Feeding Your Cat and Getting the Balance Right
Cats are ‘obligate carnivores’, which means they need meat in their diet and can never be vegetarian or vegan. Felines rely on protein as their main source of energy, and need higher levels of protein in their diet. Not only is meat a ready source of protein, it also provides three essential nutrients that cats can’t live without: taurine (for heart and vision), arachidonic acid (for skin and coat health) and Vitamin A (for coat and vision).
To keep your cat fit, give them the right balance of essential nutrients in their diet. A good quality, complete cat food should not only delicious, it should also be carefully formulated to provide them all the nutrients they need.
While the food you eat might seem like a treat to you, but adding human food or supplements to a nutritionally balanced, complete cat food can actually throw off the finely-tuned balance of your pet’s diet and give them an upset tummy!
Kittens have especially sensitive tummies, and will need a special diet that is rich in protein and other nutrients to help them grow up big and strong. For cats from 12 months old, they will need the appropriate nutrition designed for adult cats. And when they reach their senior years at 7-10, they will then need to switch to a senior diet tailored to their changing needs.
The Importance of Water
Like all living beings, water is essential for your cat. That is why it is important that they get plenty of clean, fresh drinking water throughout the day.
Keep their water bowl at a little distance away from their food bowl, and far away from their litter tray. If you notice that your cat has suddenly started drinking from odd places, there might be a medical condition that's causing extreme thirst which should be discussed with your vet.
The Benefits of Protein
Cats use protein as their main source of energy, but their bodies are unable to make these basic chemical building blocks themselves. So they have to rely on their diets to get the protein they need to form and maintain healthy muscle, skin and fur, as well as being a key part of their immune system. If your cat doesn’t get enough protein, they can end up with poor growth, loss of muscle bulk, poor coat condition and increased risk of infection through a poor immune system.
The Role of Fats
Fats provide 'fuel' for your cat to stay active as well as providing protection for their internal organs. Essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6, are important to keep your cat’s skin and coat healthy.
The Advantages of Carbohydrates
Although carbohydrates are not an essential part of your cat’s diet, they do act as an available energy source. Prebiotics (soluble fibres) also help maintain a healthy gut by promoting good bacteria, while insoluble fibres promote normal digestion and good stool quality.
The Purpose of Minerals
Minerals like calcium, plays a huge role in providing your cat strong, healthy teeth and bones. And if your cat is pregnant and raising kittens, your cat’s diet needs to include the right quantities and right balance of each!
Good quality, complete cat food will provide the right balance of minerals – too much of one mineral can lead to a deficiency in another. So look out for minerals like sodium, chloride, magnesium and potassium, as well as zinc, copper and iron in your cat’s diet.
The Value of Vitamins
Cat vitamins are needed (in small amounts) to promote your cat’s growth, overall vision, healthy nervous system and many more. They are involved in the metabolism of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins C and E, and are also important to prevent cells from being damaged. Vitamins that can dissolve in fats (A, D, E and K) are stored in your cat’s fatty tissues, but vitamins that can dissolve in water (B complex and C) are not stored in the body, but passed out in your cat’s urine.
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