If you give your cat a well-balanced diet with the required nutrition, it will radiate good health. It will be happy, alert, and active, with bright eyes, a bright coat, and a moist nose. Regular feeding and the variety of textures and tastes can also contribute to a happy and healthy cat. The cat is a carnivore, which means that its natural diet consists of the prey which it eats.
Cat’s teeth and complete dietary adaptation are greater for the consumption and digestion of whole insects, small rodents, birds, amphibians, and fish. While cats eat some plant matter, they have specific requirements for certain nutrients that can only be found in animal tissues. For this reason, meat must be at least part of a cat’s diet. For an owner to try to impose a vegetarian diet would be cruel.
Nutrients are the part of the food that provides energy or raw materials from which the cat builds or replaces its tissues. Unless they are provided in the correct amount and balance, the cat will not be able to maintain a normal and active life.
Nutritional requirements vary in the different stages of the cat’s life cycle. That’s why commercial cat food is now available for kittens, adults, and older cats.
The belief that feeding a cat well makes it less likely to bring its prey home, or that keeping the cat hungry will make it a better mouse hunter, which is absolutely wrong. A cat does not need the hunger incentive to hunt, the healthier it is, the more successful it will be as a hunter.
Feed an adult cat once or twice a day. Serve food in the same place at approximately the same time each day. A mixture of canned and dried food is a good idea, for a change, and for the cat to use its jaws and teeth in the dry food. For the correct amount, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on the can or packet.
An adult 8 lbs (8.8 pounds) cat usually needs 500g (14oz) of canned food per day or approximately 50g (2oz) of dry food, depending on their lifestyle. Cats with the freedom to roam will need more than indoor cats, and more may be required during cold weather. Avoid giving snacks between meals. If your cat persistently asks for more, verify that the quantities are within the above range, but do not feed on demand. If you are concerned, seek the advice of your veterinarian.
Overeating and obesity occur in cats, although to a lesser extent than in dogs. Do not leave food, especially canned food, for a long time. It dries, it starts to smell, attracts flies and generally offends the sharp sense of smell and taste of the cat.
A Balanced Diet For Your Cat
Within its diet, the cat requires a balance of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. If you give your pet regular meals and offer a variety of fresh and commercial cat foods by following the guidelines below, it should get everything it needs without adding any dietary supplements such as vitamin pills. Read commercial cat food labels to verify nutritional content.
Proteins For Strength
Proteins are made up of amino acids that are building blocks of the body. Not only are they used for growth and repair, but they can also be metabolized to provide energy. The amount of protein in a cat’s diet depends on its age. As cats become less active with age, they need a diet less rich in protein. In addition, their livers and kidneys have reduced efficiency and are less capable of eliminating the toxic byproduct produced from the body’s breakdown of proteins. A kitten, however, because it is growing and developing its muscle mass, needs about 50% of the protein in its diet, compared with more than 30% for a young adult cat. These levels are about 20% more than those required by a dog of comparable age.
The cat’s digestive system processes proteins so efficiently that only 5% of the total absorbed protein is lost through waste products. Regular protein intake should occur or the cat loses weight and condition. In nature, wild cats acquire essential amino acids through a variety of captured animals. Protein-rich foods are meat, fish, eggs, milk, and cheese. Today all nutritional needs are covered in commercially formulated and scientifically proven cat food.
Fats In Cat’s diet
Fats are the second main source of energy for cats and should form a minimum of 9% of the dry matter in the diet. The cat can digest up to 95% of the far it consumed. Any excess is stored under the skin to provide insulation and protection for internal organs. However, an imbalance between intake and fat used through normal exercise can lead to excess fat deposits and obesity. Fat breaks down in the body into fatty acids, which are important in the formation and maintenance of cell membranes throughout the body. In addition, fat also provides fat-soluble vitamins to the cat, including vitamins A, D, E and K. Some fatty acids are essential for the cat’s diet and are almost completely absent from plant foods. They come from animal fat and tissue.
Carbs For Bulk
Carbohydrates are the main sources of energy for most animals, but the cat can, in fact, survive without them. The main sources of natural food for cats, birds, and mice are relatively low in carbohydrates, apart from what is found in the stomach of the prey. However, carbohydrates are a considerably cheaper source of energy than protein-rich meat and fish and, therefore, are generally incorporated into most commercial cat foods.
Carbohydrates can provide a beneficial boost of energy readily available in times of growth, pregnancy, nursing or stress. They are also a useful source of fiber, that although not digested by the cat, provides bulk on the faces. A wild cat would obtain fiber from the fur, feather, or stomach content of its prey, but the domestic cat obtains it from most commercial cat food in the form of cellulose or plant fiber.
Carbohydrates should not make up more than 40% of a cat’s diet.
Minerals And Vitamins
Proteins, fats, and carbohydrates are macronutrients, while vitamins and minerals are micronutrients, they are required only in small amounts, a cat synthesizes vitamin C by itself and, therefore, does not need more. Vitamin A, D, E, and K work together to refine bodily functions and all must be present in a healthy and balanced diet along with the B vitamins. An excess of vitamins can be harmful. An overdose of vitamins can cause serious arthritic problems that affect the legs and spine, even in young cats.
