Food is very important for cats, who must eat little but regularly, and it impacts many things, such as the onset of heart problems and kidney failure, the leading cause of death in cats.
Feeding your cat well will help him avoid the most common fatal diseases and make him age well in addition to living longer. So in this article, you’ll find out everything you need to know to ensure your cat can eat well and be healthy for many years to come.
The food itself
A diet rich in animal protein
Cats are pure and hard carnivores and cannot be vegetarians, they have very strong needs in animal food because the meat is essential to them to synthesize taurine, which is essential for its muscular functioning, a deficiency causing in the long run a heart failure and loss of sight.
If your cat has access to the outdoors, it will be able to hunt mice and birds, and even rabbits , but indoors meat should be provided in high doses. So check that your cat has enough of it, which will be the case if his diet consists of good quality kibble and mash.
You can compare animal protein levels on the pouches, but also compare all the nutritional aspects.
A diet rich in vitamins and minerals
A diet rich in vitamins and mineral salts is also necessary to avoid deficiencies that always end in disease, so there too, make sure that your cat has everything it needs by comparing the packets of cat food.
Vitamin A, first of all, which is necessary for his vision and his eyes in general, just like for us.
The B vitamins, which are necessary for its muscles, skin, nervous or immune system and for the production of blood cells in the case of vitamin B12.
Vitamin D, essential for the skeleton and which in cats can only be provided by nutrition and not with the sun.
Vitamin E, essential for red blood cells and their synthesis.
However, avoid giving them supplements for humans because they are not suitable for them and a balanced diet will allow them to have enough. Deficiencies mainly affect older cats. In this case, Zooplus or Vetostore make it possible to obtain food supplements adapted to the organism of cats.
Providing him with enough vitamins will prevent him from rapidly degenerating his body and therefore the appearance of diseases.
Here the diagram is simple, it is about the elements which the cat needs so that proteins, lipids and carbohydrates are transported in the organization and thus which is allowed by a food rich in animal proteins.
Carbohydrates, proteins and lipids
Carbohydrates and fats are less important for cats than for us, 45% carbohydrates and 10% fats are necessary, but exceeding these limits will cause long-term obesity with related problems such as diabetes, heart or kidney failure.
So if your cat is getting fat, make sure to reverse the trend with lighter portions and more regular activity (I’ll come back to this point a little later).
As for proteins, they must be given in large quantities with 1/3 of high-protein food, type mash for cats and they must be of animal and not vegetable source.
Cats need mineral salts to avoid terrible consequences for their health in general, be it calcium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, zinc and magnesium. Your cat will be stronger and will hurt less and will have a much more resistant body which will make it a less favorable ground for diseases.
For mineral salts, it’s like for vitamins, the diet provides enough of them and for older cats, supplements are recommended depending on the state of its degeneration and the parts of the body it affects to prevent the lack of the mineral salts in question does not cause them to suffer major illnesses.
Fibers and fatty acids
Here, digestion is at stake, and enough fatty acids are necessary so that your cat does not have a problem with diarrhea or even constipation. Omega 3 and 6 are essential for cats and you can give them fish (ideally small ones because they are lower in mercury) at the rate of 20 grams per day for white fish and twice a week for oily fish.
The most qualitative cat foods have enough but will be much more expensive than classic kibble.
A dry part
The cat needs a portion of dry food, in this case kibble, essential for its teeth, avoiding tart and other more important problems later such as tooth loss.
The kibble should provide 2/3 of the cat’s food, but if your cat has access to the outside and eats there, you can wait until he eats his kibble before giving him his mash to avoid potential dental and nutritional health problems.
A wet part
The remaining third must be moist for optimal hydration and to avoid urinary problems with age such as incontinence or painful and bloody stools. Outdoor cats can do without if they are excellent hunters, but it’s always best to give them some, as they probably won’t hunt much in the winter. Feeding your cat only kibble will suffer from long-term heart and kidney disease, the most provocative diseases in cats.
