Nutrition for Cats
Cats are small predators. Their health is closely related to their diet and the nutrients that come with their food. Cats must eat well (balanced) to be healthy and strong.
Cats that live in the wild or the street eat what they catch. These are small rodents (mice, rats), birds, fish, and even some lizards and frogs can become prey for cats.
When a cat devours the entire prey, it gets all the necessary elements and useful minerals that are contained in these animals and enzymes that are in their stomach.
Therefore, the healthiest cat food should be as similar as possible in composition with that eaten by street and wild relatives of domestic cats.
If you have treated your pet to sausages and fried fish from the table until now, this article and kitten feeding guide are especially for you.
Cat feeding guide
Natural products as the best food for cats: pros and cons
Every cat needs quality sources of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and micro(macro)-nutrients. All these elements are found in natural products, which are also present in human nutrition. Therefore, the owner can cook food for its pet himself.
You know the composition and freshness of the food you cook for your pet, and this is the main advantage of natural nutrition. Many owners feel disgusted with industrial food. They do not understand their nutritional value for animals. Besides the fact that they look and smell disgusting, no one knows what the manufacturer adds to dry and wet pet food. And such people think that these cat food ingredients are not safe for the health of their pets.
The only disadvantages of natural products are
- short shelf life and freshness of products
- not everyone can understand what is useful and what to include in cat diets
- sometimes this type of nutrition requires more time and certain amounts of money.
To make you understand, there are no general rules for feeding cats with natural foods. Every cat needs a separate diet and the inclusion of certain foods in its diet.
Sometimes you can come up with a nutrition plan for your pet yourself and as a result, it may not fit in the bowl. Some cats love variety in their diet and others may only eat familiar foods.
Often owners choose to feed their pets only meat products. They are sure that all cats must eat meat and they only need protein for normal activities. But this is a misconception. Lack of vitamins, fibers, which are contained in plant foods, can lead to poor health. You can understand this from the external signs of your cat – his coat will stop shining, dandruff will start to appear on its coat, skin and claws will look worse.
All this comes down to one thing – the best food for kittens should contain proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
Best cat food: Protein in cat nutrition and protein sources
We will start with protein-containing products because they should form the majority of your pet’s daily diet. Protein is needed for the growth and development of both the muscles and bones of an animal. Also, the protein contains a set of amino acids that are not produced in the cat’s body, so they should be added to the body with food from outside.
The main sources of protein
- Meat products
- Dairy products
You can buy chicken meat, lean beef, rabbit and lamb meat, turkey. You should also understand the value of by-products such as chicken liver, heart, and kidneys (which must be thermally treated before feeding).
The owner of the cat must buy sea or river fish. Fish meat contains minerals that enter the cat’s organs and protect them. Fish (sea or river fish) must be present in the cat’s natural food no more than 1-2 times a week.
Fish products must be cooked (heat-treated) and contain no bones. You must remember that raw fish can be infected with worm larvae.
How to feed a cat with eggs and dairy products?
Milk is a useful product for kittens. Adult cats can only eat milk products (curd, kefir, hard cheese) with low-fat content. Because high-fat dairy products are not digested in the adult cat body. These products can cause gastrointestinal diseases.
Dairy products and eggs – how much to feed a cat?
These products can be included in your cat’s diet no more than 1-2 times a week. Raw eggs (both protein and yolk) are harmful to the cat’s health. They can be a source of parasites and helminths as well as raw fish. Some cats like scrambled eggs, which can be added to porridge or served separately. The omelet can contain both milk and water (or nothing).
What can cats eat besides protein?
These are fats and carbohydrates. Vegetable and animal fats (which cats can get together with butter, fish oil, egg yolk, and by-products) are needed for:
- normal development and growth of kittens
- the reproductive system of adult cats
- skin and vascular wall prevention
- accelerate metabolism
- boost immunity
But an excess of fat in the diet can also be a cause of obesity, it must be remembered.
The veterinarians recommend adding sunflower, linseed, corn or olive oil to your cat’s food daily. The daily norm is half a teaspoon of vegetable oil (sunflower oil is a priority).
How often to feed cats with carbohydrates?
You must have heard that cats can eat porridge and vegetable puree. After all, these products are a source of useful carbohydrates and fiber. It is an energy source for every pet. Cats can eat oatmeal, buckwheat, wheat, and rice, and corn porridge. You can boil them in water or milk; add meat, fish, vegetable oil, or butter.
It is also worth paying attention to bran, which you can add to the cat’s diet. They improve intestinal peristalsis and have a beneficial effect on the microflora of the digestive organs.
Zucchinis, pumpkins, beans, carrots, cauliflower are the vegetables that cats can and like to eat most often.
Greenery such as dill, parsley, spinach is also considered the healthiest cat food.
What foods are bad for cats or what foods should cats avoid?
Admit that you can sometimes give your cat the food that you love to eat, for example, chocolate or flour products. You should be aware that these foods have no nutritional value for cats. Also, cats do not feel sweet, so they will not be able to share your pleasure with candy and scones.
A list of foods that are life-threatening for cats: alcohol, nuts, onions and garlic, chocolate, pork, tea and coffee, mushrooms, raisins and grapes, bones, dog food, candies, all fried, pickled, smoked, and salted products.