Feline Dietary Needs
Cats need a diet that is high in protein, high in moisture (water) content, and low in carbohydrates. A cat’s natural diet would consist of prey they caught in the wild such as birds, lizards, mice, rabbits, and insects. Since your house cats is not out hunting for prey, we need to mimic their natural diet.
Dry Cat Food
Dry cat food is convenient. For many years, veterinarians have recommended feeding cats just dry cat food. Unfortunately, most dry foods do not have adequate protein and consist of too many carbohydrates. Dry cat food is also low in moisture content. Feeding a diet of dry cat food, especially of you free feed your cat, can lead to obesity, diabetes, and arthritis. It can also lead to kidney failure and urinary crystals since cats do not drink a lot of water and dry food does not contain enough water.
Wet Cat Food
The benefits of feeding wet cat food to your cat are abundant! Wet cat food contains more protein and less carbohydrates than dry cat food. The higher protein to carbohydrate ratio will help keep your cat at an ideal weight. Keeping your cat at a healthy weight will reduce its chances of diabetes. The moisture content in wet food is over 70% which will help with urine production and keeping your cat’s kidneys healthy. In addition, feeding wet cat food keeps you in control of portions and the timing of when your cat eats.
Making the Transition
When switching to a new food, it is always a good idea to start slow. Mix the new food with the old food over a 7-day period. Gradually add more of the new food and less of the old food each day. If your cat becomes stressed over the change, slow the process down to prevent your cat from getting sick. If you are switching from free dry food to wet food, slowly decrease the amount of dry food and increase the amount of wet food fed at each meal. If you cat does not show interest in wet food try warming it in the microwave for just a few seconds, especially if the food has been refrigerated.
Each cat is unique and will have different needs when it comes to their diet. Always contact your veterinarian before witching your cat's diet.
Written by Julie Gajewski. Julie has been pet sitting and working in the veterinary industry as both a technician and hospital administrator since 1997. She is a pet business consultant and a guest blog writer for pet sitters across the world. She lives in Florida with her husband and furry children, 2 Pugs and 4 cats.