Many cat parents worry about how much to feed their cats. But are they asking the right question? Have you ever wondered, “What should I feed my cat?” Is there more to feline nutrition than just opening a bag of kibble or should we all replace kibble with those refrigerator-fresh meals?
The truth is: if your cat receives the right balance of nutrition, you can expect her to live a happy, healthy life. Feeding your cat what she needs is simple and we’re happy to shine a bit of light onto the topic.
The Fundamental Building Blocks of Cat Nutrition
A healthy diet for your cat doesn’t need to be complicated. There is no mystery behind what cats need. The answer stems from your cat’s natural diet as a tenacious hunter and carnivore.
Protein and Amino Acids
Hunting comes naturally to cats because they needed to hunt to capture their prey. And what was their prey made of? Protein. Proteins come from eggs, fish, and meat. Some other foods also contain protein, like peas, nuts, and grains. But these lack essential amino acids cats need.
To put it simply, cats need real meat protein for amino acids. One of the most important amino acids is taurine, which many cat foods didn’t have long ago and caused major health issues for cats.
An amino acid deficiency can cause blindness, metabolic problems, and heart failure.
Healthy Fats and Fatty Acids
Fats and oils provide your cat with energy to get around in her daily routine but also to breakdown and use other nutritional elements. Your cat needs essential fatty acids to play, purr, and digest, but they also keep your cat’s skin and coat healthy and shiny.
Without enough fats, cats can develop issues in their nervous systems and livers.
Vitamins and Minerals
When it comes to minerals and vitamins, your cat is what she eats. These are the fundamental elements that go into her bones and absorbed by her body. When choosing a cat food, you should opt for chelated minerals when you can. These are easier for your cat’s body to use and more helpful.
Common Minerals for Cats Include
Vitamins help your cat grow and regulate her metabolism. They can be synthetic or come from fruits and veggies in your cat’s diet.
Cats have a low-thirst drive which means they don’t naturally get very thirsty. Cats usually receive most of their hydration from the food (or prey) they consume. If your cat doesn’t drink enough, it can lead to urinary tract issues among other problems.
Always keep clean water nearby your cat’s food dish. This will encourage her to drink as she eats. A cat fountain can also increase her thirst since the running water sound ignites her thirst drive.
Other Dietary Issues and Common Nutritional Questions Cat Parents Have
- If cats are carnivores, why do many cat foods contain fruits and veggies?
While cats primarily eat meat, they would consume their prey whole, which includes the contents of their prey’s stomachs. This means cats naturally eat some fruit, veggies, and legumes. Cats also munch on grass in the wild.
- How Often Should I Feed My Cat?
If you have a free-range cat, she’ll eat up to 20 times per day. If you feed your cat wet food, you should feed her at least two meals per day to help her maintain her natural hunger cycle.
How Can I Help My Chubby Cat Lose Weight?
Simple: don’t give her as large of portions and play with her to get her heart rate up.
- How Much Should I Feed My Cat?
Kittens under 5 pounds should receive 200 calories per day.
Thin indoor cats should receive between 280-400 calories her day if they are between 10 and 20 pounds.
Overweight indoor cats can lose weight on a diet of about 240-310 calories daily.
Remember to take treats into caloric count when feeding your kitty. And using a bowl that allows her to eat in a crouched position is best. Until next time, bon appetit! to you and your cat!
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— Meow for now —