Feeding Cats

All cat lovers know that our feline companions have unique nutritional needs.  The information below is a summary of the latest cat feeding guidelines and recommendations. 

The digestive system of the cat:

Cats are oligate (strict) carnivores which means that their nutritional needs are met by the consumption of large amounts of animal-based proteins (meat/organs) and they derive much less nutritional support from plant-based proteins (grains/vegetables).  Unlike the cat, dogs and humans are able to make the amino acids their body's need from plant protein.  This is why humans and dogs can be vegetarians, but cats cannot.  (Please note: We do not recommend that dogs be vegetarians). 

When chosing a manfacturered pet food for your otherwise healthy cat, paying attention to the protein content is important.  (Please note, cats with certain health issues, especially kidney disease, SHOULD NOT eat a high protein diet. Click Here to read an abstract of an article demonstrating that lower protein diets in cats with kidney disease have been shown to improve their life expectancy and overall quality of life.)  Always consult with your veterinarian about food options for your cat if he or she has a medical condition.

Cats should eat a minimum of 2 grams of protein/per pound of ideal body weight, per day.  (For example, an 11lb cat of good body condition, should eat 22 grams of protein per day).  The label on pet foods typically only gives the % protein.  However, if you call the pet food manufacturer, they can give the grams of protein per can, or per cup so you can calculate how much to feed.  Please note, for some foods that are lower in protein, feeding the appropriate amount of grams of protein results in over feeding calories.  If your cat is overweight, please consult with your veterinarian about feeding recommendations.  For more information on feeding overweight cats, you may read the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) weight management quidelines for cats and dogs Click Here

Food Recommendations for Cats:

Manufacturered, dry cat foods are convenient, easy to feed, and allow cat owners the freedom to not be on a strict feeding schedule for their cat.   That being said, dry foods require more carbohydrates in order to produce a kibble.  Finding a dry cat food that has the amount of protein necessary to maintain a healthy cat is a challenge.  After much research, we have decided to carry and recommend, Young Again 50/22 cat food for adult cats without health problems. 

For more information on Young Again 50/22 cat food, click here. young again 50.22

Many veterinary nutritionists think that cats should eat canned foods exclusively.  The reason for this is that dry foods require more carbohydrates in order to produce a kibble, and they lack the necessary moisture that cats need.  That being said, not all canned foods are high in protein, and special attention must be paid to the label. 

Below is a list of canned cat foods that we have researched and found appropriate for healthy cats:

Addiction Turkey, Cranberries, Apples

Weruva Paw Lickin' Chicken

Weruva Cats in the Kitchen Nine Liver

Weruva Cats in the Kitchen Green Eggs and Chicken

Weruva Cats in the Kitchen Peking Ducken

Merrick Grammy's Pot Pie

Avoderm Chicken Chunks/Gravy

 

 

Many cats that have been eating strictly dry food do not want to eat canned diets.  For tips on converting "dry food addicts" to canned food, click here.

Some pet owners would prefer to feed a home-made diet to their cats.  When chosing to do this, special attention must be paid to supplementing with the proper vitamin and mineral mix.  Please visit balanceit.com if you are interested in making a home-made diet for your cat.  This site was developed by a veterinary nutritionist and is your best resource for recipes. 

The logistics of feeding cats: 

Evidence shows that the best way to feed cats is small meals frequently, and food with added water (or canned food).   Cats fed in this manner tend to be more active, which hopefully translates to being more physically fit. 

Article reference: "Effects of feeding frequency and dietary water content on voluntary physical activity in healthy adult cats".  Deng P, Iwazaki E, Suchy SA, Pallotto MR, Swanson KS.  Journal of Animal Science, March; 92 (3): 1271-7

Read abstract of article here