“When Rome burned, the emperor’s cats still expected to be fed on time.”
Diet is the brick and mortar of health, putting a little thought into what you feed your cat can pay a great advantage over their lifetime and help them avoid serious, painful, and costly illnesses.
Cats are carnivores and that is the key attribute to their apt diet. WHY CARNIVORES?Their nutritional needs are met by the consumption of a large amount of animal-based proteins and they derive much less nutritional support from plant-based proteins. It is so because cats lack specific metabolic (enzymatic) pathways which cannot utilize plant proteins as efficiently as animal proteins. For instance, Taurine which is one of the most important nutrients required for cats is present in meat but it is missing from plants. Deficiency of Taurine causes blindness and heart problems in cats.
Other important facts that need to be kept under consideration while feeding your cats are its age, weight and shape. Alongside packet feeding, veterinary advice and guidelines should be taken into account in order to provide them a healthy and balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs.
Do cats of different ages need different food?
One of the best ways to achieve the correct balance of nutrients is to feed your cat according to ‘life stages’. This is because cats of different ages have different nutritional requirements. They should be fed in various ways when they are kittens, adult cats and senior cats. For example, kittens need more calories in their food, they are different from adult cats and so are their nutritional needs, the energy needed to support a growing kitten is greater than the energy requirements for an adult cat so it’s important to choose the right food for them. Several leading brands of commercially available cat food offer different foods for different life stages and buying these is a good way of ensuring that your cat gets the right nutrients.
If this is your first time and you have just acquired your cute, little kitten then you’re probably learning all about kitten care. You want to do all that you can to ensure that your adorable baby grows into a healthy adult. Proper feeding and adequate diet is a major part of the health maintenance and growth of your kitten. The paramount necessity of the kitten in the first four weeks is the mother’s milk but even so, there can be problems. If the mother cat refuses to take care of her kittens, you’ll have to hand feed them with a bottle. A kitten gradually transcends to kitten food, and is completely weaned off from the mother at about eight weeks, in this subtle process you should start providing kitten food and help the kitty evolve past the eight week stage. They should be fed atleast four times a day since their stomachs are small, it is almost impossible for them to attain the required nutritional values if they are not provided with the right amount of meals. One can mix water while serving their kittens dry/canned food whereas wet food should be restored in refrigerators and warmed up while serving. In this stage they should be served a minimum fat and protein and a maximum fiber and moisture rich diet. Their food has to be well balanced, and systematic as they can develop deficiencies due to lack of protein in their food.
The kitten is considered mature post six months, they continue to grow even after stepping into the category of Adult cats.
They should eat enough of a high-quality, nutritious food to meet their energy needs and to maintain and repair body tissues. The amount of food you feed to your adult cat should be based on his or her size and energy output this also effects the energy levels of your cat dramatically. The brand of canned food you’re feeding also makes a difference. A dense, high quality dry cat food will contain more nutrients by weight than a low-quality food, and thus require smaller portions to deliver the same amount of nutrition. Now as the cats are entering into the adult stage, you may gradually space out the meals to twice or thrice a day. Unless a kitten is showing excessive weight gain, he is considered an “adult” at the age of one year, and for the next nine years or so, may be fed adult “maintenance” food twice or thrice a day.
Studies in the past reveal that cats have lived long and happy lives on an exclusive diet of dry foods, and for working care givers, adult cats may be fed a meal of canned food every morning and night, with dry food left out for grazing.
Many cats begin to encounter age-related physical changes between seven and ten years of age, and most do so by the time they are twelve. By the time a cat reaches his/her twelfth birthday, he/she is equivalent to a 64-year-old human and as they age they start to fall to many of the ailments that we do. They might not show a growth process physically as evident as of a dog or a human but scientific studies reveal that they undergo all the same aging phenomenon.
Please Note: Cats may have a decreased sense of taste and smell, plus older cats often have dental problems. Both of which can result in a reluctance to eat.
Your senior cat may still look and act young, but that does not mean you should fill his food bowl with the same food he/she has always eaten. Should you adjust your cat’s diet once he/she reaches senior status? What dietary changes do you need to make if they are diagnosed with a chronic condition? Here is some helpful advice.
There are special diets on the market especially designed for senior cats. To ensure proper nutrition, select a nutritionally balanced and complete diet for your cat’s stage of life. If your cat has a medical condition such as diabetes your veterinarian may recommend a prescription diet to help manage it. Your veterinarian is the best person in regards to what is the best diet for your cat and what are its own specific requirements. Never attempt to change your cat’s diet without consulting your veterinarian first.
In their senior years more than ever cats need a high quality, palatable diet with easy to digest protein and a careful balance of key nutrients. Cats spend roughly 40% of their lives as seniors, so it’s important they eat the right food to stay in good health. A good senior diet provides concentrated, high quality, protein, controlled levels of fat and easy to digest carbohydrates for energy. Key minerals support ageing joints, and vitamins, along with proteins, help support the aging immune system.
To help your cat maintain or lose weight, you may need to measure out the food and feed half the allowed amount twice daily. Older cats can have a natural tendency to put on weight as their activity-level decreases. Obesity is a common nutritional disorder in cats, and needs to be monitored carefully. Keep adjusting how much you feed your senior cat as her energy level and calorie needs change. Overweight cats are more likely to develop diabetes and urinary problems and obesity will exacerbate arthritis and other conditions. Lower calorie levels in senior foods can help control the tendency. About 50 calories per kilogram per day is enough for the typical indoor cat, you can adjust that up or down depending on your cat’s health and activity level. The bottom line is ten calories- more than a cat needs in a day , it adds up to a pound of body fat in a year. It is not difficult for an animal to overeat and gain weight.
But one should never starve their cats as this can result in serious health problems and always remember that food is only a part of the equation and senior cats need to be active just like younger cats. At the same time, very old cats can often get thinner due to underlying medical problems, or aging changes in their senses reducing food intake and changes in the digestive system reducing the absorption of food. If you think your older cat is underweight, consult your vet before changing your cat’s feeding regime.
Cats require less water than many other animals, say dogs and we often have a difficult time getting them to drink as much water as we would like. A cat needs two shallow bowls-one for water and one for food. Pottery bowls are ideal as they are easy to clean and can be replaced when they are chipped or cracked but its not that easy since cats can be very finicky about their water and it should not be taken lightly. Proper hydration is important for a healthy urinary tract and to help lower the risk of urinary tract infections. Cats with certain health problems, especially kidney failure and bladder infections, need to drink more water than an average cat. Cats may not touch a bowl of water available to them all day, but rush for a drink when you turn on a faucet. Some cats will drink from their water bowl, but insist on splashing the water, too. And others might tip the bowl over, choosing to drink only from the floor.
It is very important that your cat is properly hydrated and here are a few ways in which you can encourage your cat to drink water :
- Increase the number of bowls of water
- Move the water bow
- Vary the type of bowl
- Change the temperature
- Try running water
- Try a cat drinking fountain
- Consider the flavor of the water
- Add water to the food
You’ve gathered your most useful tips and as anyone who has ever been around a cat for any length of time knows well that cats have enormous patience with the limitations of the human kind.