nutrition for your cat
Food has a high ranking on a catís top 10 list. It ranks higher than
affection from you, cravings for catnip and clawing the furniture! Food
is a treat some owners use to bribe their cats or get their catís
There is no question that food has psychological importance for both cat
and owner. But of course, foodís physiological importance came first.
Is there a magic formula by which to feed your cat?
Should you feed canned food, dry food, semimoist or a combination? Do
you need to be worried about preservatives? Wonít your cat get bored if
you feed him/her the same thing every day? Can both young and old cats
eat the same food? How much should you feed your cat? All of these
questions are important, and the answers arenít always clear.
The massive variety of products seems to grow daily.
The pet food market is a multibillion dollar business, and a lot of
companies want a piece of the pie.
Picking the right food
If cats were left outdoors to hunt, mice would be their
ideal food, supplying all of their nutritional needs. Other prey a cat
would choose are rats, rabbits, birds and insects. Cats would probably
be healthier if they ate a diet of fresh prey, as opposed to commercial
foods. And this has prompted some owners to become interested in feeding
raw diets to their cats. Most veterinarians do not favor raw diets,
however, because to be formulated properly, they are very
labor-intensive for an owner. Other problems associated with raw diets
include nutritional imbalances, exposure of the human preparing the food
and the cat eating the food to bacteria and parasites found in raw meat,
acceptability of a raw diet to the cat and odors associated
with preparing and feeding the diet. There are three quality categories
of commercial cat foods: premium,
sold in the grocery store and generic, generic food because it often
does not meet the standards of the
Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). AAFCO is the
organization responsible for creating practical nutritional
recommendations for pet food. Any food you feed your cat should at least
meet these minimum standards, and if it does, it will say so on the
label. There are many brands of cat food that are sold in the grocery
store, and almost all meet AAFCO standards. The main differences between
these foods and premium diets (which are usually sold in pet supply
stores) are the ways in which the nutrition requirements are achieved.
Premium diets contain higher quality, more digestible and bioavailable
ingredients, which decrease the amount of food the cat needs and the
amount of feces kitty produces.
Cats are carnivores, so they need high levels of
protein in their diets. Some people call canned food ďmeat,Ē and it
generally contains more protein than dry food, but cheaper canned foods
may still have a lot of
fillers that are not derived from meat. Most cats like the taste and
smell of canned food, but dry foods offer owners more convenience. The
cost of canned food is also significantly more than dry. While canned
often has more protein per ounce than dry food, it also contains between
75 and 80 percent water. Once opened, a can of cat food stays fresh for
about two to three days if itís kept covered and refrigerated. Most cats
do not like cold food, so warming refrigerated food in the microwave for
a few seconds can help increase its odor and palatability. Be sure to
stir it to avoid hot spots. Ideally, cats like their food at room
temperature. Recent studies have found that cats with certain health
problems, such as lower urinary tract disease and diabetes mellitus, do
better on canned diets. For picky eaters, cats who need to gain weight
or those who need to consume more water, canned food is also a better
choice. Cats who are prone to urinary tract problems may benefit from
canned food because its high water content helps produce more dilute
urine. If you own a cat with lower urinary tract disease, you should
avoid feeding your cat foods with seafood products. These foods contain
high levels of minerals such as magnesium, which can contribute to the
formation of crystals in the urine.
Feeding a combination of canned and dry food to a
healthy cat is a good idea. Cats who eat only canned food tend to build
up more plaque and tartar on their teeth than those who also eat some
dry food. People today are more aware of their own nutrition and health,
and they want to know about what their pets consume. Most dry cat foods
are chemically stabilized and preserved. The safety of these chemicals
is constantly being challenged, and pet food manufacturers are
constantly defending their safety backed up by the Food and Drug.
Administration (FDA).A growing number of companies make
ďall naturalĒ foods that contain no synthetic ingredients or
preservatives. Whether these diets will improve your catís health and
longevity has not been proven. If you watch your cat eat, you may see
that she does not chew much on the dry food. Some cats eat too much dry
food all at once and regurgitate it. Cats who regurgitate need to be fed
smaller portions. Mixing in some canned food, or adding some water to
the dry food, can also help. Other strategies to decrease regurgitation
are feeding a larger sized kibble that must be chewed before its
swallowed, and feeding
in a shallow bowl that more widely disperses the food. Both of these
ideas slow down the pace of eating and decrease regurgitation.
Kittens develop very
quickly and are grown-up cats before you know it. The maturation that
occurs during a kittenís first six months of life correlates to the
first 15 years of a humanís life.......
Cats rely on their natural
instincts for hunting, self preservation and
elimination. Many of the behaviors cat owners deem undesirable are
simply manifestations of natural behaviors.........
Is my cat
cannot tell us how they feel, so it is important to have some
understanding of the signs that a cat is sick. Cats are generally
stoic animals, and often they do not let us know .........
There is no set schedule
for bathing a cat, and some cats may never need a bath. Factors to
consider when deciding about a bath are:.........
nutrition for your cat
Food has a high ranking on
a catís top 10 list. It ranks higher than affection from you, cravings
for catnip and clawing the furniture! Food is a treat some ...........
cats are said to have nine lives, they only have one, and you
can help that one along. In the wild cats do a good job of taking care
of themselves .................
As a cat
owner, it is useful to have some basic knowledge about the diseases you
protect your cat from with vaccines. You may be surprised to find out
that vaccines are not as .......
very efficient at reproducing and are able to have several litters a
year with multiple kittens in each. Most cats go through puberty at an
early ageósomewhere .......
Care for a
not live forever, although weíd like them to. When you have shared your
home with a cat for many years, he becomes an integral member of the
family, and you develop strong ........
is the largest organ of any animalís body; it comprises 12 to 24 percent
of a catís body weight. It protects the cat and is responsible for much
of her external appearance ......
central nervous system is composed of the brain and spinal cord. The
brain is the computer that commands the other parts of the body.
Cerebral spinal fluid surrounds the brain ........
You Catch From Your Cat?
have successfully lived with cats for thousands of years. Overall, cats
are extremely safe pets to own, and they rarely transmit diseases to