Cat Dietary Habits
There are two schools of thought on how to feed cats. One is the self feeding method in which cats always have food and are allowed to eat when they want (Note: Cats should always have fresh water available to them).
The other method is with regulated meals where the cat is fed a few times a day. Unless your cat is overweight or has a problem with overeating if food is left out all the time many vets and behaviorists prefer the self feeding method for a variety of reasons. Note: Cats should never eat dog food!
Cat's have very special needs in their diet. It is for this reason that it is always recommended that you purchase a high quality cat food (not just whatever is on sale) to ensure your cat's good health. Remember that all brands of cat food are not created equally and there is usually a reason why the 'cheaper' cat food is so cheap. Although there are many things one can sacrifice to save a few bucks, your cat's food should not be one of them.
Domestic cat is the animal that practically doesn't differ from its wild relatives. Time and efforts which were spent by man to tame cat changed only its exterior, but not its physiology. That's why, when you answer the question about food, the best way to do it is to learn the same concerning natural environment, and then, as far as possible, try to reproduce the process at home.
The "style" of food is caused by the following conditions.
Cat is the beast. And there is the firm opinion among owners that beast cats need only meat and no vegetables. This is a mistake. Every beast, and the cat too, needs carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fat acids and other components of vegetables. The difference between beasts and vegetarians is in the way of getting those ingredients. Beasts have a very primitive digestion. Restricted number of ferments doesn't let them digest cellulose and carbohydrates with firm fibers which are mainly the main part of vegetables. Those who had given thin cut carrot to the cat could learn from the excrements that after digestion the color of carrot didn't change.
Simple carbohydrates (sugar, starch) digest in the intestines but their further digestion in the organism is also difficult, because clear sugar and starch doesn't exist in natural environment. Beasts in natural environment are like parasites. After killing vegetarian animal, first of all, cat eats the contents of stomach and intestines what means vegetarian food digested by victim for its "killer". This is the way of getting all the necessary and well prepared ingredients for digestion by the cat. Muscle meat, that is known as a main food component by many people, is not so useful really. It is like a candy for your child: tasty but not very useful.
|The average adult cat (10 lbs) needs to eat about 300 calories per day to maintain his/her current weight. The amount of food that you feed your cat will depend on the calorie content of the actual food so check the label to estimate how much your cat should eat each day.|
The other peculiarity of cat's organism is its opportunity to concentrate urine very much. It is a very important advantage that helps to some water in the environment of wild nature especially in hot countries. But this is dangerous at home and it causes illness called "Feline urinary syndrome" or urolithiasis. The case is that at home cat often gets food which it seldom meets in wild environment, especially fish and milk products. Both have many mineral hydrochloric and when they connect with unique opportunity of cat's kidneys to concentrate urine, they transform urine into concentrated mass and everything falls as a crystallized sediment. So we set that porridge is harmful vegetables are unuseful, clear meat is insufficient, fish and milk are dangerous, and we can't get the contains of mouse's of bird's stomach. So what should the poor cat do?
The answer is very simple: if you changed the natural environment of poor cat into artificial one then feed your cat with artificial food.
Don't be afraid of the word "artificial". Special foods are made of natural components and respond ideally to the needs of cat. Of course, if these foods were produced by the serious companies and were right chosen.
At the end let's decide one more problem: conditions of feeding. Let's look at the wild nature again. All the beasts are divided into two groups as to the way of their hunting: the first one contains beasts that hunting together into pack and the second one contains individual hunters. For example, pack of wolves or dogs catches one victim for everybody. The conditions here are the next: those who courageous are satisfied. That's why it is very natural for the dog to eat quickly and as much as possible.
But the cat kills its victim especially for itself, guards it and eats quietly and very long. That's why you should feed your cat 10 - 20 times per day (24 hours). Practically it means that food and water must be given every time. The dog will become fat in such conditions but the cat won't. The "food breaks" of cat work perfectly. But if it gets fat then it is ill. And as for feeding of sick animals, that is the problem that should be discussed especially.
Some More Facts on Cat Dietary Habits:
- Cats are grazers by nature. They don't like to eat 2 or 3 huge meals but eat many small meals a day.
- Cat's bodies are very inefficient at processing stored fat. As with people, if a cat goes for a long period of time without food he/she will need to use up fat and protein stores for energy. Cat's bodies are not very good at doing this. A cat who has not eaten for even as short as a day or two can start to undergo liver damage.
- If a cat is only fed a few times a day chances are he/she will be very hungry by the time he/she gets to eat and will eat more than he/she needs at the time. This can produce an overweight cat or a cat the gorges his/herself and then vomits (binge-purge habit).
Of course if you have an overweight cat or a cat that needs a special diet you may need the regulation capabilities of timed feedings. If you are wondering which method might be best for your cat consult your veterinarian and see which method he/she prescribes.