If you have recently adopted a kitten or cat, you want to make sure that your cat is eating a healthy diet. Or maybe your cat is not eating his current food and you want to make a switch. With so many different brands on the market, it’s sometimes difficult to know what is best for your kitten or cats. As long as you are feeding your cat a healthy protein based food, you are off to a good start.
Below are 8 quick tips to help make sure your cat has a healthy diet:
1. Make sure to feed your cat a diet that contains mostly poultry or chicken-liver base. Try to avoid beef, lamb, seafood (unless this is all your cat will eat), corn, soy or milk products for the wet food. Dry food provides a crunch that cats crave and can be left out all day.
2. Learn to read labels. A diet that is called “Chicken Entree” may only contain a small amount of poultry. Ingredients are listed on labels with those in the largest amount listed first. Protein or crude protein should always be the first ingredient and the fewer fillers, the better.
3. Think critically about ingredients. Avoid marketing hype and realize that those funny colors are put in foods for humans-our kitties could care less. The more it looks like real food, the better! Especially with dry diets, ingredients like herbs, mushrooms, etc. are unlikely to survive the heating process.
4. It’s OK to treat your cats periodically to some cooked poultry. Other cats enjoy cantaloupe, tomatoes, etc. Remember that treats are exactly that-treats-and not the basis of a complete diet. Nothing wrong with a little variety.
5. Pay attention to your cat’s appetite on a daily basis. A healthy cat eats well every day and really looks forward to mealtime. If your cat or kitten misses a day or two of eating, call your veterinarian. Usually if your cat loses his or her appetite, it is one of the first signs of serious disease in cats.
6. Never force your cat to eat a new food. Although it seems like a dog will eat almost anything, our cats are more discriminating. Make food changes slowly and patiently when switching out to a new food. Use the old food as a base and keep adding the new food until your kitty is eating just the new food.
7. Always provide a source of fresh, clean water daily to your cats. Some cats will drink out of a wide, shallow bowl, but others prefer their water from a circulating water fountain or even a glass. Just make sure that they are drinking the water.
8. You can evaluate your cat’s diet by how your cat or kitten looks and feels. Cats that are eating an excellent diet are lean, have a shiny coat, don’t have dandruff and aren’t constipated or plagued with vomiting and diarrhea. If you can easily feel your cat’s ribs (but not see them) and if your kitty has a tuck after the ribcage (when you look down upon him or her), most likely the weight is perfect.
As always, your veterinarian is your cat’s most knowledgeable resource for nutrition and advice. And if your cat does stop eating for a day, make sure to see your vet immediately.
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