Choosing The Right Food For Your Cat

Choosing The Right Food For Your Cat
There are four key questions to resolve before choosing the right cat food for your cat:

Which is better for my cat - dry or canned?

Which specific type is better for my cat - standard grocery brands, premium, or super-premium?

Which age group does my cat belong to - growth, maintenance, or senior?

Any special needs I should consider?

Dry or canned?

Dry food comes in the form of kibbles in various shapes, colors, and flavors. It is more concentrated, so the cat consumes a relatively small quantity. Its crunchiness helps fight tartar and tooth decay. It is easy to store and serve - you can simply fill the bowl and leave it out for free feeding throughout the day. And it's cheaper than canned food. But most cats are not very impressed with the taste and show a clear preference for moist food. Another consideration is the low water content, which may lead to a decrease in the daily intake of water. Cats that are prone to problems of the urinary tract may be adversely affected by the lack of water.

Canned food is processed moist food that comes in a great variety of flavors, textures, and shapes. Most cats find this kind tastier than dry food. Because the main ingredient is water, cats consume a larger volume of food. This also means a generally larger intake of water, which is an advantage for cats that don't like drinking very much. It's also easy to store, and the cans last for years on the shelf. But canned food has its limitations. Once you open the can, the food must be refrigerated. If you leave it outside for more than half an hour (time may vary according to room temperature), it might go bad and give your cat an upset tummy instead of a good meal.

Never feed your cat with cold cat food served directly from the fridge. A simple way to heat it until the chill is gone is by mixing in some hot water and stirring well.

You should know that premium or super-premium food is a better choice. These foods are usually based on quality meat byproducts. The same measure of premium food contains larger amounts of vital nutrients, compared to standard grocery brands - the cat actually needs to eat less of the premium food in order to get the same amount of calories and other nutrients.

Age Labels

Food labeled as "growth" or "kittens" is intended for weaned or semi-weaned kittens in their first year of life. It is also recommended for pregnant and lactating females. The label "senior" or "mature" indicates food for the older and less active cat. The exact age at which your cat is considered a senior may vary. It depends on the general activity level of the cat and usually begins somewhere between six and eight years of age. This cat food is the basic diet for any healthy cat that does not belong to any of the previous categories.

There are also lots of special variety of cat's food for different states and health condition of your cat. For example: food that helps to prevent hairballs forming in the cat's stomach or hypoallergenic food for those extra sensitive felines that react badly to regular commercial food. Overweight cats may require special low-cal cat food.


Canned Cat Foods to Use and Avoid

You can try ´fish´ flavored canned cat foods, since the fish flavors have a very distinctive smell that cats will recognize. Don´t feed your cat or kitten straight tuna that is meant for humans, since a steady diet of this will deplete their bodies of vitamin E. You can feed your cat the tuna flavored cat foods occasionally because they are supplemented with additional vitamin E to prevent this, but it might be best to avoid tuna altogether. In addition to being a good source of nutrition on its own, canned cat food can be used as a supplement to dry cat foods, increasing it palatability and water content. Many owners simply feed their cats both.

Qualtiy vs. Price - Premium Cat Food

How much can you afford to spend on food for your kitty is your decision. Large, established pet food companies have a large investment in maintaining the quality of their products, so you can trust them to give your cat or kitten the vitamins and minerals they need. Remember if you feed your cat healthy cat food, the fewer visits to the vet you'll have to make because of cat health problems.

If kitty doesn't finish food

Cats and kittens can have several reasons for not eating: illness, they may be tired of a flavor, plus they will slow down their eating in the warm summer months.

Food Temperature

Cats should eat food that is room temperature. Any food that is too warm or too cold can cause intestinal troubles for your cat. However, leaving a whole can of food out of the refrigerator will cause it to spoil if your room temperature is above 65F or so.

Semi-Moist Cat Foods

Semi-moist cat foods are lighter and easier to store and are very tasty to most cats and kittens. They are expensive however, and often contain a lot of preservatives, artificial colorings, binders and sugar - ingredients that give the food its meat-like texture.

Dry cat foods

Cats are nibblers, they like to ´graze´ at any given time of the day or night. The easiest way to do this is keep a bowl of dry/crunchy food (also called kibble) out all the time. It comes in a bag or box and is less expensive than canned or semi-moist cat foods, and gives you the most options for feeding your cat or kitten. You can leave dry food out and it won't go bad. Nowadays, they have a variety of dry cat food dispensers that will keep the crunchy bowl full without having to fill it every day. A never empty bowl of pet food creates a very content cat. Keeping kitties favorite crunchy pet foods out will also keep them from begging so much at mealtimes, because they won't be as hungry.

Dry versus Wet Cat Foods

Feeding is critical in the long term care of any animal. What types of cat foods should you feed your cats? Dry cat foods are best for cats, because it will help clean their teeth and prevent the teeth from decaying in their later years. And you can leave dry cat food out without fear of it spoiling. However, there are cats and kittens who will not touch dry cat food. For those fussy eaters, feed them small amounts of wet cat food once a day at the same time every day. Keep dry food out for them also, and eventually they will get hungry and try the dry food. Canned cat food is more expensive, and once you open it, it lasts about a half hour before your cat decides it is no longer fresh enough! Canned cat food can be great for nursing ill or older cats.

Plastic bowl problems

You probably know that cats want you to clean their food bowls after each meal, and that you should not use dishwashing liquid, because they dislike the smell. What you might not know is that plastic bowls always retain some ´old food smell´. A cat or kitten will notice, even if you don't. She'll refuse to eat out of this bowl for no apparent reason. Therefore, invest in some porcelain bowls and make sure they are dishwasher safe.

Use Pet Foods, Not Human Foods

About New Born Kitten Care - Don´t make the mistake of trying to feed kittens any type of Human infant cereal. So do feed your kittens healthy cat food instead.

Cat Food Recipe for Food Allergies

A good cat food recipe for a cat or kitten with food allergies:

1 lb. Chicken, turkey, or lamb
1/2 cup brown rice
1/4 cup alfalfa sprouts
1 teaspoon of kelp
1 teaspoon bonemeal

Boil the rice in 1 1/2 cups of water. Add the other ingredients.

How Much Cat Food

Cat Nutrition Needs - Personally, I leave food dispenser full of dry food out all the time for my cats. They are instinctually grazers, nibble through out the day, so I just let them eat as much as they want. Unlike humans, 95% of the cats in the world have natural instincts that prevent them from overeating to obesity. And of those cats who are obese, there is generally a good explanation such as a physical disorder or illness that is causing the overeating. If your kitty is shaped more like a barrel then he is probably obese and you should consult your vet for the best treatments and nutrition requirements. An overweight cat is prone to health problems, including diabetes, joint, tendon and ligament problems, breathing problems, and even skin problems if they cannot groom themselves properly.

Good and Bad Table Scraps

Here's a good cat food nutrition tip - Table scraps should be used as treats, not the main course in your kitty's diet. Suggested scraps are: Meats without bones, cooked vegetables, cooked grains, and brown rice. TABLE SCRAPS YOU SHOULD NOT GIVE YOUR KITTY: Corn is very difficult for our pets to digest. Chocolate has chemicals that are toxic to almost all pets. Sweets are not good for our kitties, since their systems are not designed to process the sugars as easily as human bodies. Bones, cooked or raw, are a definite NO-NO. It is safer to not let your cat or kitten have bones, unless they are ground to a fine mush or powder.