As veterinarians and animal lovers, we know that our patients’ owners are always doing their best to take good care of their pets. It can be difficult to know exactly what your animal needs, as their needs are different from ours and they cannot verbally communicate with you. This can be especially true for cats. To truly understand exactly what your individual feline friend needs, you’ll want to consult with their veterinarian. However, there are a few important things that all cat owners should know and consider when it comes to feeding your cat.
Keep It Balanced
Since your cat will be getting all of their food from what you choose to feed them at home, it is important to make sure that they are getting a variety of foods and nutrients. This can be accomplished with manufactured cat foods, which your vet will be able to recommend. You can also occasionally add fish and other fresh foods to your cat’s diet. However, make sure you aren’t treating your cat to fish every day, as fish contains a lot of fatty acids that can lead to vitamin E deficiency and other health issues for your cat. It is also important to remember that cats are naturally carnivorous, and need animal protein to maintain their health.
Change with Age
Your cat’s dietary needs will change with age. For example, kittens should not be given raw meat for the first couple years of their lives. They also benefit from moist foods, which can help their urinary tract health as they grow and develop. As your cat gets older, they will be able to handle a wider variety of high-quality meat. As your cat continues to age into seniority, you’ll need to continue to be conscious about their diet. Talk to your vet about their changing individual needs as they age.
Customize for Your Cat’s Size
Choosing the correct portion to feed your cat is very important for their health and well being. Your cat food packaging should come with serving size suggestions based on your cat’s breed and weight. Your veterinarian will track your cat’s weight at their checkups and discuss proper meal frequency and portions with you.
Avoid Toxic Foods
While you can give your cat some treats that are not pet-food specific, such as fresh fish, it is important to remember that they cannot process all of the foods that we can. There are several fruits and veggies that your cats should not eat, such as avocados and grapes. You’ll also want to be careful with dairy, as – contrary to popular belief – a lot of cats are actually lactose intolerant.
Consult Your Veterinarian
If you ever have any questions about your cat’s dietary needs, do not hesitate to ask your family veterinarian. Every animal has their own specific individual needs and conditions, and the vet that regularly sees your pet will be able to offer the most helpful advice.
If you have any questions about your cat’s diet or need emergency veterinary services, call our animal hospital today!