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Cat food - how to choose cat food

Cat food - how to choose cat food

Since your cat reaches maturity, around 12 months of age (breed varies), it is important to stabilize the feeding pattern. To maintain an optimal body shape, your cat's diet must be well-balanced between the five main nutrient groups; proteins, oils and fats, minerals, vitamins and carbohydrates. Any good quality industrial complete food should provide your cat with this basic nutritional balance.

If you prepare food yourself at home, it can be very difficult to obtain a proper nutritional balance. Each of the many high-quality industrial cat foods contains a scientifically engineered combination of exactly the ingredients your cat needs. Fat and protein levels are carefully determined to help maintain a healthy body shape. Minerals and vitamins are carefully balanced. All cats are "ruthless carnivores," which means their diet must include meat. Only meat provides taurine (essential for eyesight and heart health), specific polyunsaturated fatty acids such as arachidonic acid and a particular form of vitamin A. Unless your veterinarian advises you to do so, it is not necessary to give your cat dietary supplements if you are feeding it a commercial complete food.

Advances in companion animal nutrition mean that there is now a wide range of commercial cat food formulated to exactly match your cat's specific needs. For example, if he spends most of his time indoors, a special indoor cat formula with high indigestible fiber content may be of benefit to him to help move ingested hair through the digestive tract without forming hair balls. Less active cats need fewer calories, so giving a 'light' formula can help avoid weight gain. Before changing from one formula to another, designed for a specific purpose, always consult your veterinarian. Special diets designed to support disease treatment or recovery are also available and may be prescribed by your veterinarian.

Remember the difference between 'complete ' and 'complementary '. Complete feeds do not require the use of supplements. Complementary foods, such as treats and snacks, and some purely meat / fish-based foods, do not provide a proper nutritional balance on their own. If you are feeding your cat complementary food, limit its amount to that recommended by the manufacturer, and to avoid overfeeding, always reduce the size of the main meal proportionally.

Of course, you won't do any harm by making the occasional home-cooked treat, but always use only fresh meat and fish that you cook carefully, no salt added, and after removing the skin and bones.

Unless your cat's situation changes radically, there is no need to change her regular feeding pattern from early adulthood until she is seven years old when she is older.

What to feed?

There are many types of cat food available - different recipes, forms and formulas as well as the choice between wet and dry form. Ultimately, whether you feed your cat wet or dry food is a matter of personal preference (yours and your cat's) or may be influenced by the presence of certain medical conditions.

- Dry complete foods have certain advantages. They are convenient to use, easy to measure and store, and have a longer shelf life than the wet form. They also help to remove plaque from teeth. If you choose a dry food, you can expect your cat to chew on it more actively and eat it longer, drink more water, and return to food regularly, rather than eating the entire batch at once. Unlike many dogs, cats prefer to munch on dry food, and wet food is less appealing to them, so leave it dry.

- Some cats just prefer the scent and texture of wet food, and this can also be very convenient to use with single-serving products each time. Your cat will also eat more at a time rather than return to the bowl multiple times, and will also drink less water. Feed the food at room temperature to ensure that its smell and taste are appropriate for your cat. Heating an open can may take up to two hours from the moment it is removed from the refrigerator - alternatively you may consider microwave heating for a short time, but beware of hot spots. In general, avoid feeding that is too hot or too cold.

- Many owners give a mix of dry and moist food, as some cats prefer moist food in the morning and dry food left over during the day.

Make sure your cat has constant access to fresh and clean drinking water, preferably in a large ceramic bowl. A large amount of water is especially important when you are feeding your cat dry food. If your cat is reluctant to drink, try a larger bowl - some cats don't like their whiskers touching the sides of the bowl. Metal bowls can discourage cats from drinking as they see reflections and shadows in them as they lean towards the dish. Ideally, the bowl of water should not be in the immediate vicinity of food, as cats prefer some separation of resources. If the cat goes outside, the rainwater bowl may be more popular than the clean, fresh water inside the house. Remember that milk is not a substitute for water. Cats do not need milk when separated from their mother, and many are intolerant to lactose (milk sugar), which can cause diarrhea in them. Even specially formulated 'cat milk' with low lactose content should be treated as a delicacy, not a drink, and the amount of food consumed should be adjusted accordingly.

Food storage

Moist feed:

After opening, cover the cans and refrigerate them, reheating before serving. Do not leave wet food outside the refrigerator for too long as it can become stale quickly. It is not recommended to store wet food for more than 24 hours after opening, even in a refrigerator, so you may prefer products intended for a single serving, such as aluminum sachets or dishes.

