Tips & Advice: Cat Nutrition

Hi everyone,

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:

Eating things they shouldn’t  

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.

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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.

Exercise

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.

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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.

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18 thoughts on “Tips & Advice: Cat Nutrition

  1. Cat grass can be a very healthy part of your cat’s regular diet and can almost eliminate their need to chew your other house plants.

    Dry food should be taken out of your cat’s diet completely. Canned food is good (the worst canned is better than the best kibble), because cats require their water with their food for optimal digestion. Raw, in the firm of a balanced home diet or commercially prepared one from a reputable manufacture is best.

    It is recommended that cats around here are indoor cats only with supervised time outside or have the use of an enclosure to keep them safe.

  2. Grass is part of their natural diet. Had outdoor cats once, grass helps them dealing with hairballs.
    Kibbles is ok, pammcinnes. Talk to your vet if you do not believe me. The problem with kibbles is that most cats tend to overeat on it. Modern cat food (dry or wet) is composed in a way that cats will not suffer damage from it. 30 years ago dry food was involved in bladder stones. But the recipes have been optimized meanwhile, especially if you choose high quality brands, not the supermarket food. My cousin has a tomcat with bladder stones – and her vet told her, that it was not the dry food, that was the root of this.

  3. Mom agrees, do not feed dry. It is still the cause of many problems. There are kitties on the internet right now asking for help with medical expenses due to a dry food diet. Mom only feeds us homemade raw food, but agrees with the statement that the cheapest wet food is better than the best dry food.

    1. I think the problem with dry food in the past was that it wasnt optimised for cat consumption. Many of the good brands nowadays are specially designed to not cause medical issues. The problem are cheap kibble high in carbohydrate. We feed ours high quality none wheat / cereal containing dry food and wet food. Trying to get them away from dry in general but its difficult because Oliver is addicted to dry food :(.

      1. Dry food contains only 10% moisture and is extruded (heated three times) and then supplemented with vitamins and minerals that likely are from China. How healthy would you be eating a steady diet of that? If someone offered to dry out your BBQ chicken and add supplements, would you take them up on it?

        Kibble is less than a 100 years old and was created for convenience. What in heaven’s name did our pets eat before that?

        We may have domesticated the cat, but we have not changed their most basic of needs for digestive health. They are carnivores that need a low carb, high moisture diet with the vitamins and minerals obtained from muscle meat and organs, just like their wild cousins.

        It is only logical. But if you need the word of a veterinarian, then take a look at what Dr. Karen Becker has to say about species appropriate diets for both cats and dogs.

        It took me a year to get my then 11-year-old rescue cat onto raw, which has done wonders to help treat and repair her mega colon, which by the way was caused, among other things, by a kibble diet.

    1. Apparently even though scientists know its causing kidney failure in dogs and cats they havent figured out what exactly the substance is that is causing it. But needless to say that they wont start trying bits out for obvious reasons! And glad they dont just experiement. 🙂

  4. I have a DSH who is just THRIVING and has been RAISED on premium dry foods.

    Wet food is junk food; its a TREAT (and nothing more). IT WILL SEND MY CAT INTO RENAL failure. She showed her first signs of increased renal values beginning at age 15. We then threw out all wet and dry food and put her on two brands of RX renal diet dry foods. Royal Canin, Hills Science and Iams makes great formulas of renal diets. My cat has stayed in the normal range DUE TO THIS STRICT DRY RENAL DIET since age 15. And, she has great teeth and NEVER needed her teeth cleaned in all her 19 years of life. We keep her very well hydrated. And, she sees the veterinarian the moment there is ANY concern at all. The CAT COMES FIRST.

    I have used animal communicators and several veterinarians. All agree that my cat is thriving. As a CRF cat, she even GAINED one entire pound in less than 3 months in the middle of November 2014 (bring my cat back to her 2011 weigh) on the dry renal diet. They had to keep switching scales because the veterinarian and the techs could not believe a CRF cat had GAINED an entire pound in under 3 months. The animal hospital came to a screeching halt. Why? My cat gained a whole pound in 2.5 months as she loves her dry renal diet!! We have now added Azodyl (a miraculous probiotic recommended by MOST veterinarians) to assist my cat’s kidneys in ridding themselves of toxins. We eliminated the proteins and phosphates. My cat is amazing. I do not feed her wet food or raw garbage, and THAT is why she thrives.

