Just like people, obesity in cats is a dangerous thing. Being overweight leaves humans open to a variety of illnesses; in cats, also, it can result in serious conditions including arthritis, fatty liver disease and diabetes. That’s why it’s so important that cats have a healthy diet, incorporating the foods that provide all the nutrients, minerals and vitamins they need.
Maybe not the first thing that springs to mind, it can be surprising to learn that a large percentage of cats experience dental hygiene problems at some point. The good news is that this is largely preventable. Kittens lose their baby teeth when aged between four and six months and after the arrival of adult teeth cats should have regular dental check-ups.
Plaque and tartar build up are the most common problems. Besides regular check-ups, a simple remedy to help tartar control is to use healthy cat treats, which provide protein, fats and fiber. In fact, many cat dental health problems, including halitosis, can be sorted by ensuring cats have the correct diet, and this helps avoid more serious illnesses including gum inflammation or gingivitis, oral cancer and periodontal disease.
Food for good health
Many cat owners continue to debate the pros and cons of wet versus dry cat food. In terms of their biology, cats need diets that contain Taurine, which is an amino acid mostly found in animal meats containing muscle. This means that it can be difficult for cats to get the level of protein they need from plant materials alone they are not meant to be vegetarians. Generally, therefore, wet cat food that includes either meat or fish provides a more suitable meal for a cat, but of course quality counts – a poor grade canned food is never as good as a high caliber dry variety.
A balanced diet
Feeding humans a fast food diet all the time is not smart; similarly, cats that consume nothing except dry food, which often includes cheap fillers, are more likely to be undernourished. Dehydration is another worry, and whilst wet food contains more than enough water, cat owners who are serving up only dry food need to provide additional clean sources of fresh water so that their pets can drink the equivalent of one cup per ten body weight pounds daily more in hot weather.
Carbohydrate consumption is also an issue in terms of solely serving dry cat food; obesity and diabetes are more common among cats that are served dry foods only, and a way to mitigate this is to alternate foodstuffs so that canned wet food is served occasionally. It pays to pick the best quality wet food, as the poor grade varieties, often those produced most cheaply, commonly contain undesirable meat by-products.
Increasingly, natural and organic foods are used in prepared cat food sold in cans or pouches. Described as ˜highly digestible” such foods are normally free from artificial colors, growth hormones and antibiotics.
Pet owners who are concerned about chemical additives generally opt for these foods.
A combination of wet and dry foods seems the best way forward. Whatever the choices made, the most important thing is the quality of the foodstuff, as this is what determines the benefits enjoyed by pets.
This is a guest post written by Alexandra Maxwell, who has recently been lucky enough to have her very own Kitten to raise. She loves learning about animal behaviour, and has a particular interest in Cats. Alex has always had Cats as family companions, and she is currently trying to teach her Kitten some new tricks!