Healthy Cat Eating
A balanced feline nutrition is very essential for the overall well-being of cats. Just like us, even cats require a balanced and nutritious diet comprising of foods that aim to maintain their health. Feline nutrition is specific and the nutritional quality of foods is very important for a healthy cat. As a cat owner you need to invest some time in understanding the nutritional requirements of your feline friend, which will in the long run prevent your cat from illness.
A large number of diseases like diabetes, urinary tract infections, irritable bowel syndrome, and obesity are all directly related to the type of food you feed your cat. It is necessary to feed cats according to their age, breed, lifestyle and size for a disease free health. Only a balanced feline nutrition will guarantee good health. Following are the factors that decide the nutrient requirements of your cat.
Understanding your Cat
Most of the time we tend to disregard certain foods as not suitable for cats leading to poor nutrition. Some foods considered safe can harm your cat if you do not have complete knowledge about what food to give and avoid in cats. Cats are not good at taste and hence do not require variety in their foods. Cats are equipped with jaws for cutting and not for chewing. Cats generally draw their maximum energy from stored fat, but that doesn’t mean you need to overfeed and make them obese. Cats are lactose intolerant and you should avoid feeding milk to cats, though this is hard to believe after watching the numerous Tom and Jerry episodes. Cats that stay indoors require less energy as compared to outdoor cats. According to a survey more than 80% cats suffer from dental problems.
Nutrition Varies for Indoor and Outdoor Cats
Cats staying indoors burn only 30% of their energy and that too on licking their coat. This activity can lead to risks of hairball forming in its digestive tract. To eliminate this hairball naturally with less effort, you need to feed your cat diet rich in fiber. Overweight cats need to have their diet altered to suit their weight. You need to cut down on diet rich in carbohydrates and fat to decrease the calorie intake.
An outdoor cat on the other hand burns more calories and has high energy requirements. Energy required for such cats depends a lot on the weather, the territory covered, and feline size. The food and energy requirements of such cats need to be addressed accordingly. The nutrition needs in such cats can alter as the weather changes and when they stay indoors.
Nutrition according to Age
Most cats show signs of aging by the age of seven, while some show physical signs by the age of twelve. This depends on the breed of the cat. As the cat ages its physical activity tends to be less, leading to less energy, difficulty in running, walking and even loss of appetite. Older cats are more prone to diseases like respiratory ailments, cardiac problems, infections and weak immune system. Ailments like kidney disorders, tumors, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism are some common ailments. Older cats can also be underweight and experience loss of muscles. Obesity is one of the prime causes for many of the above diseases in cats. The diet chart of cats needs to be adjusted once the cat reaches 10 to help counter these diseases properly.
Any illness should be detected early for a thorough treatment. Cats need to be taken to a vet every six months after they reach the age of 12 and once a year vet visit is ideal for cats less than 12 to rule out any diseases and nutritional deficiencies in your pet cat. Cats are carnivores; this means they require certain types of nutrients that can be found only in meats. Meat is their main source of energy. Carbohydrates can be cut down in cats since they are predominantly carnivores. A healthy proportion of carbohydrates, protein and fats can be included in their diet. Even protein should be in moderation as too much protein in cat food can worsen some preexisting diseases in cats, while too little protein will put cats at risk of developing weakness and metabolic disorders.
An ideal feline nutrition comprising of all the correct nutrients that aim to increase the overall well-being of cats helps the body to function properly. The energy a cat requires comes from the nutrition rich diet it eats. Everything in moderation will help keep your feline friend energetic and healthy throughout.