Feeding your cat a quality, well balanced feline specific diet is important to their overall wellbeing. Since felines are of desert origin they are obligate carnivores and require meat in their diet. Also, because of this desert origin cats typically drink less water and this can become problematic. It’s important to encourage cats to take in more water by having access to fresh water at all times. Using a pet drinking water fountain is an excellent enticement to drink as well as supplementing with canned cat food. Most cats graze when they eat and will have several small meals throughout the day. This, however can be a problem for cats prone to weight problems, or who have a tendency to overindulge themselves. It is important to only have an appropriate measured amount out for them to eat within the day and be sure to monitor your cat’s weight and body condition regularly. The following points are important to consider when choosing an appropriate diet/ feeding regime for your cat.
- Kittens, adult cats, and senior cats all have very different nutritional requirements, much like baby, adult and geriatric humans, so avoid diets claimed for all life stages.
- If home cooking for your cat is your preference it is important to follow a specific recipe that has been designed by a professional who specializes in nutrition to ensure it is properly balanced. A recent study found 90% of homemade pet food to be nutritionally unbalanced and incomplete.
- The words ‘Holistic’ or ‘Human Grade’ have no legal definition for pet food, so they can be used on any pet food label without any relation to the ingredients.
- By products are products produced in the making of something else (ex/flax seed oil, corn oil and soy oil are all by products). Animal by-product meal is an excellent source of nutrients and protein. Avoid foods containing generic name by-products (meat-meal, Animal By-product meal) and go for by products with the source named (Chicken by-product meal).
- Choose diets with only 1-2 protein sources, since too many proteins sources can increase the cat’s likelihood of having a sensitivity/reaction. 80% of reported food allergies in cats are to Beef, Dairy, and Fish.
Choosing a food for your cat from all the available options can be very overwhelming as the pet food industry relies greatly on persuasive advertising to sell their products. Veterinary health care providers are your best source for pet food questions. Here at Guelph Animal Hospital we have several different Pet food options for your Cat:
- Life stage diets and clinically specific dry and canned foods
- Supplement and balanced recipe for homemade diets
- Freeze dried complete & balanced whole foods (just add water)
- Minimally processed, grain free diets
- Frozen completely balanced whole food diets