When you think about your cat’s diet, do you think that any food she eats must be good?
While it’s true that cats often gobble up what we consider junk food, that doesn’t mean you should feed them leftovers or junk food. Good cat food is important for the health and well-being of your feline friend.
Often, cheap cat food contains dangerous ingredients, full of toxic preservatives, humectants, and flavoring agents to entice the cat to eat it.
You may save money in the short term, but in the long term, you’re setting yourself up for hefty vet bills and significant pain and discomfort for your furry friend.
After all, he is an important member of your family. Cats are known to be healers, and they often have different ways of sharing their affection.
3 reasons to choose a healthy diet for cats
Cats, like humans, can’t thrive on a fast-food, high-carbohydrate, kibble diet.
By eating an inappropriate diet, they can fall victim to arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, and obesity, just like humans.
The only difference between us and felines is that once they live in captivity, they have very little control over their diet. Cats rely on us to provide them with a healthy diet, especially when they live indoors.
Cats are natural predators… their diet must reflect this fact. So here are three reasons to choose a good cat diet that will extend your pet’s life.
1. Dental Health
Just like humans, many health complications occur in domestic cats with poor dental hygiene.
Your cat may have bad breath – which is unpleasant – but the infections that can cause halitosis can be much more serious than you think for his immune system and overall health.
Kittens lose their baby teeth between four and six months of age. During this time, there are spaces in their mouths that are magnets for bacteria.
You probably go to the dentist regularly, to make sure your teeth and gums are in good shape.
But how does your cat maintain her oral health? She needs good quality food and treats that help remove plaque and stimulate her gums to keep her teeth strong and her mouth clean.
2. Cats are carnivores
Like it or not, your cat is a hunter, a predator, or a carnivore. They will never accept a vegetarian or vegan diet.
So even if you’ve chosen to eliminate meat from your diet and replaced protein with beans, meat substitutes, and supplements, your cat still needs animal protein.
It’s a source of a vital amino acid – taurine – that helps build strong muscles, including the heart.
Fish-based cat food can do the trick – it’s loaded with omega fatty acids that fuel your feline’s body… and suit her digestive system. However, most fish have been contaminated with heavy metals and other toxins or parasites, and are very unhealthy. Offering fish as an occasional treat to a healthy cat should not be a problem, but be careful not to make it a permanent diet.
Avoid foods that contain excess fillers, such as wheat and barley. They may fill your cat’s belly, but they won’t provide the protein she needs to thrive. And they can lead to obesity and diabetes, as well as many other problems.
On the other hand, cats are naturally designed to hunt and eat their prey raw, which has not been baked or processed at high temperatures in a can. Prey contains blood, moisture (water), partially digested food in its intestines, bones, organs, and much more.
When deciding what to feed your cat, choose high-quality wet food, not cardboard kibble. Some cats do quite well on quality wet food, and others prefer to eat raw food.
3. Cats need to be hydrated
There’s nothing wrong with giving your feline dry food from time to time as a treat or topping. It’s easier to store, usually less expensive, and you have more options for choosing ingredients that suit your cat’s palate.
But remember, they also need easy access to water and can overload on carbohydrates, just like us… So follow the instructions on the package and pay attention to your cat’s needs.
On the other hand, the wrong wet food can deprive your cat of the roughage it needs to keep its digestive system working properly. You’ll often see outdoor cats and dogs eating grass… they’re just trying to get their bowels working so they can clean out their insides.
If you have an indoor cat, consider feeding catnip (or adding another fiber source to his food) to help keep his digestive tract in good shape.
Your cat can’t go to the grocery store
Your cat has basic dietary needs… and then she develops her tastes, just like children. As she grows up, there’s a phase where she learns what’s good and what’s not, and after that, it can be pretty hard to get her to change her mind about what’s acceptable and what isn’t!
However, unlike your children who will grow up and be able to shop for themselves and satisfy their taste buds, and hopefully make wise food choices…
Your cat can’t do the same thing. It’s up to you to communicate with her, explain why some foods are good for her and why others are not, and then meet her dietary needs.
You may think that good quality food arioso expensive and that it’s too complicated to look for alternatives…
… but think of the pain you could put your feline companion through if he ends up with kidney stones, ulcers, or abdominal cancer because you overloaded his body with toxic foods.
Cats are designed to hunt and eat small chunks during the day, but free-range grazing (eating whenever they want) with poor-quality kibble is a bad idea. Smaller, more nutritious wet meals help your cat be healthier and live longer.
It’s helpful to talk to your cat to find out what suits his palate, what meets his nutritional needs, and what makes him sick or in pain.
Remember, your cat goes through growth phases, just like we do. Food that’s right for her at six months won’t keep her in shape at five years old… or ten, or twenty.
You can prepare your cat for a long and healthy life, without stressful visits to the veterinary clinic, by feeding him a quality diet.