Love for cats goes through the stomach. Where the filled bowl is waiting for a tube tiger is its home. But what does a healthy diet look like that promises the animals a long life?
Full-bodied advertising promises and tough mistakes have unsettled many cat owners. Does dry food really make you sick? Are there any addictive substances in industrial wet food? And is raw meat really unhealthy? It’s all a bit of a stretch, but knowing a few basic things about cat nutrition will help allay that uncertainty.
Cats are predators, i.e. carnivores, which is why meat should make up the majority of their diet. Their organism is adjusted to food high in protein and fat. They have difficulty digesting starchy food such as rice or potatoes. “Potatoes with sauce”, a standard menu for many farm cats, only works because free-roaming cats constantly eat fresh mice as picnics.
The amino acids taurine and arginine, vitamins A and B, and arachidonic acid from the fatty acid class is essential for cats. Taurine in particular is vital for them. It is a misconception that animal feed generally consists of the same ingredients. Dog food, for example, contains little to no taurine and is more starchy than cat food. If the cat eats dog food because it likes the taste, it will show serious deficiency symptoms in the long run.
Wet food is a cat’s main meal. It provides nutrients and covers the liquid requirement. Cats are not drinkers. On average, wet food has a water content of 80 percent. It doesn’t matter whether chicken, beef, or fish is on the cat’s table. But many animals love variety. Which preparation of the fur fraction tastes good, whether pieces, with sauce, jelly, or pie, depends on the cat. Mum and dad soon found that out. Some cats like everything, some just lick wet food with sauce, some just the sauce.
Unfortunately, industrially produced cat food often contains unhealthy ingredients such as preservatives or artificial antioxidants. Many manufacturers add caramelized sugar to their products because it turns the sauce brown, which makes it more appetizing to people. The cats don’t care, because they can’t taste the “sweet” taste, but there is still a risk of obesity and tooth decay. A look at the ingredients helps. And expensive is not always better.
A cat should be fed about 50 grams of wet food per day per kilogram of body weight. For a four-kilogram cat, that’s about 200 grams per day, depending on the animal’s activity. Three meals a day are common. If you are not there during the day, the cat should be fed before leaving the house and after coming home, and again before bed. A handful of dry food as a snack shortens the waiting time for the darling.
Dry food is a good choice for a change. Many varieties also contain nutrients and active ingredients that counteract the formation of hairballs in the intestine. Because dry food is hard, the teeth have to work harder – this removes other food debris and plaque. However, this only applies to coarser dry food that the cat cannot swallow. It is important to close the opened bag well, otherwise, food mites will nest.
Dry food is cheaper than wet food and most products also provide the cat with all the nutrients it needs. But it only contains about 8 to 10 percent water. Therefore, freshwater should not be missing at the cat table. Several bowls of water and a fountain in the apartment encourage the cat to drink more. If she doesn’t, there is a risk of kidney damage or bladder stone formation. When the kidneys aren’t working properly, cats start shedding intensely.
Some animals only drink fresh Hahnenburger, others prefer stale water from a watering can. It is important: water bowls should always be in a different place than the food. Because in the wild, the animal instinctively does not drink where it kills the prey, so as not to contaminate the water.