Ultimate Guide to Feline Diet
Are you a cat person or a dog person?
Well, for what it’s worth, my money would’ve been on the latter. If I hadn’t picked up on this latest piece of research, that is.
That’s right. Half of U.S. households with pets now own cats, and with low maintenance emerging as a megatrend, feline ownership is expected to pick up steam.
In light of this recent turn of events, I wanted to take the chance to dig into a question every single future cat owner would eventually come to ask.
What should you feed your furry friend?
Leave the vegetables to yourself
Growing up, I refused to touch veggies with a ten-foot pole unless it was stir-fried spinach smothered in a heaping dosage of cream sauce.
My raging vegaphobia left mom little choice but to give her dear son a solemn death stare every dinner until I eventually gave in before shoving down the greens with my face all scrunched up.
Only if I had been born into a family of kittens. It could’ve saved my mom and me a lot of trouble. Because, as surprising as it may be, veggies are the last thing you’d want on your kitty’s plate.
That sounds almost counterintuitive given how veggies do all kinds of wonders for the human body. But it’s true. Cats are diehard meat-eaters, plain and simple. Not a single point in their evolutionary history had they branched off from a strict meat diet.
That’s not to say your cat won’t benefit from a little steamed broccoli or two every now and then. All I’m saying is, to help your beloved furry companion strike the right nutritional balance, your focus should be on putting them on a meat-based diet.
Meat is king
Here’s the thing. No matter how tame she may look, that cute little ball of fur curled up on your couch is a mini lion. And if there’s one thing we all know about the king of the felines, it’s that they never prey on plants.
I bring this up to make a point – all felines are obligate carnivores. Meaning, their survival depends on the consumption of the following nutrients found in animals:
· Arachidonic acid
· Vitamin A
· Vitamin D (from livers and other fatty tissues since cats can’t synthesize sunlight through their skin)
The importance of a meat-based diet cannot be emphasized enough. But that doesn’t mean throwing a slab of steak will get the job done.
What you should do is consider different factors. And of the key facets that determine your cat’s diet is age.
Your kitten will most likely nurse for the first three to four weeks. From there, she can be weaned onto commercial foods – whether canned or dry – high in protein and fat. Feel free to mix in cooked meats for variety, but avoid anything raw.
After five months or so, your furry friend should have a robust enough immune system to handle fresh meat or fish. Just make sure the products you purchase are above human grade and free of harmful preservatives such as sodium benzoate (E211), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA).
If your budget doesn’t allow for a fresh food diet, the second-best course of action is to go for wet foods. Try to avoid dry foods the best you can, as they tend to have much higher levels of carbohydrate content and plant-based protein.
* Pro-tip: as is the case for their canine
counterparts, a good rule of thumb is to look for the AAFCO label. Treat it as an unwritten rule for sorting out quality products.
If your cat seems to be doing just fine, lucky you. You might not have to worry about making any adjustments. But if that isn’t the case and you start noticing your furry companion having digestion issues, it’s time to switch up her diet.
Have trouble making out what that looks like?
Well, older cats need more taurine in general. So definitely don’t take her off a meat-based diet. But try gently cooked fresh foods instead of serving them raw. Throw in fibrous veggies like peas and carrots on occasion for gut health.
There are also products designed specifically to fulfill senior cats’ nutritional needs. For more information, I recommend checking out this latest review from Hepper.
Consult an expert
All said and done, you’ve gotten a glimpse into what you can do to help your furry friend live a long, healthy life. But you won’t have the full picture until you pay a qualified vet a visit and have your feline companion assessed.
As a pet owner myself, I know full well that finding a trustworthy vet is no cakewalk. If you’re having trouble gauging where to start, Dr. Tail has you covered. Follow the link below and get all your questions answered today from a certified vet for free.