Cat Blog

Basic Nutrition for Cats

Cats are what are known as obligate carnivores. An obligate carnivore is one that must eat meat. You cannot just turn them out to graze in a pasture. The digestive system of the cat is a lot like a humans. While we are both mammals, and our organ structures are very similar, there are some crucial differences because the cat evolved to be an obligate carnivore, while we humans can eat pretty much anything we want. Cats 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. Maybe it’s a combination of factors. The jury is still out on this matter. #themcrazycats

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, the best quality you can afford. 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, and also gives them upset stomachs as they need time to adjust to changes. If you do want to change the food, do it slowly and progressvely; start over the course of a few days by mixing in some small quantity of the new food – take it nice and slow – for kitty’s sake. Increase the quantity slowly and keep an eye on the litter tray and possibly stomach upsets. Cats digestive tracts are delicate.

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 packet to avoid feeding too much or too little. 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! Also take care to cleans all bowls after each feed and rinse well with water, to remove soap suds.

Try not to feed your cat people food. Some things, such as chocolate and raw liver, onion and garlic are actually toxic to cats. Others cause digestive upset.  Remove the bones from any cooked meat you might want to give to your cat. Poultry and pork bones in particular are given to splintering 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. I didn’t give my Rio treats, I do however give some small amounts of her favorite biscuit kibble as a treat. Others lavish treats on their pets at every opportunity. There are many good cat 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.

The only other thing that a cat requires is water. Do your best to keep a nice fresh supply of water available for your pet. The bowl used here should also be cleaned daily and rinsed well. Please have a read of my water article for more details on why water is so very important.

With a little thought and planning you can keep your pet healthy and happy for a long time to come.

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