Cat Nutrition: Which Cat Food Will Best Fulfill Your Cats Nutritional Needs?
Cat nutrition is an important topic, and one every cat owner should be concerned with. Why? Because most of the health issues suffered by cats (from digestive and urinary tract problems, to obesity, to cancer) can be directly tied to the foods they eat.
It’s amazing, really. By just making sure your cat is eating the right things, you can drastically cut down of their chances of suffering from many serious and life threatening ailments. And, on average, cats with healthy diets live longer, fuller life.
Here are some things every cat owner should know about cat nutrition.
What are a Cat’s Nutritional Requirements?
In order to stay healthy, your cat needs to eat food that contains a few basics. And the first is protein. Not only does protein help your cat to grow and develop properly, it also gives them plenty of energy. And the kinds of proteins found in your cat’s diet also makes a difference. So animal protein is much better for your cat than plant protein.
Your cat’s diet should also contain fat. Fat is another energy booster that will help your cat to be more active. Fat also helps to regulate your cat’s metabolic system. Basically, eating fat will help your cat’s body burn calories more efficiently, which can help prevent cat obesity.
Of course, you want to make sure your cat gets the proper vitamins and minerals. Some minerals important to your cat’s health include calcium, iron, potassium and zinc. You also want to make sure they are getting plenty of vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
Finally, a cat’s body requires plenty of water. The problem is that cats don’t get thirsty as much as other animals do, so they simply won’t drink water as often as they need to. That’s why it’s important that the food they eat fulfills as much of their water needs as possible.
Once you know what your cat’s dietary requirements are, it’s time to decide what kind of cat food will best fit those needs. Cat food comes in many different forms, and each one has its pros and cons.
The Benefits of Dry Cat Food
You might have heard that dry cat food is the absolute worst kind of food you can feed your cat. But the truth is that there are high quality, commercial dry cat food brands available. And using dry cat food has its benefits.
Dry cat food can be easier on your wallet, because it tends to cost less than other varieties. Dry food also tends to have a much longer shelf life than other cat foods, so you rarely have to worry about any of it going to waste.
Dry cat food also benefits your cat’s dental health. The act of chewing dry cat food will help remove tartar from your cat’s teeth.
Now for the cons. Some dry cat foods, especially the inexpensive brands, are made with cheap ingredients, dyes, preservatives, and fillers that have little nutritional value. Dry cat food also doesn’t do much to help meet your cat’s water requirements. Well, not unless you mix the food with water. And your cat might not find that very appealing.
The Benefits of Canned Cat Food
Many find canned cat food (or the cat food you can buy in a pouch) to be a much better option than dried cat food. And canned cat food does have many advantages. For one, canned foods contain more water than dried foods, which will help meet your cat’s daily water requirements.
Canned cat foods, especially premium brands, are often made with natural, healthy ingredients. And, best of all, cats seem to love canned cat food. So, if you have a finicky cat, try giving them a canned brand. You might see quite an improvement in the amount they eat every day.
Unfortunately, canned cat food tends to be quite a bit more expensive than dried brands. Canned foods also have a short shelf life. Once you open the can or pouch, you have a limited amount of time to feed the food to your cat before it goes bad.
While canned cat foods can contain many good, nutritional ingredients, they can also contain more sugar and salt than the other types of food you can buy for your pet. And, finally, cats receive no dental benefits from eating moist cat food, whether it comes in a can or in a pouch.
The Benefits of Homemade Cat Food
The biggest benefit of feeding your cat fresh, homemade meals is that you can control exactly what they will be eating. You don’t have to worry about whether or not your cat is getting enough calcium, or iron, or water. You can make sure their dietary requirements are being met because you are the one preparing their meals.
However, before you start making your cat homemade meals, there are two things you need to think about. First is the time investment. Making your cats meals from scratch will take longer than pouring dry food from a bag, or opening a can or pouch.
The second thing to consider is that there are some things your cat should not eat, so you need to educate yourself about what you can and can’t feed your cat. For example, how many movies have you seen in which someone gave a cat a nice bowl of milk? Well, what those movies don’t tell you is that cats are lactose intolerant. So a cat that drinks milk is in for a lot of pain and discomfort.
Luckily, if you don’t want to make homemade meals yourself, you can always buy them already made. But this alternative can be a costly one.
The Benefits of Raw Cat Food
Cats are carnivores by nature. They enjoy eating things raw that would send a shiver of horror down their human owner’s spines. Things like uncooked fish, the bugs they find skittering around the garage, and freshly killed birds and mice.
Some believe cats that eat a raw diet (meaning plenty of raw meats, and no vegetables or grains) are healthier than cats that don’t. Whether that’s true or not is up for debate. But, if nothing else, you’ll know the food your cat eats raw doesn’t contain any additives, preservative, fillers or dyes.
However, if you decide to switch your cat to a raw diet, you must take precautions, especially with raw meat. Improperly prepared raw meals could make your cat sick.
When it comes to cat nutrition, figuring out the kind of food your cat will eat is the most important step. Look at the options and alternatives, weigh the pros and cons, and choose for yourself which type of cat food will be best for you and your cat.