sneak that water into their normal routine to help maintain the cat's hydration.
Wet Food vs Dry Food:
Both wet and dry food have their own individual benefits - so it’s unsurprising that we will often recommend a combination of both.
Wet food has a higher moisture content, which can help increase your cat’s total water intake but is also prone to bacterial growth and should not be left out longer than an hour. Wet food also is also easier for cats to chew and contain more variety in the diet.
Dry food is more convenient and has a longer shelf life, making it more cost effective! Additionally, crunchy kibble helps reduce plaque and tartar buildup on cats’ teeth but may be more difficult for older cats to chew.
Nutritional requirements throughout each stage of life: kitten, adult, and senior.
Your cat will have various nutritional requirements during each stage of their development and it is important to feed them food specifically formulated to support their growth. Kittens need more calories, whereas senior cats may need food with lower proteins and more electrolytes due to chronic kidney disease which is common in older cats. Additionally, your cat may even need a prescription diet to manage any GI or health issues. It’s important to consult with your veterinarian regarding your cat’s diet and any changes you want to make in their normal feeding routine.
Poor Nutrition in Cats:
Obesity is one of the most common health issues among cats and is often a result of poor nutrition, which can lead to many other health concerns. Since it is difficult to increase their exercise levels, it is especially important to be proactive in maintaining your cat’s healthy diet.
Signs of poor nutrition in your cat:
- Inconsistent appetite
- Skin disorders
- Changes in stool
- Weight fluctuations
Cat Nutrition Q & A:
What are some common food allergies in cats and how can I tell if my cat is suffering from them?
Food allergies or sensitivities can present as GI related with vomiting or diarrhea, or skin lesions/hair loss.
Will free-choice feeding make my cat overweight?
Potentially. Most cats are innately grazers, so feeding a properly measured amount of food either once or twice a day may help to reduce overeating. Keeping your cat active and engaged with play helps promote a healthy weight.
What supplements should I give my cat?
Supplements should be considered on an individual basis. Discuss these with your veterinarian.