Feeding Your Feline

stock-photo-9218684-small-kitten-eats-from-a-steel-bowlWe all love our feline friends, and making sure they are fed correctly is a huge contributing factor in a cat’s health. Whether you are a first-time cat owner or have had your favorite kitty by your side for years, it is important to remember the basic feeding rules.

Don’t feed them too much. According to a 2012 study done by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), 58.3% of US cats are obese or overweight. Obesity in cats can often cause a predisposition to diabetes, urinary tract disease, and arthritis. To prevent your cat from charming you into yet another treat, remember this:

  • Do not feed on demand. Cats will weave through your legs and purr for hours if they think they can get you to feed them again. As a rule of thumb, ASPCA recommends feeding your cat twice daily.
  • Use recommended quantities. Usually these numbers are displayed on the tin of cat food you use; but as an article from The Guardian reminds us — make sure to adapt this number according to your cat’s age and activity level. (Confused about what a good quantity is? Contact Us to discuss a diet plan just for your cat)
  • Too many treats can be a slippery slope. We all love giving our pets treats as rewards; however, treats should only make up five percent or less of a cat’s daily food intake, according to an ASPCA article.

Avoid dry food. Lisa A. Pierson (DVM) reminds us that our modern cats actually evolved from desert-dwelling ancestors, meaning they have a low thirst drive. Unlike dogs, cats won’t voluntarily drink water, depriving them of a much-needed nutrient. Instead, moisture-rich canned food is 78% water and will provide much better moistness than dry cat food’s 5-10% water content.

Offer them fresh, clean water — always. Though feeding cats wet food significantly helps to meet their water needs, you should also provide several fresh water sources around the house for them. This can be tricky at first, but as Linda P. Case (MS) suggests, pay attention to where the cat likes to be, and make sure to put a fresh water source there. Also take note of whether your cat likes to drink running water, or still standing. Still having trouble getting kitty to drink? Try crushing a few fresh leaves of catnip under the water in a bowl.

Milk, surprisingly, is not a tasty treat. According to the aforementioned ASPCA article, cats don’t possess significant amounts of lactase. This means that if fed milk on a regular basis, their digestive systems don’t have enough of the required enzyme to break down the amount of lactose being given to them. Consumption of milk and milk-based products can actually lead to vomiting or diarrhea for your cat.

Carefully consider what type of canned food you buy. Believe it or not, it is just as important to count calories for our cats as it is for us. If buying commercial food, a caloric breakdown consisting approximately of 45% protein or more, 45% fat or less, and 10% carbohydrate or less, is recommended.

Animal Wellness Center of Monee is committed to helping your pets live long, healthy, lives. Please call us at (708) 534-2200 for more information.

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