Just brought home your first furry cat friend? Congratulations! You’re in for an awesome journey with your new companion but first - you need to figure out what to feed them.
How often should you feed your cat? What should you feed your cat? Are there differences between kitten-appropriate diets and senior diets? Let’s take a look!
Cats Are Carnivorous
At their heart, cats are lean, mean animal-killing machines. They thrive on hunting for prey - so their diet should reflect that. In most cases, that means a good source of animal protein is vital.
Specially formulated diets like ORIJEN’s Cat & Kitten Pet Food are great options that simulate your cat’s biologically appropriate diet. Other proteins like chicken, fish and beef are great for your cat. That said, cats can also eat grain, vegetables and fruits like blueberries, and melon.
In fact, their diet should contain about 40% protein, 10% carbohydrates and around 50% fat. Make sure to check the label on your cat’s food formula to ensure it contains that, as well as moisture, amino acids and other beneficial nutrients.
Cats also have another special diet quirk - they don’t drink a lot of water. Cats have a low thirst drive and can get easily dehydrated. To combat this, wet food like Holistic’s Turkey Pate Wet Food Recipe is generally a better choice for cats. Regardless, every cat needs readily available access to fresh water at all times.
Last of all, cats love variety! They get bored of flavours easily, so having a wide range of flavours to swap out when needed can be a lifesaver. Try SkipJack’s range of tasty can food! If your cat is still a little bored of their diet, make sure to have sufficient play time prior to meals. Puzzle feeders can also help get your cat more excited for food!
How Many Times To Feed My Cat?
Although cats come from a long line of solitary hunters that hunt throughout the day for regular small meals, house cats can easily adjust to a human schedule. This typically means being fed 2 relatively large meals a day, 8-12 hours apart.
One important thing to note is that cats can easily overfeed if they’re given unrestricted access to their food. Plus, leaving wet food out throughout the day can be bad for your cat’s health as it can get easily contaminated. Instead, have a proper feeding schedule throughout the day, with some exercise and play time in between.
Little kittens have plenty of growing to do throughout the first 6 months of their life. That means they have much greater nutritional needs than their older counterparts. Once they’ve been weaned off milk, the best way to fulfill this is with free-choice feeding.
Free-choice feeding refers to giving your kitten nibbles of food, from time to time throughout the day. You should also expose them to different kinds of food from canned to dry food as it may help them grow a more accepting palate for food.
Try mixing wet and dry food and put them in your kitten’s feeding bowl at least 3-4 times a day. Make sure to watch over them while they’re eating to have a good understanding of how much your kitten is really eating. Over time, you can transition them to a more regular diet that fits your schedule.
Senior Cat Care
On the flip side, older cats also have different dietary requirements. As they grow older, their activity level changes and they may be more susceptible to health conditions like joint disease.
If you notice your cat is less active than before, you may want to make some changes to their senior cat food diet to avoid obesity. For instance, you may want to reduce their food intake to avoid obesity. Try to also encourage them to drink more water.
Wet food with high quality protein is vital for senior cats. In fact, dehydrated food like The Honest Kitchen’s Chicken Recipe Dehydrated Pet Food are great options because they allow you to control your cat’s water intake more closely. Honest Kitchen cat food is also grain-free with higher calories to help fuel your cat. As much as possible, try to avoid feeding your senior cat an all dry-food diet.
At this stage of their lives, senior cats can also benefit a lot from taking cat supplements alongside their senior cat food diet. NaturVet’s ArthriSoothe Soft Chew Cat Supplement can relieve pain and help boost your cat’s bones and connective tissue health. For cats with arthritis, other joint injuries or are recovering from joint surgery, this can be a lifesaver.
Cats are beautiful animals that will surely be a great addition to your family. But they also require lots of love and care, starting from their diet. As far as possible, tailor your kitty’s diet to their lifestyle and general preferences and always get food with the highest quality of ingredients. Want to find out more about cat diets and what they can’t eat? Here’s a list of foods to avoid feeding your cat.
Tammi is an avid writer, but especially loves learning and writing about animals! She spends her free time visiting cat cafes, playing video games and having plenty of cuddle time with her pup.