As cat parents start learning more about their cat's diet, they realize that it is, in fact, highly specialized. They are ‘obligate carnivores’, which means a chunk of their diet should be made up of meat-based ingredients to meet their body’s needs for specific nutrients. By nature, cats cannot be fully vegetarian.
Simply put, there is no single diet that is ideal or best for all cats. However, in general, cats thrive when their diet is high in protein and moisture with relatively fewer carbohydrates.
Why cat age matters when buying pet food?
When buying cat food, your cat’s age and/or health status definitely matters. Different life stages differ in their needs for specific nutrients as well as in their activity levels. Since kittens are still growing and they are generally more active than adults and senior cats, they will need more calories and a higher protein intake to meet their body’s growing needs. As cats grow, their requirements for various nutrients and number of calories change over the years. There may be cat food products that are marked with “For All Life Stages”, but it’s best to give your pet a life stage-appropriate diet that is balanced and complete. Also, as cats grow older, they may develop some hypersensitivities or health issues that will benefit from a specially-formulated diet. Working closely with your veterinarian can help address your pet’s particular needs.
What is a complete balanced diet?
Pet food is said to be ‘complete and balanced” when it provides pets with the right proportions of every single nutrient that the animal needs every day.
Which is best for my cat-- commercial pet food or homemade cat food?
Regardless of whether you will give commercial or homemade food to your cat, always remember the importance of giving a complete and balanced diet that is appropriate for your pet’s life stage. Both commercial and homemade cat food have their pros and cons. Understanding what these are and weighing them carefully can help you make the right choices for your pet. Commercial pet foods are not created equal, so make sure you’re getting one that is made by a reputable pet food manufacturer, and if possible, a product that is recommended by your veterinarian. On the other hand, homemade pet food must be scientifically formulated to make sure that it meets the specific dietary needs of your cat.
What is the best homemade food for cats?
Frequent pet food recalls have caused many pet parents to steer clear of buying commercial pet food and choosing to give homemade pet food instead. If you want a homemade diet for your cat, it is highly recommended that you consult your vet or a pet nutritionist, first and foremost. Since cats are very particular with their nutritional needs, anything lacking or in excess in their diet can eventually give rise to nutritional issues that can mean expensive medical bills or may even have fatal consequences.
Can cats have human food?
While we may share common ingredients in our diets with our pets, experts do not encourage the practice because it can possibly affect the cat’s appetite or even upset the balance of nutrients. Also, some human foods are rich in fats, oils, spices, and additives that can be harmful to pets.
Which meat base is best for your cat?
Regardless of whether you’re giving cooked or raw meat to your cat, make sure that it’s human-grade. Be careful about buying raw meat products, such as pet meat, pet mince, pet rolls, etc… that are marketed as pet food. They may contain harmful additives such as artificial preservatives and coloring to keep them looking fresh.
What about feeding your cat organs/offals?
Compared to muscle meat, organs or offal are more nutrient-dense. This means that, pound for pound, organ meat is way more nutritious and palatable compared to muscle meat. All organ meats are rich in Vitamin B12 except tripe. Liver has high quantities of protein, vitamin A, niacin, folate, and riboflavin, and minerals, such as iron and zinc. Kidneys are rich sources of protein. One of the best natural sources of coenzyme Q10 is the heart which is also a rich source of taurine for cats. Tripe is rich in essential fatty acids and a good source of lactobacillus bacteria which are beneficial microorganisms in the gut.
What is a paleo diet for cats?
A paleo diet formulated for cats consists of ingredients that are biologically designed to eat, such as animal protein, vitamins, and minerals. It doesn’t contain grains, starch-rich vegetables, legumes, milk and dairy products, refined sugar, artificial additives (artificial coloring, preservative, etc. ).
What is a prey diet?
Cats, domestic or wild, are obligate carnivores. In the wild, they thrive by hunting rodents, reptiles, insects, and birds. As pets, a prey-based diet is made to mimic their natural diet. It is achieved by providing whole prey animals or meats, organs/offal, bones, etc. Formulating a cat’s ration using different animal sources can help achieve the same nutrient balance as would be found when a cat eats a whole prey animal.
