Please find below some useful tips in form of a Guest Post by the team from Pets at Home:
Although it’s often tempting to spoil our feline friends, good nutrition for cats is just as important as it is for humans. We at Pets at Home believe that a healthy cat is a happy one, which is why we offer such an extensive range of nutritional information and consultation services to keep your pet feeling at their best. If you’re a new cat owner, start with some of our handy advice below:
Most cats are fairly cautious when it comes to unfamiliar foods, but there are still some commonly-found human snacks and household items that you should be wary of letting your pet eat. Food that is not designed for cats can result in vomiting, diarrhoea or loss of appetite – alcohol, chocolate and caffeinated drinks should all be kept completely out of their reach. Onions and garlic are known to cause anaemia in cats, while even one grape or raisin can result in acute kidney failure.
Many cats like to chew on plants, but even greenery as common as grass can have an irritating effect on a cat’s gastrointestinal system. House plants like lilies, chrysanthemums, mistletoe and tulips are all particularly dangerous. Where possible, remove them from your home or keep them on high shelves where your cat can’t reach.
An additional infographic on this has been previously posted on Katzenworld here.
Cats that are allowed outside should get all the exercise they need from roaming freely around your neighbourhood, but indoor pets may need a slightly more formal exercise regime. Domesticated ‘indoor’ cats should only be kept in sizable houses or spacious flats that have enough room for your cat to wander around easily. Scatter cat trees or scratching posts around your home, or even invest in a cat jungle gym. Take at least 15 minutes a day to play energetically with your cat and their toys – younger kittens may desire more attention, whereas as an older cat will need a more gentle approach, building up playtime gradually over a few weeks.
The balance between healthy foods and treats
Cats are known for their high metabolism, which means it can take a long time for an overeating cat to exhibit a noticeable weight gain. All cats should be allowed the occasional treat, but it is important not to let these outnumber their ‘normal’ foods. Litter boxes are the best way to check that your cat is healthy – urinary tract infections can be a sign of high calcium and obesity, while an inability to pass stools will indicate a gastrointestinal irritability. Carbohydrate-rich food is fattening to cats, even in small quantities, so aim for a diet that incorporates a wide spread of wet and dry food, as well as plenty of water. If you wish to introduce a new food to your cat’s diet, do it gradually – it will help reduce the chance of rejection and ensure that the change doesn’t affect their digestive system too abruptly.
For more advice about caring for your cat, visit Pets at Home’s cat nutrition website here.