What You Need To Know About Your Cat’s Diet
What Do Cats Eat?
You should provide a well rounded cat diet that is full of nutrients. While it’s OK to feed your cat dry or wet food or a combination of both, you can also offer variety by including cooked or raw fresh meat into your cat’s diet. Meat must be present in the dish to ensure your cat gets the nutrients they require to survive and thrive.
A healthy cat diet should include:
- Protein from meat, fish or poultry.
- Dry food that is high in animal proteins and low in plant proteins.
- No more than 10% of carbohydrates should be present in cat food ingredients.
- Wet foods should consist of meat with as few fillers as possible.
Can Cats Eat Cheese? Can Cats Eat Raw Chicken?
Can cats eat human food? You don’t want to wreak havoc on your cat’s digestive system, so it’s always best to check with your vet if you’re not sure. Most people are surprised to learn that cats are actually lactose intolerant and many get unwell after consuming dairy products like milk and cheese. However some cats can eat cheese with no problem. As for raw chicken, it’s normally fine if it’s fresh (salmonella is a risk for cats too) and as long as it’s not all the time! Because of the potential risk of accidentally serving your kitty some contaminated raw chicken, it’s usually recommended that you serve it cooked (boiling it in water then serving it once it’s cooled is an easy, safe way to prepare chicken for your feline friend).
Variety In Your Cat’s Diet
Would you like to eat fish twice a day, every day, for the rest of your life? Neither does your cat! Not only does your pet want variety, but fish also contains a high level of fatty acid. So feed your cat fish sometimes to give them a nutritional boost. If you are using tinned fish, it’s best to choose sardines, tuna or salmon, in plain spring water.
The Foods to Avoid In Your Cat’s Diet
There are a lot of foods that you shouldn’t feed your cat, but keep this (not-complete) list in mind when you are feeding your kitty your leftovers! Ingesting some of these can result in slight tummy distress and vomiting (like dairy) whereas others can be fatal (onions and garlic).
You should avoid giving your cat:
- Onions & Garlic
- Coffee or any products with caffeine in them (caffeine can be present in cocoa, chocolate, cola and stimulant drinks)
- Raw bread dough
- Nuts, Fruit stones and fruit seeds
- Milk and other dairy products (best to avoid this due to most cats being lactose intolerant)
- Cooked bones (they can splinter and cause serious issues to the mouth, throat and digestive track)
- Xylitol (this ingredient is a common sweetener)
A good baseline rule is that human food should not make up more than 15 percent of a cat diet.
How Much Should I Feed My Cat?
The amount of food your cat needs will depend on its weight, size and age, and sometimes you will need to monitor your cat’s weight and how much food they are leaving behind on a daily basis to determine how much food is required for them to maintain their weight.
You may need to modify your cat’s diet throughout their life, and regular check ups with your vet will ensure you are keeping on top of this. If you’re worried that you are not feeding your cat enough, feel your cat’s backbone and ribs, and if they are showing through the skin, you may need to increase your cat’s food intake.
Keep Your Cat Hydrated
Along with making sure your cat is well-fed, it’s also important to remember to ensure they are hydrated too. Cats don’t actually get “thirsty”, and they get most of their water intake with their food. Canned/wet food will ensure they stay well-hydrated, but also ensure you always have fresh water bowls for your feline friend.