As a pet parent, it is your responsibility to make sure your cat is fed a nutritious diet that matches its dietary requirements. Your feline friend depends on you for food that keeps him healthy and thriving.
Many cats can be picky eaters, while some are interested in any chance of a snack from their human. But even if your cat is curious and would eat everything available, it probably should not.
When it comes to feeding your cat, some foods are not suitable at all, while some need to be kept as occasional treats. It’s also important to remember that hygiene and hydration play a big role in keeping your pet healthy.
Here are our top 7 tips for responsible cat parents that want to ensure they are feeding their pet properly.
Let’s dive in.
1. Ensure a balanced and complete diet
Cats are true carnivores, and they have particular nutritional needs that should be met to ensure they get all the nutrients they need to stay healthy. Only offer vet-approved, balanced, and complete cat foods to ensure your cat is getting exactly what they need.
The best way to check the cat food is suitable for your pet is to see if it is recommended by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). They only approve commercial cat foods that have been formulated to meet the specific dietary requirements cats have.
2. Keep treats to minimum
Obesity is a growing problem among pet cats. Weight gain may lead to many health issues such as diabetes and heart problems, so you’ll want to keep your pet at a normal weight.
Treats can often be the root of the problem because owners want to pamper their cats with delicious snacks to keep them happy and offer them something exciting. As a rule of thumb, treats should only make up 10% of your cat’s daily food intake. Also, the treats should be healthy – especially if your cat needs to lose some weight. Treats that are high in fat or sugar should be avoided and replaced with healthier options.
3. Avoid homemade diets
As we mentioned earlier, cats have very specific dietary needs, and they always need a diet based on meat and animal protein. Taurine and arginine are examples of nutrients that cats need to get to stay healthy. It isn’t easy to prepare a homemade diet that meets those nutritional requirements, so vets usually recommend against homemade diets unless you’re trained in cat nutrition. Choosing store-bought cat food is usually the healthiest choice!
4. Avoid Foods Toxic to Cats
Some foods are toxic to cats, and you should always check before feeding anything new to your cat. While some foods are poisonous, others can be very unhealthy and should be avoided for that reason. Also, sometimes there are parts of a plant that are toxic, while the fruit or veggie itself might be completely safe.
Some of the foods that are harmful and should be avoided are:
- Citrus fruits
- Cooked bones
- Fruit seeds and stones
- Green tomatoes
- Onions, leeks, and garlic
- Macadamia nuts
5. Keeping up the hygiene
It’s important to keep your pet’s accessories clean. Remember that especially your cat’s food and water bowls should be kept sanitary because they can actually be the 4th germiest item in your home. Sometimes you may notice slime on the surface of the dish, which is actually a film of bacteria that may contain E. coli, salmonella, Listeria, MRSA, and even mold. Any food bowls should be washed daily and disinfected once a week. The easiest way to ensure they are hygienic is to give them a rinse with soap and water every day and pop them in the dishwasher once a week.
6. Keep your cat hydrated
Since cats’ natural habitat is dry, they get most of their water from the food they eat, and some cats can be reluctant to drink water from a bowl. Still, it’s very important to keep your feline hydrated, and they should always have clean and fresh water available throughout the day.
Especially if your cat eats mostly dry kibble, they need hydration in the form of clean water. If your cat eats wet food, it will get most of the moisture it needs from the food, but water still needs to be offered at all times.
7. Check with a vet for specific needs
Healthy adult cats will thrive on complete and balanced cat food you can find at the supermarket, pet stores, or online. However, some cats may have health issues that may be helped with a special diet. Cats with medical conditions such as allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or obesity may need a specific diet to help control the symptoms. Get your cat checked regularly by the vet to ensure its health and ask for dietary advice if needed.
As the responsible owner of a cat, it’s your job to keep your cat in good health. And the basis of a healthy cat is a healthy and suitable diet. After all, your cat cannot choose for itself, so as a pet parent, it’s up to you to do the research and take care of providing all the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your pet needs.
These 7 tips will help you keep your cat happy, healthy, and flourishing.