    Raw food is dangerous as in immuno-compromised geriatric cats, many cannot tolerate the “bad and unhealthy” bacteria in RAW food that younger cats can tolerate, no problem. Every veterinarian I have asked is STRONGLY against feeding raw food to an almost 19 year old CRF cat. There are mixed opinions about it for YOUNG cats.

    And, to the person who fed your cat grapes, are you KIDDING ME?

    ONE GRAPE will send your cat into renal failure. Don’t be stupid, please. Do your research. This article tells you what I just said. Debate all you want about the wet food vs dry food issue. I have “living, walking, howling, proof” that dry food has kept my cat ALIVE AND THRIVING for all these years. She is NOT a shrinking or sick kitty (as are most CRF cats). And, for a domestic, she has FAR EXCEEDED her life span by YEARS. I will continue to do what I am doing. My cat could not be doing any better. She is a walking MIRACLE. And, I will take some of the credit for putting her NEEDS FIRST.

    I am sad for all cats with uneducated owners feeding them raw and wet food. You are killing your cats. I call it SOD (Stupid Owner Disease). SOD is preventable and does NOT have to happen. Don’t be one of those owners. You are an embarrassment.

    Watch and see. As strongly as I know how, I am telling you a true story. Learn from it, please. Use premium dry foods, wet food should be just am occasional treat, take them to the vet as often as necessary—-geriatric cats like mine go every three months and they will THRIVE and break records.

    I know my veterinarian has e-mailed my cat’s WEIGHT CHART to every colleague he knows. Everyone wants to know our SECRET……Simple. Use a strict DRY renal diet and Azodyl under the supervision of a Veterinarian. I also use an animal communicator constantly; she has never once been wrong. So my cat will see 2015 and she, again, is a DSH calico cat!

    Happy New Year to all the kitties who are not stuck with SOD owners, who are killing you. Again, this is preventable. BE SMART!

    1. I disagree wholeheartedly with comments by Pammcinness and with Christy Paws. Who cares about Dr. Karen Becker? She is just ONE doctor and not the be all and end all of veterinarians. I will find you 1000 veterinarians who dispute Dr. Karen Becker. She is a human veterinarian with ONE point of view and she has a minority point of view. Treat her like a GOD, and you will KILL YOU CAT. So sorry. Good luck to you cats, as THEY PAY THE PRICE OF SOD…….ALWAYS in ALL WAYS!

    2. Quote #1: “I have a DSH who is just THRIVING and has been RAISED on premium dry foods.”

      Yet she is immunocompromised…no?

      Quote #2: “Raw food is dangerous as in immuno-compromised geriatric cats [which is your cat now, right?], many cannot tolerate the “bad and unhealthy” bacteria in RAW food that younger cats can tolerate, no problem.”

      Hmmm…so this just screams the question: why oh why is your cat currently immunocompromised? Could it be because in her vital years when nutrition was ignored for convenience, because your cat was young and vital, she was fed too much carb-based, moisture depleted kibble instead of fresh, raw muscle meat, organs and bones?

      Oh. I think so.

      And answer me this:

      Have you ever seen a diabetic cat be cured by a raw diet? I’m talking throw away the insulin cured. I have.

      Have you ever seen hair-ball problems disappear when a canned or raw diet is used? I have.

      Have you ever experienced less shedding, brighter eyes, more even energy and a shinier coat from a cat on a raw fed diet? I have.

      How about the loss of the carb belly, which puts such a strain on a poor cat’s spine.

      Or the scratching problem due to allergies that is eliminated when put on a raw diet.

      I have seen kibble-fed dogs and cats stand beside raw-fed dogs and cats and have been able to immediately pick out the animal who is fed raw based on his healthier appearance and overall disposition.

      So Happy New Year to you, Lawjic. May YOU eat entirely processed extruded food that has only 10% moisture for all of 2015, so in 2016 you might perhaps see exactly why whole foods and species appropriate diets are best for ALL animals to TRULY thrive.

      1. Hi everyone. Thanks for everyone’s comments. While I value opinion i think it’s best to close this post for further comments. The dry versus wet food diet has been discussed many times over by many qualified vets and I hope we can leave it at that as I did not intend for it to go personal.

Why not meow a comment to fellow readers?