Cats require a balanced diet to stay healthy. They are carnivorous creatures so their diet should include plenty of meat. They need a mixture of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins, and water.
Cats prefer to eat small frequent meals so it can be a good idea to feed your cat a mixture of wet food at mealtimes and leave a bowl of dry food out for them to snack on. Since cats can become dehydrated and suffer liver problems if they don’t get enough liquids, it is a good idea to give them some wet food rather than a completely dry food diet.
Cat obesity is becoming a problem and the recommendations from cat food suppliers about how much to feed your cats are often excessive. The amount of exercise they get is important in determining a cat’s weight and how much they should be eating. A cat that plays outdoors will likely burn off a lot more calories than an indoor cat, but some cats are simply more active than others.
Overweight cats can suffer from a number of problems in later life including diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and respiratory problems.
If your cat is overweight try to feed them less, don’t let them badger you for snacks between meals. Most owners will be familiar with the pleading rub at your feet every time you enter the kitchen or worse the pained begging meow, but you have to avoid giving in to your cat every time they ask for food.
Exercise is the best way to ensure that your cat doesn’t pile on the pounds so make sure they have plenty of toys to stimulate them and try to find time to engage them in a bout of play every day, especially if they don’t get outside to run around. Cats get bored with toys just like we do, so it can be a good idea to keep some toys back and regularly rotate the toys that are available for them to play with.
If you have real concerns about your cat’s weight talk to the vet about a prescription diet, you can get food which is low in calories and high in fibre which will help your cat lose that unsightly wobbling tummy.
It’s also important to keep unsuitable foods out of reach of your cat. Garfield may love lasagna, but onions and garlic are toxic to cats.
You should always provide a bowl of water for your cat and try to make sure you keep it fairly fresh. If you find your cat often pokes their head into your glass of water or tries to drink from the sink or shower, it may be a sign that they are thirsty, but just like us they won’t drink water if it has been sitting out for a long time.
Although it is traditionally suggested that cats like a saucer of milk or cream it can actually be bad for them. Most cats are lactose intolerant and giving them milk, which they are unable to digest, will lead to diarrhea. If you want to give them a saucer of milk, you can buy specially formulated milk for cats, but it’s still a good idea to provide them with fresh water. There is also nothing wrong with just providing water to drink. Cats do not require milk as part of their diet.
It’s nice to give your cat the occasional treat but avoid giving them milk, cheese, yoghurt, and especially chocolate. Most human food, particularly processed food, is not suitable for cats and will give them an upset stomach. If you want to give your cat a treat, they will likely love fresh fish, tinned tuna, or cooked chicken.