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all you need to know about feeding your cat

What to know about feeding your cat

Whether your cat is a picky eater or a bit on the pudgy side, she probably lets you know how she feels about what you put in her bowl. Cats are extremely opinionated about food, and lots of their food preferences are formed in the first year. So if your cat is a kitten, now is the time to get her used to diverse types of food; dry, wet, and semi-dry. But even if your pet is older, there are still ways to check if she’s getting all the nutrients she needs to be healthy. Start by knowing more about what you’re buying and what your cat needs.

Obesity in cats
Following a trend of many of their owners, 1 in 5 cats in industrialized countries today is obese. Several factors seem to contribute to this widespread obesity problem, including:
– Inactivity
– Overfeeding rich foods
– Neutering (castrated cats are up to four times more likely to be obese).
But you can take steps to deal with weight problems, including playing with your cat and controlling food intake around the time of neutering.

When and how much food should I feed my adult cat?
Here are some things to keep in mind concerning feeding times and amounts:
– There are equations you can use to calculate the perfect food portion for a cat, but many things including activity and the cat’s metabolism affect the energy needs.
– You can just evaluate your own cat by looking at his or her silhouette and touching the belly from the top and sides. In case you can’t feel ribs, you may need to adjust how much you’re feeding your cat.
– Weigh your cat and look at the product packaging. Collaborate with your vet to decide how much your cat should weigh.

Types of feeding methods
There are many types of feeding methods owners commonly use, which may differ depending on the needs of their adult cats and their schedules:
Portion-control feeding involves measuring the food and offering it as a meal. It can be used for weight control and for animals that are likely to overeat if allowed to feed at will.
Free-choice feeding means food, typically dry food, is available around the clock. Nursing cats are generally fed free choice. But this method could turn into a problem for a cat that doesn’t know when to stop.
Timed feeding involves making food available for a certain amount of time, then picking it up after for example 30 minutes.

Feeding cats twice daily using the portion control feeding method is recommended. For that, start by dividing the amount suggested on the label of your pet’s food into 2 meals, spaced 8 to 12 hours apart. You may need to regulate food portions as you learn your cat’s ideal daily maintenance amount.

What about treats?
Make sure to keep the calories from treats to less than 10% of daily calories.

How much water does my cat need?
As your cat consumes more calories and produces more metabolic waste, he needs more water to preserve his body temperature. In general, an adult cat should drink approximately the same amount of water (in milliliters) as the number of calories eaten per day. Dry cat food contains 7-12 % water, while canned food can contain up to 80% water. Cats that eat only dry food don’t get as much water from their food as those who eat canned food, and should always have easy access to clean, drinking water to increase their intake.

Canned vs. dry cat food: Which one is better?
Dry adult cat food:
– Is more economical
– Is suitable because you can leave it out and it doesn’t spoil easily
– Is energy-dense, meaning a cat can consume a lot of calories quickly
– Has around 10% moisture content
– Tends to have less protein and more carbohydrates than wet food
– May be only a little better than canned food at preventing dental disease
Canned adult cat food:
– Is more expensive
– Can spoil more easily and needs refrigeration after opening
– Is less energy-dense than dry food
– Has up to 78% moisture content
– Tends to have more fat and protein, especially animal protein, and fewer carbohydrates than dry food

Further research is needed to determine whether wet food is better than dry food. But the high moisture content in wet food can be useful to cats with urinary tract problems, diabetes, or kidney disease.

Finally, it is always important to know about feeding your pets whether it is a cat or a dog to ensure they get the proper nutrition.

Christelle Bedrossian
Dietitian-Nutritionist
Beirut, Lebanon

Author Info

Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian

Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian dedicates some of her time to address us through the various media outlets and provide answers to our questions. As a prominent professional in the field of dietetics, Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian is frequently hosted on several local and international television and radio stations to offer up to date advice and tips on health and nutrition. Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian is a writer and nutrition consultant for a variety of written publications, both print and online magazines and newspapers.
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