The nutritional needs for your cat varies depending on their life stage. Kittens should follow a diet that is higher in protein and calories to meet their growth requirements (without excess consuming). For adult cats, it’s important to remember that an “all life stage” cat food may seem like a good idea, but may have an adverse effect for some adult and senior cats due to excess nutrients. If you’re
tempted to feed your kitten an “all life stage” food, it may result in health concerns as well. “All life stage” cat food must meet or exceed requirements needed for growth and when fed to a kitten, the food may have a harmful effect on their health and weight. As always, it is best to consult a veterinarian so he or she can help you
make an educated decision about what type of food is best for your cat’s individual needs.
Feeding recommendations can be good guidelines, but the pets they are based on get more exercise than the average pet. Evaluate daily food portions based on your
pet’s age, body condition, and overall health. And be sure to consult with your vet.
Cats require more protein in their diets than dogs. Cats break down dietary protein to provide themselves with the amino acids they need to build proteins within their own bodies (e.g., muscle cells and enzymes). A cat’s body can convert some amino acids into others. These are called non-essential amino acids because they do not have to be supplied directly by the diet. On the other hand, essential amino acids do need to be included in a cat’s food because the feline body is incapable of making them. Taurine is an example of an essential amino acid for cats.
Five nutrient categories are included in nutritionally complete cat foods:, proteins, carbohydrates, fats/oils, vitamins, and minerals. Veterinary nutritionists use a variety of ingredients to precisely balance the proportion of each nutrient category in relation to the others. For cats, too much of a nutrient can be just as dangerous as
A sixth nutrient, water, is also essential for feline health. Some water is included in all pet foods, and cats get the rest of what they need from the water bowl. Make sure your cat has access to fresh, clean water at all times.
AAFCO stands for the American Association of Feed Control Officials. AAFCO is a voluntary membership association of local, state, and federal agencies charged by law to regulate the sale and distribution of animal feeds and animal drug remedies. The organization defines and establishes regulations for pet food and feed ingredients and sets standards for nutritional adequacy. AAFCO has no regulatory authority but works to protect consumers and safeguard the health of both animals and people.
The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) regulates the use of the word “natural”. It can only be applied to cat foods that don’t contain ingredients or additives that have been chemically synthesized unless their inclusion at a particular level is absolutely necessary.
The official AAFCO definition of natural is “a feed or ingredient derived solely from plant, animal or mined sources, either in its unprocessed state or having been subject to physical processing, heat processing, rendering, purification, extraction, hydrolysis, enzymolysis or fermentation, but not having been produced by or
subject to a chemically synthetic process and not containing any additives or processing aids that are chemically synthetic except in amounts as might occur unavoidably in good manufacturing practices.”
How much a cat should eat depends on many variables including his activity level, metabolic rate and the food you are offering. Use the feeding guide on the cat food
label as a starting point. These instructions usually read something like, “for cats weighing 5 lbs, feed between ½ and ¾ cup per day; for cat’s weighing 10 lbs, feed between ¾ and 1 cup per day; and for cats weighing 15 lbs, feed between 1 cup and 1 ½ cups per day”.
Use your cat’s body condition to fine tune the amount you offer. For example, if he is overweight offer an amount on the low end of the recommended range and reevaluate in a few weeks to a month. Your veterinarian can also help you determine how much of a particular food you should be offering.
Cat food should be used ahead of the “best before” date that is printed on most labels. Store food off the floor or in a container in a cool, dry location to reduce the chances that mice, insects, or other vermin gains access to it.
Dry food can be left out in bowls as long as it is not exposed to moisture or hot temperatures. Wash and refill food and water bowls at least once a week. Canned food should be discarded after it has been at room temperature for four hours and the bowl is cleaned prior to being refilled. Opened cans can be stored in the refrigerator for up to seven days.
Too much fat in the diet can lead to obesity, but as long as a cat is eating an appropriate amount of a nutritionally balanced food, he should be getting just the right amount to keep him healthy. Proper proportions of high-quality fats and oils in a cat’s food have many health benefits including reducing inflammation, immune system support, proper brain and eye development and promoting healthy skin and a glossy coat.
This means the food formulation has been determined to meet nutrition levels established by the AAFCO using laboratory analysis versus being actually determined by feeding to animals.
Stand above pets and look down on them. From this vantage point you should be able to feel their ribs but not see them. Both dogs and cats should also have a nice taper at their waist. If they are too heavy, they’ll be oval shaped. Check with your vet to be sure!
There are pros and cons to both. A dry diet is typically more economical and works the teeth more to prevent dental tartar. Wet diets provide more water and therefore may be better for some urinary problems (bladder irritation, stones and crystals).
Changing food may require some adaptation of the stomach, to get used to the new food.
Your cat may also need to get used to the new taste, smell, texture or kibble size/shape.
If changes are done gradually, though, it will usually be a smooth and successful process. A gradual switch, mixing more and more of the new food into the old one, should be done over a period of 7-10 days. This is important for any change of diet.
The exception is in cases of acute illness where a specialised diet must be introduced as quickly as possible, e.g. a digestive support or intensive care diet.
No – we’re pleased to tell you that this is a myth. Pets that have kidney problems are more likely to be eating a diet based on cereal protein, which is poor in digestible
protein. Vets often recommend a diet that is high in easy to digest protein, such as Encore. We hope that puts your mind at rest, however if you have any concerns, contact your vet.