Feeding Our Felines- the 21st Century

In the olden days, feeding dry cat food was the norm in most of our cat households. If we paid attention to what we were feeding it was because our cat had a history of urinary blockage--so we'd made a food change to prevent recurrence of this disease. However now, as a result of numerous scientific studies, there has been a trend away from dry food to canned food, and a trend toward feeding high protein--low carbohydrate foods.

If you're still stuck in those olden days, then consider some of these facts and suggestions:

1. Understand that cats are hunters and require meat (animal tissue) to fulfill their nutritional needs. And not just any meat, but those that are high in protein, moderate in fat, and low in carbohydrates.

2. Cats need constant access to clean and fresh water. In fact, it's important to have several water bowls or fountains throughout your home and/or in their outside environment. Cats drink more when there are more places to drink.

3. Feed a food specifically formulated for cats. Check the label--it should state the food meets the requirements of the AAFCO, it is complete and balanced, and it is either suitable for your cat's life cycle (for instance, kittenhood, adulthood, pregnancy, lactation) or it is formulated for "all stages of life."

4. Because water is an exceptionally important nutrient for cats, feed a canned cat food at least twice a day. Canned foods have at least a 75% moisture content (compared to dry foods with 6 to 10%). Unused portions of canned food should be refrigerated, but don't be surprised if your cat prefers a fresh can of cat food at each feeding. 

And consider this fresh-off-the-press info: a December 2016 study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine has found an increased risk of diabetes in normal-weight cats who consume dry food. This begs the question, Should we be feeding dry food at all?

5. If you are feeding dry cat food, keep it in a separate clean bowl (that is, don't mix it with the canned food), changing it out with fresh at least every 24 hours. Dry food loses it's tastiness quickly, so check the expiration date on the original container. Too, keep the unused portion in an airtight container. Also, consider using Dr. Catsby's Food Bowl for Whisker Relief or a similar flat dish for feeding dry food.

6. Cats can be picky eaters so changing up the flavors and textures from time-to-time will help prevent a cat from zeroing in on one type of food. This is important if a specific diet becomes medically necessary. One flavor, however, you might minimize or avoid is fish. There is some evidence that fish-flavored foods might be implicated in Hyperthyroidism.

To find the protein and carbohydrate levels in a variety of cat foods, check out this link: Cat Food Nutrition - Sortable Charts

For more information, give us a call at 281.351.7184 or find us at kindvet.com. We love our cats!