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Vet Talks: What Should I Feed My Cat?

Vet Talks 4 min read
Grey cat eating out of a steel bowl - what should I feed my cat

With so many diet trends, food brands, and conflicting information out there, it can be really difficult to know “what should I feed my cat?”. For starters, did you know that cats are obligate carnivores? This means that they need animal protein to survive!

In the past, cats were used to hunt and the carcass of their prey was their main food consisting of high amounts of protein, moderate amounts of fat, and a minimal amount of carbohydrates. The only source of vegetables they had was what was inside of their prey’s gut. In this scenario, they had a high intake of protein and water (meat has something around 75% of water) and that explains why cats don’t have the habit of drinking much water: they didn’t have to!

So what did humans do? We created dry food, which contains only about 10% of water and we started feeding them exclusively with this. Since they do not have the habit of drinking much water and are eating a dryer food than what they were used to, that’s one of the main reasons why cats have been presenting so many issues in the urinary tract in the last decades.

Cat breed Maine Coon eats dry food from an iron bowl on a wooden stand. Beautiful cat colors fs 25 03 black tortie silver ticked

Cats need nutrients like taurine, vitamin A and arachidonic acid and these can be found in meat.

So What Should I Feed My Cat?

Commercial cat food is very common and they are offered mainly as dry or wet food. They have different water content, caloric density, protein level, digestibility, and palatability. Also, keep in mind that cats will have different needs according to their life stage (kitten, adult, senior) and conditions (nursing cats, overweight, health issues).

Canned wet food
Wet food is a great option for your cat. It helps to ensure adequate water intake, which helps prevent issues like kidney-related diseases and it is highly palatable for most cats.

Dry food
Dry food also has its perks. It helps with oral health and the good quality ones can provide a balanced diet for your kitten. It is relatively inexpensive and since it does not dry out, it lasts longer on the food bowl. Always make sure you choose the high-quality ones.

It’s ok to add small amounts of cooked carrots, asparagus, broccoli, green beans, or chopped greens to your furball’s diet. It’s important to note that cats need nutrients like taurine, vitamin A and arachidonic acid and these can be found in meat. They can become very ill and even die if they only have access to “veggies only” diets.

Make sure your cat has access to clean and fresh water at all times. Cats are not used to drink lots of water, so you need to make sure they won’t have any reason to refuse to drink it. If you want to you can place multiple water bowls around the house so they have lots of different sources to choose from.

Normally they don’t have all the nutrients your kitten needs. Apart from that, some of them have lots of artificial flavors and fat, which can be bad for cats. Think about it more like an option that should be given occasionally, only. Don’t forget about the cat grass, they can be great as a treat.

So ideally, you should feed your cat with a balance of wet and dry food and make sure your cat has access to clean and fresh water at all times.

Domestic life with pet. Young man gives his cat meat snack.

Homemade Diets

Making your own cat food may sound like a good idea since you know what your cat will be eating, right? Not always. Cooking for your cat can be challenging in terms of including the right quantities and proportion of nutrients they need unless it’s recommended by a veterinarian.

Talk to your vet about what would be the ideal diet for your kitten. Although protein is great for them, it has to be balanced, especially for cats with conditions in the urinary tract. You can also make a Personalized Nutrition Plan for your furry baby with us, especially if you like the idea of a well-balanced homemade diet!

Natural Supplements

If you need any extra support, we have some supplement recommendations for you!

  • Multi Essentials: It helps to fill dietary gaps, supporting digestion, and helps to promote strong muscle and bone growth. It’s high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to ensure your kitten of any age is getting energy, vitality, and stays healthy for a happy life.
  • Turmeric: Besides supporting digestion, Turmeric also helps to scavenge free radicals. It provides support to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) which cats are prone to and it is great for cardiovascular health.
  • Petomega 3: It’s important for cats to get essential fatty acids through their diet and many processed cat foods are deficient in this important nutrient. Petomega 3 helps with this and also provides renal and kidney support.

If you have any other questions about your kitty’s diet and how you can support their overall health and wellbeing, please reach out to our pet experts. We’re always happy to help!

Dr. Aline Dias DVM

Dr. Aline Dias DVM

Dr. Aline Dias is a veterinary graduate from the Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil. She worked for five years with research in Bacteriology and Virology fields, but she found her true passion in feline medicine. As soon as Dr. Aline immigrated to Canada, she adopted two kittens: Chilli and Keke. Dr. Aline is now a full-time crazy cat lady and when she’s not working at NHV she spends her time spoiling her furbabies or going for walks at the beach.

Published: April 23, 2020

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