Dry food:

Store dry food in a dry, clean place and wash the container regularly. An airtight container makes the food more palatable by retaining its flavor. Give the dry food dry, as many cats prefer to crunch the food and find it less attractive when wet.

Treats and snacks

Most owners like to give their cats something good to eat in addition to their main meal. Table scraps or small amounts of food served from the hand are considered by many to be a means of showing affection. However, human foods are high in calories and sometimes salt, and lack many essential nutrients, so you risk overfeeding your pet or upset its diet. Many brands of commercial treats are also available, but they too can contain significant amounts of calories.

Some commercial delicacies are designed to taste great and complement the main meal without disturbing the nutritional balance, and for some of them manufacturers claim to benefit the digestive tract or teeth.

Remember, when giving your cat treats, always reduce the size of its main meal by an adequate amount of calories and follow the manufacturer's recommendations. Limit the amount of treats to no more than 15% of his daily energy requirements to avoid disturbing his diet. Remember that when your cat is on a special diet recommended by your veterinarian for weight loss or other medical indications, treats may not be allowed, as even a small amount of human food may disrupt the diet. In this case, ask your veterinarian what is allowed and what is not allowed to be given to your pet.

How much?

Many cats, given the choice, would prefer a few small meals a day. This is a bit uncomfortable for owners, but cats are equally adept at eating fewer and larger meals and most cats readily adapt to two meals a day. Nevertheless, since they like to snack by nature, leaving a certain amount of dry food between meals is consistent with cat's eating habits.

Always read the feeding instructions on the packaging carefully, but remember that these recommendations are only there to give you a starting point. Each cat has individual characteristics, so the most important thing is to feed it in order to maintain a slim, healthy, perfect figure. If you are in doubt about how much food to feed your cat, contact your veterinarian.

It is worth remembering that changing circumstances can lead to a change in nutritional needs. For example, if you move from a house with a garden to a house without a garden, your cat's activity levels may drop and he may need fewer calories in his food to maintain his optimal body weight.

When and how to feed

Cats are animals with habits, so it's best to feed them every day at the same place and at the same times, in a quiet place, away from the hustle and bustle of the house.

Choose a surface that is easy to clean, such as a ceramic floor, or use a coaster. Always serve the food in a clean bowl; Ceramic or metal bowls are best, and some cats prefer a saucer or a shallow dish. Place the bowl away from the litter box, and if you have more than one cat, place the bowls well apart to avoid confrontation. If cats are not on good terms with each other, it may be necessary to completely separate the feeding areas.

Change of diet

There are many reasons why you will need to change your cat's diet. Nutritional needs may change due to changes in lifestyle, living environment or with age, or a special diet may be required due to disease disorders. Be sure to check with your vet if your cat refuses to eat their usual food or the amount they eat decreases. If a feed change is needed, take into account that digestion can easily be disrupted when switching foods, whether from canned to dry or from brand to brand, too abruptly. The slow process of changing food will help your cat digest the new product more easily by naturally adapting the enzymes and the beneficial microflora in the digestive tract. When you introduce a new food:

Mix a small amount of the new food with your current food, although some cats don't like mixing flavors, so you can also:

  • Give both feeds at the same time to help your cat try the new product.
  • Over the course of seven to ten days, gradually increase the amount of the new feed, while reducing the amount of the feed used so far, until it changes completely.
  • If your cat feels unwell and a change of food is advised, consult your veterinarian about the best way and timing to proceed with the change of diet as the transition may be easier once your pet has recovered and feels better.

If you switch from wet to dry food, your cat will chew on it more actively and will certainly need more water, and may occasionally visit the bowl instead of eating it all at once. If you switch from dry to wet food, expect him to drink a little less and eat more in less time. Since dry food tends to have a higher energy density than wet food, your cat may need proportionally more moist food to get the same amount of calories.

Treat the cat with treats

Treats occasionally in between meals or hand-made are a great way to build a bond between you and your cat. However, human foods and some treats are high in calories and lack many essential nutrients, so you risk overfeeding or upset your cat's diet. Some delicacies are designed to taste great and complement main meals without disturbing the nutritional balance, and in the case of some of them, producers declare a beneficial effect on the gastrointestinal tract or teeth.

Remember, when giving your cat treats, always reduce the size of its main meal by an adequate amount of calories and follow the recommendations of the manufacturer of the product. Limit treats to no more than 15% of your cat's daily energy requirements to prevent disruptions to their overall diet.

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Cats have a reputation for being very picky about the contents of their bowls. Many have their favorite textures and flavors and turn their noses at anything they're not used to.

