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A cat is a small, carnivorous mammal belonging to the Felidae family.
They are known for being picky eaters! But what exactly do they eat? Well, it turns out their diet is quite different from ours.
Cats, like other animals that primarily eat meat, need a diet rich in animal products to stay healthy.
While dogs can manage on a vegetarian diet, cats need high levels of protein, moderate fat, and very few carbohydrates to thrive.
They also rely on specific amino acids and fatty acids that are only present in animal-based foods.
Humans have domesticated cats since ancient times, and today they’re one of the most beloved pets worldwide, numbering over 500 million globally, possibly even reaching 600 million.
As responsible pet owners, it’s essential to understand our feline friends’ dietary requirements to ensure their health and happiness.
In this guide, we’ll talk about what cats eat and drink all year round, what kittens like to eat, how to feed them the right way, and the different kinds of cat food you can buy.
We’ll also cover tips for keeping your cat healthy, signs that something might be wrong with their digestion, and foods you should avoid giving them.
Let’s get started and learn more about what keeps our furry friends healthy and happy!
Types of Cats and Their Diet
1. Persian Cats
Persian cats are known for their fancy, long fur, cute flat faces, and calm personalities.
Because of their short noses, it’s important to pick foods that help them breathe easily.
Their thick fur needs special nutrients to keep it looking great.
Their flat faces can make eating some foods tough, so choosing smaller kibble or wet food is best.
Adding omega-3 fatty acids to their meals helps their skin and fur stay healthy.
These choices not only meet Persian cats’ unique needs but also keep them happy and healthy overall.
2. Maine Coon Cats
Maine Coons are big, friendly cats with tufted ears and bushy tails.
Because they’re large, they might gain weight more easily, so it’s crucial to feed them a balanced diet to prevent obesity.
Taking care of their joints and overall well-being is important too.
These loving giants are known for their fluffy coats and easygoing personalities.
Because of their size, they need more calories—around 300-400 per day.
A high-quality diet with proteins like chicken, turkey, or salmon helps keep them healthy and full of energy.
3. Siamese Cats
Siamese cats are known for their slim bodies, striking blue eyes, and talkative nature.
With their special blue eyes and sleek look, these chatty felines love to chat.
Since they’re more active than some other cat breeds, Siamese cats need about 350-400 calories a day.
Keep them energized by choosing cat food made for active cats, packed with protein and healthy fats.
4. Sphynx Cats
Sphynx cats are special because they’re hairless, have wrinkled skin, big ears, and a friendly personality.
These playful felines are known for their smooth, wrinkled skin and loving nature.
Since they don’t have fur, Sphynx cats usually have faster metabolisms and might need around 400-500 calories a day.
Keep them cosy and full of energy by choosing a diet with lots of calories, and rich in protein and fat.
Because they lack fur, Sphynx cats may need extra energy to stay warm.
Make sure their diet includes good protein and fats to meet their unique needs and keep them happy and healthy.
Now that we’ve seen how different types of cats have various traits, let’s look at what foods keep our pet cats healthy and happy.
What Do Cats Eat & Drink Throughout The Year?
1. Commercial Cat Food
Most domestic cats primarily eat commercial cat food, which comes in various forms such as dry kibble, wet canned food, and semi-moist pouches.
These foods are formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of cats, providing them with the right balance of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
It’s important to choose high-quality cat food that is appropriate for your cat’s age, size, and health status.
2. Cats’ Dietary Needs
As we discuss earlier cats are obligate carnivores, which means they rely entirely on animal protein for their bodies to function properly.
Their digestive systems are specifically designed to process meat, extract nutrients, and dispose of waste from animal sources.
3. Protein-Rich Diet
Ideally, cats should get 50-60% of their diet from protein sources such as muscle meat, organ meats, and fish.
Popular options include chicken, turkey, beef, salmon, and tuna.
4. Importance of Fat
Fat is crucial for providing energy and aiding in vitamin absorption.
Aim for a diet containing 30-50% fat, which naturally occurs in meat sources or can be supplemented with healthy fats like fish oil.
