On the surface, cat food may seem straightforward: simply buy food and give it to your cat. Simple, right?
The truth is that it can be a little more complicated. You have to figure out how much to feed your cat based on its breed and weight, what the healthiest option is (and every brand claims to be healthy), and how often to feed them.
This article covers the basics and if we’ve done our job well it will answer your most pressing questions.
One of the first questions many pet owners have is how much to feed a cat. According to the ASPCA, it depends on the weight, age, and type of cat you have. It’ll also depend on their overall health. For example, a cat with specific health issues (e.g. diabetes) may have different nutritional needs than other cats.
When you buy cat food it will have a label on it that tells you how much should be fed to a cat. For example, it may say that a cat that weighs five pounds needs 1/4 – 1/3 cup per day while a cat that weighs 15 pounds needs 1/2 – 3/4 cup per day.
While these are good guides to go by, remember that the posted amount must be adjusted based on your cat’s energy level. If your cat is about average as far as activity goes then you can follow this amount. If they’re less active they’ll need about 10% less food and if they’re very active they may need 40% more.
The weather can also play a role in how much you feed your cat. During hot months, your cat won’t need as much and during cooler months they’ll need more.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is to give their cats unlimited access to food. In the wild, cats are hunters. They don’t have unlimited food available to them. The goal is to give them a few small meals per day. If you’re at home a lot, ideally they’d be fed 3 – 4 very small meals per day.
Cats are obligate carnivores and need animal protein to survive. As a result, the first thing to know about the healthiest cat food is that it should have quality protein sources in it. In particular, cats require a chemical called taurine which can only be found in meat, so it’s crucial they are given enough of this each day to thrive.
There are many different categories of cat food including:
Some pet owners choose to buy grain-free cat food because they believe there are benefits to removing grain from their cat’s diet. Studies have shown that grain-free cat food can improve the digestive system of cats and there may be other benefits too.
High fiber cat food is likely not the healthiest cat food for your cat if it is already relatively healthy. It’s generally recommended by vets for cats who are constipated or have other digestive issues. Giving high fiber cat food to a cat that doesn’t need it can actually make their health worse.
High protein cat food can have a lot of benefits including:
Remember that cats prefer protein so high protein can food is likely to be a choice they’ll love. However, cats with certain issues – namely kidney disease – should not be fed a high protein diet. Talk to your vet if you’re not sure what the healthiest cat food is for your cat.
There are literally thousands of cat food brands on the market. While you may eventually find a cat food brand you really enjoy, the key is not to pay so much attention to the brand as it is to pay attention to the ingredient list. Look especially at the first five ingredients and skip it if any of these are listed:
You should also take a look at the type of protein used. You want healthy, high-protein options like fish, poultry, or turkey. Avoid generic meats or meat byproducts.
Some of the top-selling natural cat food brands include:
There are pros and cons to both dry food and wet food but many cat owners feel strongly about one over the other. We’ll give you both sides of the story so you can make your own decision.
There are many reasons people decide to make homemade cat food. They may want to save money, they may have a cat with health issues and want to assure it gets exactly the nutrition it needs, or they may simply like the process.
To start with, you must understand what cats need to eat:
There are a few human ingredients that won’t agree with your cat. Be sure to avoid:
Be sure you’re not serving your cat raw meat or fish. According to the FDA, raw meat isn’t any safer for your cat than it is for you. You still run the risk of e. coli, salmonella, and a number of other potential deadly issues. The general rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t eat it you shouldn’t feed it to your cat.
Try these homemade cat food recipes to give your cat a special treat or as their daily sustenance.
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to three days.
Any leftovers can be refrigerated for up to three days.
Plenty of cats like greens. You may have seen outdoor cats eating leaves or grass. However, indoor cats rarely if ever have access to greens. This cat salad shouldn’t be a part of your cat’s daily diet but it can make a great treat that’s sure to leave them purring in appreciation.
Leftovers can be refrigerated and stored for up to three days.