Nutrition for Your Cat
Good nutrition is essential for your cat’s health. There are several factors to consider when deciding on a proper diet for your cat, such as age and weight. There are also many choices in the type of food (canned, dry, or semi-moist) and feeding regimen (free choice or meals). Your veterinarian can help you make the best decision for you and your pet.
The Anti-Cruelty Society provides all new adopters with food that the cat is accustomed to eating, but you may want to change to a different type or brand of food. Anytime you switch your pet’s diet, you should do so gradually. Start with about 25% new food and 75% old food for a few days, then 50/50 for a few days, 75/25 for a few days, and then eventually a 100% new diet. Some cats have more sensitive stomachs or palates, and it may take longer to make the switch. Cats are often finicky eaters, and it is critical to make sure your cat continues to eat, so monitor the changes very closely.
Feeding Your Kitten
All kittens adopted from The Anti-Cruelty Society are weaned and are able to eat solid food. We suggest that you feed your kitten a premium brand of food labeled for kittens until he or she is one year old.
Feeding Your Adult Cat
Adult cats should eat enough of a high-quality, nutritious adult cat food to meet their energy needs and to maintain their optimal weights. The amount you feed your adult cat should be based on his or her size and energy output. Activity levels vary between cats and will play an important role in determining your cat’s suggested caloric intake.
A cat that mostly sleeps and lies around the house may require ten percent below the average amount of food that an extremely active cat consumes. An active cat that plays all day may require 20 to 40% more food than the average cat. Take a look at your cat’s energy level and talk with your veterinarian to determine the right amount to feed and the frequency of feeding.
Feeding Your Older Cat
Cats begin to show visible age-related changes at about seven to twelve years of age. Some age-related changes can be managed with a proper diet. To ensure that your cat is getting all of the nutrients he or she needs at an older age, start your cat on a diet of premium-quality senior cat food at about seven years of age.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Obesity is a common problem in cats. An overweight cat has many added stresses to its body that can cause an increased risk of diabetes, liver disease, and arthritis. Obesity can develop when your cat’s energy intake exceeds its energy requirements and causes an excess in stored fat. Most cats become overweight due to overfeeding and lack of exercise.
If you feel your cat is overweight, make sure you consult your veterinarian to determine your pet’s caloric requirements and exercise abilities before starting on a weight-loss program. Too rapid a weight loss can be detrimental to your cat’s health. A healthy and controlled diet and exercise in any form can be one of the easiest ways to keep your cat healthy. And remember, no table scraps! Human food is not good for cats.
After talking to your veterinarian about your cat’s weight loss, here are some simple things you can do:
- Remove the pet from the room when the family eats
- Only feed the pet meals and treats in its bowl
- Feed your pet several small meals throughout the day
- Reduce snacks or treats
- Play with your cat to encourage exercise
Cats and Milk
Contrary to popular belief, milk is not good for cats. Cats lack significant amounts of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk. Feeding your cat milk or milk-based products can actually cause diarrhea or vomiting.
We love our pets, and we love to give them treats. However, treats should be given in moderation. Consider five treats or less per day to keep your cat healthy. Your cat’s nutrition should come from a high-quality cat food, not treats.