However, being picky can be the first sign of illness, so any time your cat's appetite is losing contact with your vet. In addition to following any doctor's advice, there are additional ways to encourage your cat to eat, including:

  • Provide your pet with more privacy during the meal. Move mealtime to a time when all other household members have eaten and feed your cat in a quiet place, away from the hustle and bustle of the house.
  • Make sure the bowl is clean. Many kittens will not want to eat from a bowl that has bits of old food in it. Wash the food and water bowl after each use.
  • Some cats prefer to use a saucer rather than a deep bowl.
  • If they usually eat willingly, try replacing the food. Dry food absorbs moisture and becomes stale, especially when it is warm.
  • Try to feed moist food at room temperature as it smells more appealing and is easier to digest. If the food is stored in the refrigerator it may take some time, you can also warm the moist food in a cup of boiling water for a short time until it is warm (not hot) to the touch.
  • Stronger smelling food can help encourage a picky cat.
  • Vary the type (dry and moist) and taste of the food.
  • Remember that cats spending a lot of time outside have many opportunities to get unforeseen snacks. At lunchtime, your cat may just not be hungry. Here, too, high-quality food can help encourage him to give up alternative food sources outside the home. Hot summer days also contribute to a decline in appetite, but always check with your vet to be sure it's not due to an underlying health issue.

When your cat finally returns to eating her food, as soon as you take the bowl away, praise him and show him a lot of affection.

If the cat is still whining

If your cat's pickiness persists, consult your vet as your kitten's lack of appetite may be caused by disease. A complete checkup is recommended as there can be many reasons for a reduction in your cat's appetite.

Overweight cats

Adult cats tend to gain weight, especially not going out and aging. Obesity is the most common eating disorder in cats and affects roughly one in three cats in the UK. It is therefore important to carefully maintain the animal's body weight in view of the obesity risk of disease disorders.

How to tell if your cat is overweight

It can be difficult to tell if your cat is overweight. Use the Body Condition Chart for reference. Regular evaluation by your veterinarian is recommended, but to check for yourself simply run your hand along his sides and abdomen. With a perfect body, you should be able to feel, but not see, easily his ribs without a thick layer of fat. Its waist behind the ribs should be clearly visible when viewed from above, with no swaying folds when the animal walks.

Your cat is moderately overweight

If his waist is not clearly visible or difficult to see, you may feel some fat under his abdomen, but you can still feel his ribs beneath the layer of fat covering them.

Your cat is obese

If there is no waist, you cannot feel its ribs and its belly is rounded, with a large fat cover (fat pad) hanging over it that sways when the animal walks.

Restoring your cat to a healthy weight

Please consult your veterinarian before beginning any dietary changes or 'weight loss program'. It is important that your cat is weighed and examined for possible health problems before any dietary changes or restrictions are made. To help your cat lose weight, start by stopping all snacks and treats, including milk, for two weeks. Make sure all household members know the rules so that there is no cheating! If you have multiple cats, feed them separately to avoid food theft. Dividing food into smaller and more frequent portions may help fight hunger, but control what and how much you give. Your veterinarian may recommend that you reduce the amount of food you eat or switch to a special reduced calorie diet. Never 'starve' your cat or limit the amount of food without doctor's advice as this could lead to serious health problems.

Some specialty cat food brands also offer special formulas designed to meet the needs of indoor or sterilized cats. They are generally adapted to the reduced energy requirements of young and adult cats after sterilization to promote lean body mass, normal glucose metabolism and urinary tract health.

Karma is only part of the equation. Lifestyle is also important. Lack of exercise can be a common cause of weight gain, so encourage your cat to stay active and burn more calories. Scheduling playtime can help, and many cats like to spend their time running after the ball or playing with a toy 'fishing rod '.

Light food

You should also consider the benefits of switching to a specially formulated light formula. These diets tend to have lower calories, so you can avoid the need to limit the amount of food you are currently feeding. These diets are fortified with all the necessary nutrients except calories, so even if you need to limit the amount of food you feed, you can be sure that your cat is getting all the right minerals and vitamins in the right proportions. Note that if you are currently feeding your cat a diet recommended by your veterinarian, you should consult with your cat before making any changes.

After two weeks, check your body condition again and continue the diet until you are in perfect condition and weight. Rapid weight loss is dangerous and may indicate a serious root cause. Effective weight loss should be slow and gradual and may take months, so be patient. You may be able to participate in a weight loss program run by your veterinarian for close monitoring of your cat's weight loss, and for help and advice. After successfully losing your pet, you may want to slightly modify the feed amounts to stabilize your pet's weight.

PURINA brands for adult cats

PURINA produces many of the world's leading dry and wet cat food, each the result of the latest scientific advances in quality, flavor and nutrition, and is designed to give you and your pet an unparalleled choice of recipes and formats for every stage and mode. life.

Find out more about PURINA® cat food.

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