What, When and How To Feed Your Cat

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There are a variety of commercial cat foods available for you to purchase. Many times, these foods are formulated differently according to the age, athleticism, or general heath of your animal. Most experienced cat owners consider these factors in choosing cat food, and your veterinarian may also have recommendations or help you make this choice. Kittens usually have more sensitive digestive systems than mature cats and may need to be fed special food. There are wet and dry forms of cat food commercially available, and some people may even choose to make their own cat food. In such cases, you should consult your veterinarian to help you formulate a tasty and nutritious diet for your pet. When buying cat food, take into consideration your veterinarian’s recommendations and read the packaging of the food.

An ingredient list will usually be available to you, as well as a breakdown of the percentage of crude fat, crude protein, major vitamins and minerals, and calories in the food. Various government or veterinary organizations may also place their stamp of approval on foods so you are sure they are nutritionally balanced. This is another item to aid you in your quest for the perfect cat food. Dog food is not appropriate for cats. It is nutritionally balanced for dogs, and may lack high enough concentrations of some vitamins or minerals like Taurine or it may have quantities of some nutrients that are inappropriately high. Of course, you should also try to find a food that your cat likes. If you are changing your cat’s food or diet, do it slowly. This can help to prevent an upset stomach. Mix in a little bit of the new food with the old food, gradually increasing the amount until the old food has been completely eliminated.

Although many people have meal times for their cats and feed them at set intervals during the day, some people may leave a bowl of food available to their cats at all times. Generally, the first method is recommended as many cats will eat without stopping if presented with a bowl of food that never becomes empty. However, for cats who can regulate their food intake well, the latter method may be easier for you. Some people may allow their cats to free feed on dry food and will offer one meal of wet food each day.

The most common commercially sold types of cat food are dry kibble and canned wet food. Dry food is often much less expensive than canned food and may be stored or left out for long periods of time without spoiling. This is not to say that it will not become stale. It may also have the benefit of aiding in keeping your cat’s teeth clean and some “dental” formulas are manufactured. Wet or canned food is more expensive, although many cats find it more appetizing than dry food. It is high in moisture, as well. You may need to monitor your cat when feeding it wet food. If your cat does not finish all the food, the remainder may spoil within a couple of hours. Simply cover it and place it in the refrigerator or discard it.

Various nutritional supplements are available for cats. Generally, these are not necessary as most commercial foods are very well balanced and excess of vitamins or minerals can cause health problems. Exceptions may need to be made for cats with health conditions or special needs, and in these cases your veterinarian will alert you to the requirements your cat has.

Treats may be given on occasion to your cat, but not too often. Many treats do not have good nutritional value and if overfed, your cat may not be hungry for its regular, more nutritious meal. Eating too many treats and food may also lead to obesity. Some people who feed their cats mainly dry kibble may offer wet cat food as a special treat. Others may purchase cat treats to offer as rewards or as special snacks, and a wide variety of these are available for purchase. Some may be more nutritious than others and some even claim to help clean your cat’s teeth.

Some cats are allergic to certain foods; others may have health conditions that require a certain type of diet. This is common in older male cats who may develop urinary tract problems. Other cats may simply have a sensitive digestive system and may need bland or mild foods. It is not advisable to feed your cat table scraps. While human foods can cause digestive upset in cats, the offering of people food may also lead to bad behaviors. Some cats will beg at the table and others will eat out of your plate or even pans cooking on the stove. This can result in serious burns and it may be a good idea to teach your cat that it is not allowed up on the kitchen counter or stove area, for your good hygiene as well as the cat’s protection. Some human foods, like chocolate, onions, or onion salt can be poisonous to cats.

Human food can also make your cat obese if it passes up its own more nutritious food in favor of your food which may have a lower nutritional value for your cat. In addition, cats should not be fed bones. Not only can bones choke them, but they may also splinter and cause serious damage to your cat’s digestive tract. Chicken bones are notorious for this. While some outdoor cats may eat birds, it is not a good idea to encourage such behavior and you may wish to stop it when you see it. Some people place bells on their cats’ collars in order to help scare birds away from them. Cats may be able to contract diseases this way and may have problems with the birds’ bones if they ingest them.