Cat Food and Feeding Habits

Cats can be notoriously fussy when it comes to their food. Just like us humans, they can have complex appetites.

By NICK JOHNSON

Just like us humans, cats can have complex appetites. As a cat owner you will have a ton of questions related to cat food and feeding your cat.

For example:

‘Is it ok to give them cat treats?’ or ‘Can I feed them the occasional slice of ham or other human food once in a while?’

Maybe you are concerned about what kitty is eating when out in the garden?

Those feline fangs are made to cut into meat just like their larger relatives in the wild. It is not unusual for your kitty to bring home gifts of dead mice or birds; perhaps you have received a few already. It’s in their nature to hunt so meat is a staple and necessary part of the cat diet.

“It pays to know your cats inner workings and emotions when it comes to food. It’s a well known fact that he or she is a natural born carnivore – just take a look at those teeth!”

Why Meat?

Meat in cat food is specially formulated to have all the ingredients that your feline will need. These include an amino acid called Taurine which is essential for your cat’s wellbeing. Without adequate levels of Taurine he or she can suffer serious eyesight problems. There has even been a connection between enlarged hearts and Taurine free diets.

Cats need Vitamin A along with a fatty acid called Arachidone acid (only found in animal tissue). So cat food is formulated to provide kitty with everything he or she needs. It sounds like an obvious one, but its not a good idea to feed dog food or any other kind of animal food to your cat thinking it’s adequate. It is not and will eventually cause long term health problems.

Although raw food might resemble what you cat might be hunting in the wild you can’t ensure it has everything your cat needs. Plus it’s impossible to know whether or not the meat is infected with something that could be passed onto your cat or even to you!

Why is my cat eating plants and flowers?

Do not be alarmed if you find your cat munching on a few petals or blades of grass. This is quite common and many experienced cat owners will not be concerned about this behaviour. Cat do this to help regulate their digestive systems. The grass will bind together stray bits of fur in the cats stomach which will be vomited or excreted. Some cat experts
think that perhaps our feline friends are looking for those trace ingredients lacking in meaty diets.

Houseplants are a different case. We highly recommend that you protect them from your cats, especially the more exotic ones. You could try chicken wire or some kind of sturdy plastic fencing that keeps kitty away from pawing at the leaves or flowers.

 

But is the occasional treat OK? How about a little bit of cream or some chocolate?

 

Your cat will happily chew away at most things that you place in front of him or her. They will probably enjoy every tasty mouthful too! Keep in mind that putting on all those extra pounds can be just as dangerous for your cat as it can be for us humans. The excess weight gain can cause heart or other medical problems for your cat.

Most cat owners will tell you they do let their cats have that tasty treat or some other ‘human’ food. It’s easy to give in to temptation when those big saucer eyes are peering back up at you.

That once-in-a-while treat is fine…

Some innocent treats for humans can be deadly for cats –  chocolate contains a compound called theobromine which is toxic to cats and can be lethal. All chocolate is bad, but the darker the chocolate the more toxic it is!

Dairy foods in general are not a good idea for your cat. Milk, cheese and other dairy based products can cause sickness in your cat. Dairy and milk based products, like vegetative substances are not always digested well in cats.

It has been known for some cats to adore a bit of scrambled egg as well as fish, beef and pasta!

Keeping Kitty Hydrated

Your feline like any other animal needs water as part of their diet. Its hard to measure exactly how much water a cat will drink each day, as all cats are different and will require a different amount. We advise keeping an easily accessible bowl of fresh water near your cat at all times.

There is also a water supply in wet food. The more there is in the food the less your cat will need to drink. Dry cat food obviously will contain little or no water, if your cat eats dry food more than wet, they will have to make up for it through drinking.

Cats are prone to dehydration. A cat will easily be able to survive without food for several days, even losing most of its body weight. However a loss of fluids of only 10 or 15% will be enough to kill him or her. Be sure that you keep your cat hydrated as much as possible.

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