7 Reasons Why Feeding Your Cat Correctly Is More Complicated Than You Think

Cats can be picky eaters, but they have no problem letting you know when they are hungry.

Such is the life of a pet parent to these often aloof animals. If you’re a cat owner, you can probably relate. Cat care can sometimes be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be.

Picking out the right food for your feline friend is just one of the many ways you can concentrate on optimizing your cat’s health. Along with the right nutrition, you should make sure your cat is getting enough food, and not too much, as well as strengthening positive behavior.

If you’re wondering whether or not your cat is getting all it needs to thrive, you’re not alone. Here are 7 tips to help you get off on the right paw!

7. Type of food

Cats need lean protein to sustain their bodies. That should be the first ingredient on the back of the product.

Many believe that dry food is less beneficial for feline health and avoid it altogether. According to the Conscious Cat, sometimes even grain-free dry cat food contains high levels of carbohydrates and is not nutritionally appropriate for cats.

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Any way you choose it, a good cat food is packed full of lean protein, is both grain- and filler-free, and tastes good to your furry friend!

6. Nutrients

Feeding your feline a food with higher nutrient content means you can feed them less to meet their daily requirements. Narrowing down those nutrients might take some research, or consulting with a veterinarian, but providing a diet of real food meals is a good start, the Feline Nutrition Foundation reports.

Cats need protein, fat, water, vitamins and minerals to thrive. And animals that lack those nutrients can wind up with serious health issues. Cat foods previously manufactured without the amino acid taurine, for instance, led to a number of feline deaths.

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The taurine content of any cat food should be no lower that .2%, as recommended by the Association of American Feed Control Officials.

5. Amount

“Obesity is the most common nutritional disease seen in cats,” Joe Bartges, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, DACVN, told WebMD. You should feed a cat between 24 to 35 calories a day per pound, to sustain a healthy weight.

That works out to be about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of food for a 5-pound cat, 3/8 to 1/2 cup of food for a 10-pound cat, or 1/2 to 3/4 cup of food for a 15-pound cat. Given these ranges, PetMD reports, and assessing the body condition of your cat, you can narrow down the appropriate amount.

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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee. Find more about Matthew on his personal website.