1. Use a Water-Rich and Low-Carb Diet PlanCats have low thirst drive, so it is always useful to feed them wet food which is rich in water content. High-carb food items such as dry foods can create an imbalance in your cat's blood/sugar levels making them prone to illnesses like diabetes and urinary tract infections.
2. Cats Require Animal-Based ProteinsCats are obligate carnivores, which means that their nutritional needs are based more on animal-based proteins such as meat rather than grains or vegetables. A cat's normal prey is composed of 70%, water and since dry cat food is cooked harshly to contain only 5% to 10% water content, it is important to avoid it in your cat’s diet to maintain a good amount of water level. You can read more on catinfo.org.
3. Meat-Based ProteinProteins that come from animal tissues are richer in amino acids whereas plant-based proteins don't contain the full complement of amino acids required by an obligate carnivore. This is the major difference between cats and other animals such as dogs that can survive on a vegetarian diet as well.
4. Canned Cat FoodCanned cat foods are relatively higher in water content and can be preferred over dry food when planning your cat’s diet. A high quality canned food contains typically 3%-5% carbohydrates, which suggests that it is a healthy food for your pet. It is important to note though that grains are not the only food content that contains less water and more carbohydrates. Canned food containing peas can be high in carbohydrates as well. Hence, it is crucial that when you buy canned food, you look closely at the nutrient chart to note the carbohydrate calories.
5. Feeding ScheduleAlthough many cat owners feel that a pudgy looking cat seems cute, it is important to realize that feeding your cat too much can have negative effects on its overall health. This is because pet cats are usually lying around rather than living an active life in the wild. Due to this lifestyle, many cats have been known to develop diseases like arthritis and diabetes.
6. Moderation in Treats And SnacksFood treats can always make your cat happy; however, they should comprise no more than 10% of their overall intake. The rest 90% should be composed of healthy, nutritionally complete food. Small bits of cooked tuna, chicken, fish or liver may not affect your cat. However, owners should keep in mind that cat foods are formulated keeping in view their amino acid, vitamin, and mineral intake which is not similar to food that is consumed by humans.
7. Raw & Home-Cooked FoodMany cat owners feed raw food and experience better results. Raw or home cooked food seems to be a relatively newer trend that allows cat parents to feed their cats a balanced and nutritious diet which they feel is best for their cats. One of the benefits of home cooked food and raw food is that it is cheaper and fresher (and safer?) than the canned food available on the market.Veterinarians, however, suggest there are some risks involved in preparing cat food at home including health risks such as zoonotic which is an animal to human disease transmission or bacterial contamination. If owners take full precaution and prepare their food in a quality-controlled environment then home cooked food can have positive effects on a cat’s health.There are also several companies that deal with providing raw food in a packaged form such as Bravo, Rad Cat, and Nature’s Variety. However, when feeding your cat raw food, make sure that you do not feed freeze dried dry food (without re-hydrating) since it will result in a longer digestion process.
Things You Should Know about Your Cat’s Consumption HabitsCats are quite opinionated about what they like in their diet. Most of their food preferences form during the first year which gives an opportunity to kitten owners to get it used to different types of dry, semi-dry, wet food, home-cooked diets or raw food. Even if your cat is old, there are ways to feed it with a well-balanced diet for health benefits.Being a cat owner is a big responsibility as you have to take care of its health and safety needs. By ensuring its proper diet intake, you can help your cat avoid serious health issues and have a great life with your family.Catinfo.org is the holy grail for what to feed your cat and it's written by a veterinarian, Lisa Pierson, DVM.Here is more recent interview with Dr. Pierson - there is audio, so you can listen to her reasoning behind not feeding dry food.
Note:It is important that cat owners know how to read a cat food label. With so much flashy advertisement material on the food item, owners tend to overlook the nutritional chart which has valuable information about food content such as protein, fat, and carbohydrates.Susan Thixton runs an excellent website, TruthAboutPetFood.com, that is full of information about cat food.
Do you have Netflix? Be sure to watch the documentary Pet Fooled. Or watch it on Amazon.
Holistic veterinarian, Dr. Jean Hofve, who has done a lot of interviews with us, has written an eBook on, What Cats Should Eat: How to Keep Your Cat Healthy with Good Food. And is another way to learn about feline nutrition and to find the best canned cat food out there.