The right diet is really important for your cat. It’ll help keep them happy and healthy. The diet they need will vary depending on their age and we recommend feeding cats dependent on their life stage.
Obesity is a growing problem for the UK’s and USA pets. We see lots of overweight cats every year which can cause lots of health problems they otherwise might not get. Keeping a close eye on your cat’s diet will help keep them at their ideal weight. You may find regularly weighing your cat will be useful in keeping your cat’s weight in check. You can read advice about obesity in cats on our website: topratedcatfoods.com.
A Cat’s Diet
Cats are called'obligate carnivores', meaning they are strictly cats. Their bodies require certain nutrients (which may simply be seen from animal meat) they're unable to create themselves. A good illustration of them are Taurine and Arginine, that are crucial building blocks to the cat's health. Taurine deficiency may cause dangerous heart issues and eye problems that may result in blindness.
The simplest way to be certain that your cat is getting all of the nutrients that they want is to feed them a fantastic quality, complete cat foods. You can purchase these from pet stores, vets, supermarkets or by our PDSA Pet Store.
In addition to life stage diets, you may even get diets that are especially for the requirements of cats. Neutered cat diets are generally lower in fat to maintain your cat healthy and trim.
Many people decide to feed their cat a raw diet which if performed incorrectly can pose a threat to a cat's health.
‘Life-stage feeding’ matches your cat’s diet to what they need at different ages and stages of development. As well as energy, cats need different levels of protein, vitamins and minerals and fats in their diet depending on their age. Commercial cat food companies make food especially for these life stages.
A cat’s life stages for feeding are varied depending on food manufacturer, but this is a good guide:
- Kitten: 0-12 months
- Adult cat: between 1 and 7 years of age
- Senior cat: over 7 years of age
- Geriatric cat: over 11 years of age.
Feeding your kitten
Kittens begin to eat solid foods from around three weeks old. This ought to be given as little quantities, frequently, as their mother will still be feeding them also. Kitten's tummies remain modest, but by about eight months that your kittens must be nice with five small meals every day.
From eight months, the amount of foods that your kitty has should be slowly decreased over the forthcoming months till they are about six months old, if they'll be down to 2 meals every day. If your kitty is new to you, you would have to ask the breeder or rehoming protector what your kitty was fed and keep with this particular food before your kitten is nicely settled in their new residence, as unexpected changes to their diet may trigger upset tummies and diarrhoea.
If you decide to change to a new diet once your kitten is settled, this would need to be gradually introduced. You can read our advice on this online.
Feeding your adult cat
A great deal of cats want to'graze' through the day rather than being limited to dinner time, eating between 8 and 16 times every day when given the opportunity! Should you allow your kitty graze feed, then it is best simply to leave dry food out to them, since there's an opportunity wet food will go away or be eaten with a different cat.
It is a fantastic idea to weigh your cat's meals at the onset of the afternoon, that way you won't hesitate to over feed. Most cats are extremely good at understanding just how much they will need to consume, but a few really like their meals and will keep asking for more.
Here are some of our tips for feeding your adult cat:
- Your cat will need constant access to fresh, clean water from a clean bowl.
- Choose shallow bowls. Cats prefer these as they can see around them as they eat and drink.
- Shallow bowls also prevent a cat from brushing their whiskers against the side of the bowl.
- Choose bowls which are easy to clean, such as pottery bowls. Buy separate food and water bowls and have an extra of each, because cats are happier with choice!
- Avoid plastic bowls. They are harder to clean and can build up food odour over time which can put a cat off its food.
- Always keep food and water bowls well away from litter as cats don’t like to eat where they use the toilet.
- Remember your cat will need two separate feeding areas and water and food bowls should be kept apart. You can read more about how to set up the perfect home for your cat online.
Feeding your senior cat
Now that your furry friend is becoming older, their diet will probably need changing to satisfy their mature needs. Although you might notice their activity levels begin to slow down, it's been discovered that even though a geriatric cat's energy conditions don't reduce by much as they get older. Nevertheless, senior cats may be able to break down fat and protein in their food and frequently have a less sense of taste and odor that may mean they struggle to get enough nutrients from their food. Senior cat foods have a tendency to be more easily digestible and contain a balance of nutrients that are suited to cat as they age that could help compensate for the modifications older cats experience.
Another problem is that older cats can start to struggle with dental issues which can affect their ability to consume their usual diet. If you become aware of any changes in your cats eating behavior such as growling when ingesting, not swallowing and chewing foods whole, eating to one side of their mouth, dropping meals or leaving their food, or some other weight loss - it's ideal to speak to your vet for information.
If you are worried that your cat's not taking enough water on board, then changing to a wet food is an excellent method of getting more water into them. This can help keep things flowing, protecting your cat's older kidneys. Geriatric diets can come as a dry or moist food, so you might want to provide both if that's what your cat prefers.
Keep an eye on the amount of food and water your older cat has each day. Eating less or losing weight can be a symptom of older age problems such as organ disease (e.g. kidney disease) or diabetes. If you’re worried that your cat is drinking more, take a look at our advice.