The minerals must be available in the correct quantities which, in turn, must be correct in relation to each other. Daily requirements including Marco minerals, which include sodium, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium, are measured in milligrams (one-thousandth of a gram). Trace or micro minerals are also necessary, but daily requirements are measured in micrograms (one-millionth of a gram). A cat that has a regular and balanced diet is unlikely to suffer from a mineral deficiency, and supplements should not be necessary.
Calcium and phosphorus, for example, are present in milk and are very important for the growing kitten.
Food Sources For A Balanced Diet
You can supplement your cat’s canned or dried commercial foods to get the variety. Obviously it is more time-consuming to prepare special meals, but scarps and leftovers can introduce different tastes and textures with minimal effort and preparation. However, it is essential to have an idea of the benefits and disadvantages of certain foods, and the danger of an unbalanced diet, such as too much liver and vitamin A. If you want to feed your pet cat exclusively with homemade foods, it is advisable to discuss this with Your veterinarian, particularly with regard to types, variety, and quantities.
A domestic cat may have traditionally lived on leftovers from the table scraps and odd pieces of meat and fish thrown by for it, which probably provided perfectly good nutritional levels. The wild cat will eat a small rodent in its entirety, including bones, innards, and muscles, and will benefit from all the nutrients they contain.
If you want to feed your cat on raw meat, it should be supplemented with other foods, such as pasta and vegetables for carbohydrates, minerals, and fiber, which will provide the equivalent nutritional content of the bones and intestines of the naturally caught rodent.
The best meat, regardless of type, has a valuable protein content of approximately 20%. It is better to serve it raw or lightly cooked since many of the vitamins can be destroyed and the proteins denatured in the cooking process. Protein decreases and fat content increases as cuts of meat become cheaper. Fat is not a problem since the cat can digest it and convert it into energy.
Poultry, giblets, and everything can be served, but be sure to remove the bones, as they become brittle with cooking and can be dangerous. However, large pork or lamb bones can provide a cat and kittens with hours of pleasure and also help develop jaw strength, keep teeth clean, and reduce the risk of dental problems in old age. Generally avoid meats with additives and high salt content such as ham, bacon, and sausages. Offal, such as iron, but is also rich in vitamin A, too much of which can cause severe arthritis.
Raw fish has a protein level of more than 10%, while fish roe has a high protein level of 20-25%. However, raw fish should only be a rare treat, as it contains an enzyme that destroys some essential B vitamins. This could lead to a variety of symptoms that affect the nervous and gastrointestinal systems and the skin. Oily fish, such as herring or sardines, is highly nutritious and is also richer in fat, making it a better option than white fish. A weekly meal of oily-fish can help a cat cope with the hairballs that accumulate in its stomach, as well as provide fat-soluble vitamins.
Cats on a commercial cat food diet do not need vegetables. Sometimes they eat grass, which is considered a natural emetic and possibly a source of minerals and vitamins. Vegetables are often included in commercial or homemade foods as a cheap source of protein and fiber.
Milk has a useful content of fats and proteins, as well as lactose, all of which can be beneficial during the period of growth, pregnancy, lactation, or stress. Cheese and milk also provide useful minerals such as calcium and phosphorus, but they are not part of the cat’s natural diet and should be an occasional pleasure. Too much can cause diarrhea, particularly in an older cat. Mashed or scrambled eggs are full of protein and vitamin A, but should never be fed raw, as they contain an enzyme that can also destroy some essential B vitamins.
Feeding Commercial Cat Food
In recent decades, there has been a tremendous revolution in feline feeding methods. Today there are commercial foods available that adapt to all stages of a cat’s life. They are available in dry, semi-moist or canned forms, and, in addition, there are deep-frozen foods that are closer to fresh meat or fish. If commercial foods are manufactured by reputable and well-known brands, you can be sure that the content shown on the wrap is balanced. If they are sold as complete foods, they are complete and the only necessary addition is drinking water. No vitamins, minerals, or other supplements are needed. However, the cost increases with quality, and the most expensive varieties are those that are scientifically researched and adapted to the dietary needs of cats in each of the three main stages of development:
- Active adult age
- Old age.
Check the labels for additives, the ingredients, and the breakdown of nutrient content. However, keep in mind that, although the average protein content of a can of food can only be 6-12%, this is usually the total content per 100 g. (3.5 oz) of food, instead of being calculated on a dry weight basis. Approximately 10% protein in canned foods is equivalent to more than 40% dry weight and is therefore acceptable.
If your cat feeds on an exclusively dry diet, fresh water should always be available and changed at least once a day.
Water is vital for many functions within the body. A cat can survive for 10-14 days without food, but the total lack of water can cause death in a matter of days. Daily intake depends largely on factors such as the moisture content of food and the weather or temperature. Cats are not big drinkers, and many will not seem to drink at all, as they get most of their needs from their food. Fresh meat and canned food have approximately 75% water, while dry food contains only 10%. Due to the evolution of the domestic cat from the desert dweller (African wild cat), the kidneys are extremely efficient to conserve water. However, fresh water should always be available, especially if your cat eats dry or semi-moist food.