Why is omega 3 and 6 important for your cat?
Essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and 6 cannot be synthesized in the body of cats, which means it must be taken as a part of their daily food intake. Both omega-3 and 6 play significant roles in physical and physiological processes of the body. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is an essential fatty acid for cats while linoleic acid is the most important type of omega-6 fatty acid for cats.
How can I get my cat to eat healthily?
Feeding your cat a healthy food will make it live longer in addition to decreasing the number of the vet’s visits. Here are some useful tips:
- Choose high-quality canned food that meets the dietary needs of your cat according to her age and breed.
- If you are going to feed your cat a homemade food, make sure it is well-balanced and ask the vet if your cat needs additional vitamins or minerals
- Be cautious about the toxic foods as not everything we eat is suitable for cats. Some of these toxic foods are: chocolate, caffeine, dairy products, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, chives, and yeast dough.
- Keep your cat hydrated
- Avoid the sudden change of the diet as this can cause stomach upset and diarrhea. Instead, introduce the new food gradually with small amounts.
- Keep your cat at an ideal weight
Best fruits & vegetables your cat should be eating
Here are some fruits and vegetables that are the best sources of vitamins and minerals for your cat.
Fruits: apple, apricot, banana, blueberries, cantaloup, cranberries, mango, orange, pear, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries, and watermelon.
Vegetables: asparagus, bell pepper, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, green beans, lettuce, peas, pumpkin, squash, sweet potato, and zucchini
Should you feed your cat salmon?
Salmon is a tasty, nutritious food to your cat as it is a source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, selenium and niacin but make sure to only feed your cat the cooked salmon as the raw may have harmful bacteria. Avoid canned and smoked salmon as it has a high salt content.
Should you feed your cat lamb?
It is okay to feed your cat lamb but in small quantities as lamb is fatty often. It should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 F.
Can cats eat fish?
Fish is a lovely food for many cats that contains omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids but they should eat it with moderation. Feeding your cat fish every day can be harmful leading to thiamine deficiency as well as allergy symptoms.
Can cats eat apples?
Yes, apples can be fed to cats with moderation after removing the core and seeds as they contain cyanide. Apples are high in fiber, vitamins A and C that are essential for healthy bones in addition to being a perfect snack for overweight cats.
Can cats eat broccoli?
Yes, broccoli is a good veggie that has a lot of antioxidants and roughage. It keeps the digestive system healthy and enables better bowel movement. Make sure to boil the broccoli a little first then let it cool before serving it to your cat and don’t add any oil, salt, or butter. Raw broccoli can cause stomach pain to the cat as it is hard to their digestive system to deal with.
Can cats eat celery?
Yes, they can. Celery is a good source of antioxidants, nutrients, and water that keeps your cat hydrated.
Are carrots good for cats?
Yes, but make sure to cook it before feeding your cat and chop them up into small, easy-to-digest pieces to avoid choking. Carrots are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and beta carotene.
Can cats eat strawberries?
Yes, you can feed your cat raw or pureed strawberries as they help strengthen her immune system.
Can cats eat cucumbers?
Yes, cucumbers are excellent source of water that keeps your cat hydrated in addition to vitamins K, C, and magnesium content. Cucumbers are low in carbs that you can feed them to your overweight cat.
Fruits Cats Can and Can't Eat
Fruits cats can eat are: apple, apricot, banana, blueberries, cantaloup, cranberries, mango, orange, pear, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries, and watermelon
Fruits cats can’t eat are: cherries, grapes, raisins, Citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and grapefruit as well as persimmons. If your cat is overweight, don’t feed her fruits high in sugars.
Can cats eat flaxseeds?
Yes, you can add flaxseeds to your cat’s food by grinding the seeds then sprinkle it over the food and for Flaxseed oil, you can pour the recommended dosage over your pet’s food. Make sure to refrigerate the seeds after grinding to be used later because it becomes rancid.