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.
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.
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.
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.)