5. Limited Carbohydrates
Cats don’t have a significant need for carbohydrates, unlike humans.
While small amounts of grains or vegetables may be present in their food, they mainly act as fillers and should not make up more than 10% of their diet.
6. Considerations by Age
Kittens require higher levels of protein and fat compared to adult cats, while senior cats may need dietary adjustments based on their activity levels and any health conditions they may have.
7. Hydration is Essential
Similar to humans, cats need access to clean, fresh water to stay healthy.
While they get some moisture from their food, the main source of hydration comes from drinking water.
Encourage them to drink by providing multiple water bowls placed in various locations around the house.
8. Milk Misconception
There’s a popular belief that cats adore milk.
While kittens naturally consume lactose from their mother’s milk, most adult cats become lactose intolerant.
Regular consumption of milk can lead to digestive issues and should be avoided as a staple part of their diet.
Overall, it’s important to give your cat good food, make sure they have clean water to drink, and keep an eye on how much they eat and how much they weigh.
Doing these things helps keep them healthy all year round. If you’re worried about what your cat eats or needs, talk to your vet.
They can give you advice tailored to your cat’s specific needs.
What Do Kittens Like to Eat?
When kittens are young, they only drink their mom’s milk, which gives them all the stuff they need to grow.
But if they can’t be with their mom or something stops them from drinking her milk, they might need special milk you can get at pet stores.
It’s not good to give them cow’s milk or human food because they don’t have what kittens need and could even make them sick.
When they’re about 4-8 weeks old, kittens start wanting to eat solid food. You can start with soft kitten food that looks like paste.
Then, you can give them dry food too. Look for food made just for kittens because it has more of the stuff they need like protein and fat.
Kittens like trying different foods, so giving them a variety is fun for them.
Make sure the main thing in their food is protein.
As they get bigger, they should keep eating both wet and dry food made for kittens. Get food with lots of protein and avoid the ones with junky stuff in them.
Sometimes, you can give them a little bit of cooked meat like chicken, fish, or turkey, cooked eggs, or special treats made for cats.
But don’t give them too much and don’t give them instead of their regular meals.
Kittens, like grown-up cats, need fresh water all the time.
Wet kitten food helps with that and keeps them from getting thirsty.
To help them grow fast, kittens need food with lots of good stuff like protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals.
Giving them the right food is very important for their health and happiness.
As kittens become grown-up cats, the food we buy from stores becomes very important for giving them the right things they need to eat.
Let’s look at the many different kinds of cat food you can find.
Different Varieties of Commercial Cat Food
1. Dry Cat Food
Dry cat food, also known as kibble, is a common and convenient option made from various ingredients like meat, grains, and veggies.
These ingredients are cooked under high pressure and heat to create crunchy, bite-sized pellets.
Dry food has a lower moisture content (about 10%), which means it stays fresh for longer periods.
It’s not only budget-friendly but also helps maintain your cat’s dental health by reducing plaque and tartar buildup.
2. Canned Wet Cat Food
Canned or pouched wet cat food contains a higher moisture content (around 75%) compared to dry food.
This makes it more appealing to picky eaters and helps keep your cat hydrated.
It comes in various textures like pate, chunks, and shreds and often contains higher-quality protein sources.
However, wet food is generally pricier than dry food and tends to spoil faster, requiring more frequent cleanings.
3. Semi-moist cat Food
Sitting between canned and dry options, semi-moist cat food has more moisture than dry food but less than canned.
It has a softer texture than kibble but needs to be consumed more quickly to avoid spoilage.
This type is both convenient and often favored by cats for its taste and texture.
Some cat foods are grain-free, and tailored for cats with sensitivities or potential allergies.
They often use alternative carbohydrates like potatoes or lentils.
5. Holistic or natural
Holistic or natural options highlight natural ingredients like whole meats, fruits, and vegetables.
They’re often promoted as being free from artificial preservatives and fillers.
6. Prescription diets
Prescription diets are specifically crafted for cats with particular health conditions like urinary tract problems, diabetes, or kidney disease.
Always consult your veterinarian before making a switch.