Water is vital to the cat, this is not news. But the water must be of good quality, it can come from the tap, there is no problem on that, but certain points must be respected:
A daily change
The water should be changed daily, otherwise it will go stale and the bacteria and other dangers of unsafe water will enter your cat’s body. Your cat will refuse to drink impure water anyway. Moreover, cats always have a preference for flowing water, from a water fountain for example, because it seems much healthier to them, which is indeed the case in the wild.
Cool water is preferable for cats, because their organism is not naturally made to drink hot, the only exception is when the cat is sick, to avoid hurting him, whether it is in his teeth or in his throat according to the problem, then you can give it lukewarm water.
Enough in quantity
Always get your cat to drink as much as they want, they don’t need a lot of water anyway. If your cat does not drink enough or irregularly, he will end up suffering from stones with terrible consequences for his health and a potential major surgery.
Pay attention to cleaning the bowl
The bowl is also important and must be cleaned, but not in just any way. First of all, your cat must absolutely have a clean bowl to prevent it from ingesting bacteria. But be careful to wash the bowl with products that are not toxic to it. Baking soda allows you to clean it thoroughly, and without danger or odor for your cat.
How to manage your diet?
With all these nutritional idiosyncrasies, you may be wondering how to provide it all, but rest assured, all you need to do is get used to the distribution and compare the food packets for the nutritional aspect. .
Once you have chosen the most nutritious brand, you will have a safe bet for the functioning of your cat’s body.
And if your cat has predispositions or certain problems, you can change the diet to one designed for your cat. For example, Royal Canin provides kibble for cats with kidney failure.
I advise you to avoid industrial croquettes, generally first price, which have too many cereals and promote certain serious diseases such as diabetes and too few nutritional benefits.
The biological value on the package will let you know exactly the body’s ability to absorb the proteins it contains.
As far as food intake is concerned, your cat must eat little but regularly, and if it is an apartment cat, remember that it does not have access to the outside and that you must therefore feed it. 100% and don’t count on him hunting to eat his animal protein.
Is homemade food a good thing?
Cats often prefer human food, they often climb on the table when he smells good food. But it is not recommended to replace a feline diet because it will not meet its daily needs.
Vegetables, for example, are toxic to some and bad in large quantities to others because of their carbohydrate content. A cat must have its own food.
Foods that are dangerous for cats
Certain foods or specific foods are very harmful to the body of cats, so I have gathered for you the different foods for cats that are often given to them, but wrongly, here are the reasons for not giving them to each one. your cat:
- Milk : Milk is bad for cats because it causes digestive upset and only stores itself as fat once the first weeks of a cat’s life are over. The only case where milk can be given is if your cat is not eating abnormally and worryingly, so that he can put on some fat, if he only accepts to drink milk.
- Bones: Cats and dogs are very different, giving a chicken bone to your cat, for example, risks perforating his respiratory tract or digestive system, a cat should therefore never eat bones at the risk of swallowing them one end, for the edges it is acceptable if they are small fish like sardines for example.
- All grains : Which can cause kidney failure and digestive problems. And anyway, cats don’t need as many carbohydrates as we do, they mainly need protein for their organism to function well.
- Any seasoning : Like salt, lemon or even vinegar, because many elements composing the seasoning will be dangerous to him at the gastric level. He’ll hate the smell anyway, and if he eats it, expect diarrhea and vomiting.
- Raw fish : And yes, when fish is raw, it contains an enzyme that causes vitamin B deficiency, so avoid giving it to your cat. Cold fish, such as canned tuna or canned sardines, for example, do not pose a problem because they are not raw, but you have to be careful with the quantities.
- Chocolate : Which contains theobromine and can cause arrhythmia and tremors. Cat and chocolate never go together.
- Raw meat: Raw meat, whether red or white, can carry disease for cats. Always cook it if you want to give it to him.
In general, always check that the human food you want to give your cat is suitable for him to prevent him from developing an illness.
How to feed a cat: The final word
Feeding your cat well means making it live much longer, so use all these tips well so that your cat can live as long as possible in good health. The main diseases that cause the death of the cat are heart and kidney disease, except food is the first responsible for this problem.