Keeping your Feline Friend healthy this Winter

Even though your cat can spend extended periods of time outside of the house, they do rely on us for the food and shelter that they need to remain fit and healthy all year round.

This is especially true in the winter — the most trying of all seasons for a cat to be outside. This short guide will help you understand the best types of food, and what to avoid, for your cat to thrive and receive the best possible nutrients this winter.

The more meat the better

Cats are Obligatory Carnivores. This means that according to their genetic makeup, cats need to eat the meat tissue of other animals in order for them to survive. The main source of a cat’s nutrients comes from meat, and although they can eat other foods such as fruits and vegetables, it is essential that there is a plentiful supply of meat in their diet to ensure they remain healthy in the winter.

The nutritional significance of meat within a cat’s diet arises because meat proteins contain taurine, and cats need this if they are to remain healthy when they are outside exploring during harsh winter conditions. Muscle meats are usually a good source of taurine; premium cat foods will usually source a named muscle meat as the top ingredient within their product. Functioning as an essential amino acid, taurine helps to keep a cat’s immune system in top condition, which is particularly important in the winter when temperatures can impact an animal’s strength and ability to function normally.

cat-by-road

Give your cat a mixture of canned and dry foods

If you don’t feel like eating the same meals every day, then don’t make your cat do it either. Cats need a variety of different foods in their diet, especially in the winter, because:

  • A cat can just as easily become dehydrated in the winter months as they would in the summer; cats don’t usually drink a lot of water, so ensuring they receive wet canned foods is an important measure in keeping them hydrated.
  • If cats are fed the same food day in and day out, they become bored. What is worrying is that cats will simply decide to stop eating. During the winter, it is important to check your cat remains fuelled on the foods that it eats so that it can comfortably roam in the frost or a blizzard.
  • Cats can be fussy, and if they’re given something they like over a prolonged period of time, they can become addicted to that particular food. Make sure they don’t become too accustomed to either dry or wet food – this will stop them from becoming fussy about what they eat, and you will feel good in the knowledge that they’re receiving a nutritionally balanced diet.

cat-paw-snow

What foods to avoid in the winter and altogether.

On the whole, wet canned foods are better for cats than dry foods. This is because dry foods can contain up to 50% carbohydrates in the form of grain. Cats don’t need large quantities of carbohydrate in their diet because their main food source is meat. If you’d still like to provide your cat with a healthier alternative to wet canned food, try Feedem’s Grain Free Cat Food.

All quality cat food will include a stated meat within the ingredients. If your food does not currently state this, then you need to find one that does. Descriptions such as ‘by-products’ or ‘meat and/or bone meal’ are not sufficient descriptions of what is included in the portion of food, and this could lead to your cat not receiving the correct nutrients during such a difficult season.

Whether your cat spends the majority of its time on the sofa, or enjoys perusing the great outdoors, it is important to make sure that they are receiving the correct nutrients during the winter months. If you stick to our guide, then your cat will have no problem ditching its favourite spot next to you for the snow outside.

winter-cat

Sources:

http://cats.about.com/od/catfoodglossary/g/obligcarnivore.htm

http://cats.about.com/cs/catfood/a/tipsforchoosing.htm

Photo Credits:

Snow cat with stretched out paw – PetPlace (Also contains extra useful information)
Cat behind snowy branches – Cats Protection (Again further useful tips!)
Cat standing at the road – Catster (Got some extra safety tips.)

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48 thoughts on “Keeping your Feline Friend healthy this Winter

  1. Very interesting. Most sites say dry food is not good for your cat so don’t feed it to them….at least the ones I’ve read. Shoko loves her dry and yes she is putting weight on. It’s TIME I CHANGED HER TO A DIET dry. Sorry bout the capitals…I’m still trying to get used to a new keyboard.

    Jean

    Liked by 1 person

        1. It depends on the dry food. I.e. Loads is full of carbs. In the Uk we’ve started seeing a surge of high quality 100% meat dry cat food which doesn’t have that problem.

          Also a big problem is the letting cats graze on a bowl of food. It causes their body to produce acid that can turn to crystals in their urinary tract. So giving them just the right amount of dry food stops that.

          Additionally some people forget to provide more water which is needed when on a dry diet.

          Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve read the same thing. Personally, I try to balance their meals — like wet foods in the morning and dry food at night. Also, I measure their meals so they don’t overeat. One of my cats was on the way to getting fat but the measuring really helped out.

      Liked by 2 people

          1. It really depends on the amount of carbs. I generally would advice to look out for cereals or similar on pet food and if there is a lot of that in the food to avoid it.

            Some dry foods contain potato or rice instead of cereal which is better than cereals but still not perfect.

            If you can get grain free dry food that’s the best to go for! Ideally just meat. 🙂

            Like

          1. Anything with large quantities of carbohydrates is bad. Especially cereal based food. But there I no general bad list as such as even some things that are not good are ok in moderation.

            Like

  2. Hey.. can you give me a suggestion for my cat? I lived in a very heated area *Indonesia* and one of my cats, he probably one month old now, stop eating and getting really thin. He sleeps all day and just drink a little. I don’t know what cause it.at first I thought it was a belly worm but his eyes doesn’t get watery like the symptoms usually started with.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It could be the heat getting to him but I’m not a vet so this is just from personal experience. You could try and ask http://www.icatcare.org for remote advice but it’s probably best to seek a vet.

      Works don’t always come with watery eyes symptoms btw! It depends on the worm and how it’s affecting your cats immune system.

      Hope this helps. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We have got snow here, and it is very cold. It gets down to -10 Celsius right now. Brrrr. Everything is frozen. But Murrli is a tough cookie. She is a real fur ball right now. We have provided her with a straw bed (a carton cave with straw in it), which is dry and there is no wind, so she is fine for the winter. I asked at the shelter, and they said that cats can survive the freezing cold without problems, provided they have a dry spot and are safe from any draughts. Murrli hats being indoors, so taking her to the flat to stay the winter indoors is no option. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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