The best diet for your cat
It’s really important to choose the right food for your cat. Feeding them the correct diet means they will have all the nutrients they need at the different stages of their lives, helping to keep them healthy and happy.
Why is my cat’s diet important?
Feeding your cat the correct food is really important for their health. Just like us, your cat needs to eat a balanced diet each day to give them energy and nutrients.
Read also: Feeding method in cat
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There are certain nutrients that cats are unable to make in their own bodies like we do, so the right diet will provide them with everything they need. These include amino acids called Taurine and Arginine, essential building blocks for protein in the body, which can only be found in animal meat as well as certain vitamins. Because of this, cats are classed as ‘obligate carnivores’, meaning that they are strictly meat eaters. If your cat isn’t fed a diet that contains these meat-based nutrients, they could become extremely ill. Taurine deficiency can cause life-threatening heart problems and eye issues that can lead to blindness.
Feeding your cat the correct amount of a high quality, complete cat food and keeping a close eye on your cat’s diet can also help them stay at the ideal weight. Obesity is a growing problem for the UK’s pets, and overweight or obese cats are at risk of serious health problems including diabetes and arthritis. Regularly weighing your cat will help you spot quickly if they’re putting on any weight, so you can adjust their diet as needed.
What should I feed my cat?
With so many different cat foods available, choosing one can feel a bit overwhelming! Here’s what to look out for when picking the best diet for your cat:
Complete: Always feed your cat a food that is labelled ‘complete’ because this means that it contains all the nutrients they need. ‘Complementary’ foods can be given in small amounts alongside their main diet.
Commercially available: It’s really difficult to give your cat everything they need in a homemade diet so we advise to always buy a commercial cat food rather than making your own at home. You can buy these from pet shops, vets or supermarkets.
Life stage appropriate: The nutrients your cat needs will change as they grow older – for this reason, it’s important to make sure you’re always feeding the right food for their stage of life i.e. kitten, adult or senior. If your cat has any extra requirements such as being pregnant, needing to lose weight, or if they have a chronic illness, speak to your vet about ensuring their food is right for this, too.
Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association (PFMA): Look for a manufacturer that is part of the PFMA. Food manufacturers who are members of this organisation meet extra quality standards than the legal minimum.
Wet vs dry: Most cats like variety in their food, so many owners choose to feed a combination of wet and dry – you’ll just need to make sure that you’re feeding them the right amount by looking at the packets and working out the correct portion sizes. Feeding a wet diet can help to increase your cat’s water intake if they’re not keen on drinking.
Flavour, texture and ingredients: Your cat may enjoy a variety of flavours and textures, or they might prefer to stick to a particular type – it doesn’t matter which one you choose, as long as they are happy. While it’s nice to know what in your cat’s food, the ingredients list can be confusing. All pet food ingredients need to legally pass a vet inspection as ‘fit for human consumption’, so unless your cat has a food allergy, the exact ingredients don’t really matter.
Vegetarian and vegan diets for cats
If you’re not a meat eater yourself, it can be hard to feed meat to your cat. While we can choose not to eat meat and get a properly balanced diet from plant-based foods, cats need meat to give them certain nutrients that they can’t get anywhere else, so it’s very difficult for them to survive and stay healthy on a vegetarian or vegan diet.
We always recommend feeding your cat a high quality, complete commercial diet. While there are some vegetarian and vegan cat foods available, before you start feeding them, it’s essential to make sure your cat will still get all the nutrients they need to stay healthy. Speak to your vet for advice if you are unsure.
Raw diets for cats
Some owners choose to feed their cats a raw diet with uncooked ingredients instead of the more traditional cooked varieties. Raw diets can provide all the nutrients your cat needs, however, unfortunately, they can increase the risk of certain diseases or health problems, especially if the diet isn’t prepared or stored correctly.
If you decide to feed a raw diet to your cat, choose a commercially prepared, complete raw diet. These will have the correct balance of nutrients and will have checks in place to reduce the risk of any problems. As with any diets, we do not recommend trying to make a raw diet for your cat at home, as it is extremely difficult to get the right balance of nutrients. Some of the diseases caused by raw diets can also be passed to people, so it very important to have strict hand and food hygiene if you decide to feed your cat a raw diet.
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