Deepen the Connection with Purrfect Nutrition
In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods and they haven’t yet forgotten that! They have a poise which is so mystical that they naturally command just the best in every aspect.
Cats are obligate carnivores and heavily rely on meat for their nutritional needs. They evolved as hunters who consumed prey containing high amounts of protein, moderate fat, and minimal amount of carbohydrates, and their diet still requires these general proportions even today.
Cats also require more than a dozen other nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and some 11 essential amino acids. One such amino protein is ‘taurine’ – essential for vision and cerebral development. But cats cannot synthesise it from their dietary intake, so this essential amino acid needs to be given as supplements to your pets.
More is not always better: Be cautious about supplements
Although your cat needs certain amounts of each specific nutrient to be healthy, more is not always better. This is particularly true of vitamins and minerals. If you’re feeding a healthy and balanced diet to your pet, there isn’t any need to give additional supplements. Supplements can be harmful to your cat, and they should never be given without a veterinarian’s approval.
Changing needs as per life stages
A cat’s nutritional requirements change through different life stages. These stages include kitten hood, adulthood, pregnancy, and lactation. Making your own cat food is a difficult and time-consuming process, as the recipe may not contain the right quantities and proportions of nutrients for your pet. It is highly recommended that you get a nutritionally balanced cat food according to their life stage, unless a vet suggests a home-formulated recipe for medical purposes. In that case, your vet will most likely prescribe a recipe developed by veterinarians certified in animal nutrition.
Count calories, not excuses
A thumb rule is not to let treats exceed 10 to 15% of your pet’s daily calorie intake. In addition, some foods like chocolates, grapes, and garlic should be avoided completely. Although raw meat is an excellent source of many nutrients, it is not recommended because it is a potential carrier for toxoplasmosis and other infectious diseases. Milk is not generally recommended as a treat for cats, as many cats are lactose-intolerant and can develop gastrointestinal problems if fed dairy products.
Cats are choosy about where they eat. So it’s important to keep in mind that loud noises, presence of other animals, dirty food containers, or nearby litter boxes can deter a cat from eating. Sensitivity to your cat’s eating behaviour, is a key to make necessary adjustments.
Beware of ‘Obesity’ monster
Obesity is a common nutrition-related problem in cats. It makes cats susceptible to a number of health problems like arthritis, heart problems, and diabetes. Ask your vet to know your pet’s ideal body weight then follow the suggestions to maintain that weight.
Good food is a life source
Although many cats are content to eat a single variant of food, but some may develop finicky eating habits and become very selective about what food they eat. Feeding your pet two or more kind of flavours can provide variety, and also prevent them from developing an exclusive preference for a single food. If you notice sudden drastic changes in their eating habits, it can be a warning sign. Consult a vet!
Hydrate and feel great!
Most important to a cat’s health –hydration! A cat’s body is 65 – 67% water and even a 10 -15% water loss can cause grave illnesses or even deaths. While dogs like to drink water from their bowls, cats prefer either a water fountain or drinking from the tap. Many pet parents buy into the myth that wet food can solve the hydration issue in a cat. While wet food has moisture content of up to 75%, still for optimum hydration your pet needs to drink fresh water. Expecting them to feel satiated with wet food is as careless as expecting someone to eat soup when thirsty!
(Mitu Paul is Brand Head at Dibaq Pet Care India, subsidiary of Dibaq Pet Care, Segovia, Spain)