Everyone has their own opinion on what is the best type of diet for their cats, but in many instances, they are completely wrong. Cats need a good combination of proteins and other nutrients in order to be healthy and happy, and these nutrients must come from healthy dietary sources. Obviously, cats are carnivores, so their diets are mainly meat, fish, and poultry based. But really, what is the best diet for cats?
They also have some vegetables in their diets, whether they get it from their regular food or from their prey (or to be more exact, from what their prey eats). Today we are going to take a look at what cats really need in their diet, and the type of diets that is best suited for cats.
What does Your Cat Need?
Cats need plenty of fat and protein in their diets, and the best diet would be a mix of 26 percent protein and 40 percent fat. Unfortunately, many cat food brands do not meet these requirements, especially the less-expensive brands. It is important to check the nutritional information on the labels to make sure that your cat is going to get the fat and protein they need.
Another option is to start giving your cat a diet of homemade food that you make yourself. It will improve the quality of their diet, and you will be in control over all of the ingredients that go into it. While this is often healthier for cats, it is only healthier if you are providing them with the right nutrients. So, before embarking on making your own cat food, it is important to do your research so you understand all of the nutrients your cat needs, and which ingredients have these nutrients and are safe for them to eat. You should know that there are some foods a cat can eat and cannot.
Whenever you alter a cat’s diet, there are going to be a few digestive issues in the beginning. This is also true when you switch them over to a natural diet. It is better to wean them off store-bought food over time, by combining wet food, dry food, and homemade food. Over time, give them less and less of the regular wet food, and more and more of the homemade (more about homemade cat food later in this article).
Dry Feed is Important
Even if you are giving your cat a homemade diet, it is still important that they have regular access to dry food, even if it is store bought. They need this for various reasons, dental health in particular. It can help to prevent the buildup of plaque on the teeth. But, you need to be careful about the kind of dry feed that you give to your cat.
A lot of dry feed, particularly the cheaper varieties, is low quality, and they contain ingredients that are not healthy. They are also too high in fat, which can lead to obesity in your cat. The type of dry feed you give your cat depends on the stage of their life, as nutritional requirements will change throughout the years, just as they do with people.
Additionally, dry food seems a bit rough to swallow at times for our cats so it's perfectly appropriate not to forget providing a lot of drinking water for our cats.
Cats that are still growing and developing need dry feed that is high in protein and fat. Better quality feeds will also contain vitamin supplements, as well as additional calcium for growing bones and teeth.
Adult cats do not need as much fat in their diets as kittens, so the dry feed you choose should be high quality, and have the proper amount of fat for an adult cat (about 40 percent). Neutered males require dry feed that contains little to no ash. Feed that is high in ash can lead to kidney troubles in adult male cats.
Older cats need even less protein and fat than younger adult cats, so look for dry feed that contains less of these nutrients. This is because older cats do not get a lot of exercise, and they are much more sedentary than their younger counterparts. If they were to have food that is high in fat and protein, there is a risk of obesity.
More on Homemade Cat Diets
There are a lot of arguments about whether or not homemade diets are healthy for cats. With more and more pet owners choosing to make their pet food, this is a topic that bears discussion. First of all, when made properly, it is much healthier for cats to eat homemade food than it is for them to eat some concoction out of a can. But, as mentioned earlier, you need to really know what your pet needs in the way of nutrients before you can start making food.
In addition to using ingredients that have nutrients cats need, you also need to make sure that you are using ingredients that your cat will actually eat. Many cats do enjoy eating vegetables, but for some cats, if you put too many veggies in their food, they are just going to turn their noses up at it. Also, what are you going to use for healthy filler? The food can’t be made entirely from meat and vegetables. One of the most popular fillers for homemade cat food is rice, because cats like it and it is loaded with nutrients.
The video below will help you make a healthy homemade cat food at home:
Until you are well-versed in the ingredients, and the measurements, for a healthy homemade diet for cats, it is best to only supplement your cat’s diet with homemade food for the first little while. This will give you some time for a bit of trial and error, and your cat will still get the nutrients they need from the store-bought food.
Whether you feed your cat a homemade diet or give them food that comes from the store, make sure that it has the nutrients your cat needs at every stage of their life. If you are unsure about what to feed your cat, you can ask your veterinarian for dietary tips for all stages of a cat’s life. Don’t forget to ask about homemade diets, and ask for ingredient recommendations.