The proper diet is crucial for a cat’s health and happiness and can be the cause of a variety of health problems later in life, or some cases, young cats too. No one wants to see their cat get sick, make them take medication, or pay huge vet bills, but most cat owners still do not take the steps to avoid those issues by feeding their cat a proper diet.
The problem is that cat owners just don’t know what the proper diet is for their feline friends, and without proper education, they put their trust in the cat food companies with misleading advertisements about healthy lives.
With all of the confusing messaging, it is hard to drill down on what is truly the best. This is a horrible mistake, as many name-brand cat food companies put cheap fillers into the food to lower their costs. These fillers, such as corn, wheat, and soy, damage your kitty’s digestive system, causing so many health problems, as well as overall unhappiness in your cat.
If you want a long extended life for your cat, avoiding these products will certainly help. Species-Appropriate Diet So what is a species-appropriate diet for a cat? Cats are carnivores and should eat primarily meat.
Never feed your cat a vegetarian or vegan diet! A house cat’s diet should mimic that of a cat in the wild, who hunts and feast on its herbivore prey. In the wild, cats prey on animals that have some vegetables in their stomachs.
They ingest those vegetables when they consume their meal. For this reason, it is appropriate for a cat to have small amounts of vegetables in its food. In the same way that store-bought cat food contains fillers and additives your cat does not need, it also lacks important nutrients cats require to be healthy and happy.
Cat food has zero requirements for Omega 3s, which are one of the most important aspects of cat (and human) health. There are also zero requirements for antioxidants, polysaccharides for immune support, probiotics, and digestive enzymes.
Put simply, cat food only has to keep your cats from starving, but not much else. What Should I Feed My Cat? Hopefully, I haven’t overwhelmed you or made you think it is impossible to feed a cat a proper diet. It can be very stressful since many cats are finicky eaters and the right food can be hard to find. However, it is certainly not impossible.
Let’s explore some options based on budget, time, and accessibility.
Option 1: High Upfront Cost | Long Term Cost is Low | High Time Investment | Average Accessibility | Healthiest Option The best diet you can feed your furry friend is food that you make yourself in your kitchen.
According to Lisa A. Pierson, DVM, the best diet for cats is a combination of homemade cooked and raw food. You can read more about this diet on catinfo.org. However, I realize this is not feasible for everyone, as it requires time, effort, and money, but can save you money in the long run.
This is because ingredients can be purchased in bulk so that you can make a large batch and freeze individual portions. Dr. Pierson’s recipes are a detailed process and I will include a URL to her site on the resources page.
Her information is free to access, but I will highlight a few benefits of her process here. Dr. Pierson uses two different sources of meat. The first source that she recommends is either chicken or turkey thighs from Whole Foods Market or another grocery store.
The second source of meat that Dr. Pierson recommends is raw rabbit from an online distributor. She also uses a few other ingredients and supplements that are vital for a healthy cat.
Simply feeding your cat raw or cooked meat and nothing else will result in a sick cat, as they need the added vitamins and minerals to maintain a wholesome life. It is also important to note that cats need to be introduced to this diet gradually because as mentioned previously, they are finicky creatures and will need time for adjustment, as they are not used to it.
Option 2: High Budget | Low Time | Easily Accessible A pre-packaged food that is, in my opinion, one of the best in Nature’s Feast by Dr. Marty. It contains all the meat and feline-friendly fruits and veggies to support energy, digestion, skin, and a shiny coat with no fillers. This is definitely on the expensive side and can be used alongside species-appropriate canned food.
It can also take some time for your cat to get used to this food. My picky girl will only eat it as a snack rather than a meal, so I am still working on getting her used to it.
Option 3: Medium Budget | Low Time | Easily Accessible Raw food from a pet store is another great option that can be used in conjunction with species-appropriate canned food. I like Instinct frozen raw bites, and Luna likes it too! This food is kept in the freezer.
To me the 1.25 lb. bag is very cost-effective, as my cat eats this for dinner every few days and it lasts a long time. Smalls and JustCats are other brands of fresh cat food that I haven’t tried but would recommend you to investigate.
If something doesn’t work for your cat’s picky palate, keep trying new options until you find one that works.
Option 4: Lowest Budget | Low Time | Easily Accessible The most cost-effective food is a species-appropriate canned diet. These types of food will have meat as the main ingredients, some vegetables, and vitamins and minerals for balanced nutrition. Another important ingredient to search for is taurine, an amino acid found in meat that is essential for cats.
This is not the best option on this list but is an acceptable choice if you are on a budget or don’t always have the time to prepare homemade cat food. I always look for grain-free and sometimes limited ingredient diets.
If feeding your cat this type of diet, you may also want to purchase a powder that you can sprinkle onto your cat’s food that contains ingredients like Omega 3s, probiotics, digestive enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and taurine. Other qualities to look for in cat food:
● Minimal carbohydrate content
● High-quality animal protein
● High in moisture
● Free of potentially harmful additives Other Important Facts to Know About Feeding Your Cat It is important to know that you should not overfeed your cat.
It is a good idea to feed them in the morning and again around dinnertime or earlier. If you are going to leave them dry food during the day, be sure to measure it based on the feeding instructions on the package and your vet’s recommendation.
Your cat’s diet should not consist of solely dry food, as all dry foods are dangerously low in the water, and they may not drink enough water on their own.
This will cause problems in your cat’s urinary tract that can be extremely painful and life-threatening. Dry foods are often contaminated with bacteria.
They are high in carbohydrates and plant-based proteins, rather than animal-based proteins. It is good practice to avoid or limit dry food consumption. If you have more than one cat, it is highly recommended for them to each have their bowl for wet food.