7. Raw Food
This choice mirrors a cat’s natural diet with uncooked meat, bones, and organs.
But, it requires careful preparation and handling to make sure the cat gets the right nutrition safely.
Tips for Keeping Your Cat Healthy
Taking good care of your cat involves doing a few simple things with care.
Make sure your cat eats the right food by talking to your vet about a balanced diet.
Keep fresh water available, especially if your cat mostly eats dry food.
Regularly take your cat to the vet for check-ups and shots.
Play with your cat and use toys to keep them active, and if your cat needs it, give them a good brush to prevent tangles and reduce shedding.
Think about spaying or neutering, protect against parasites, and create a calm home.
Keep the litter box clean, watch for any changes in behavior, and make sure your cat has some form of ID for safety.
All of these things add up to a happy and healthy life for your furry friend.
What are the Signs of an Upset Stomach in Cats?
The vomit could be clear, have undigested food, or even contain hairballs.
If your cat throws up more than once or twice a day, it’s a good idea to consult with a vet.
Persistent vomiting could be a sign of digestive issues, especially if there are other symptoms present.
2. Diarrhea: Similarly, diarrhea with loose or watery stools may indicate a problem with your cat’s digestion.
Keep an eye on the color, texture, and how often your cat uses the litter box.
If you notice a bloody or black, tarry stool, it’s an emergency, and you should get immediate veterinary care.
3. Loss of appetite AND Lethargy: If your cat, who is typically a big eater, suddenly loses interest in their food, it might suggest an upset stomach.
Even a slight reduction in appetite could be a cause for concern.
Likewise, if your cat experiences a sudden lack of energy or seems unusually sleepy, it could be a sign of discomfort or illness, potentially related to stomach issues.
4. Hiding Behavior: Cats tend to hide when they’re unwell, so if your usually sociable cat starts spending a lot of time under the bed or in secluded corners, it’s worth taking notice.
5. Too much drooling: While cats might drool from time to time, excessive drooling can signal nausea or pain.
6. Going overboard with grooming: Cats groom themselves to stay clean and ease stress, but if they’re licking or chewing at their abdomen more than usual, it could mean they’re uncomfortable.
7. Abdominal pain: If your cat appears to be in pain when you touch their belly, it’s a clear sign that something isn’t right.
8. Excessive Gas: If your cat starts having more gas or emits unpleasant odors, it could be a sign of digestive problems.
9. Altered Water Habits: Drinking too much or suddenly avoiding water might be connected to stomach issues.
Dehydration is a worry and needs quick attention.
10. Unusual Actions: Keep an eye out for any odd behaviors like restlessness, pacing, or unusual vocalizations, as these might indicate your cat is feeling uncomfortable.
Foods To Avoid
Being mindful of certain foods is crucial to keeping your cat healthy.
Some items can be harmful, and it’s important to steer clear of them to ensure your feline friend’s well-being.
For instance, chocolate contains theobromine, which can lead to various health issues in cats.
Caffeine, found in coffee, tea, and sodas, can cause restlessness and, in large amounts, be fatal. Onions and garlic can damage red blood cells, leading to anemia.
Alcohol, grapes, raisins, bones, raw eggs, milk, dairy, raw fish, and dog food are also on the list of foods to avoid due to various potential health risks for cats.
Always consult your veterinarian before introducing new foods and be cautious about leaving human food within their reach.
Understanding and avoiding harmful foods are essential steps in ensuring the health and well-being of your feline companion.
Cats can have various favorite foods, and individual preferences may vary.
Common favorites include high-quality cat food, chicken, turkey, and certain fish.
However, it’s important to provide a balanced and nutritionally complete cat diet to meet their specific dietary needs.
Bananas are generally safe for cats to eat in moderation.
They are a good source of potassium and vitamins, but they should be given as a treat rather than a regular part of their diet.
Rice is often considered safe for cats and can be included in their diet. It’s a good source of carbohydrates and can be beneficial for cats with digestive issues.
However, it’s important to ensure that the rice is plain and thoroughly cooked, without any added seasonings or spices.
Always consult with your veterinarian before introducing new foods to your cat’s diet.
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