Cat nutrition. What do you feed a cat?

cat nutrition
what do you feed a cat

Cat nutrition is important

Paying attention to cat nutrition can help your cat live a better life. Everyone knows that living, breathing animals need to be fed.  If they don’t know, they should NOT have any animals, and maybe no plants either.  For the rest of us, we know that cats need to be fed.  But what are the choices?

What does a cat need to keep healthy?

1) According to several sources, an average cat needs about 200-250 calories a day, depending on age, activity level, etc. Overfeeding or underfeeding can have some bad health effects. 

2) Cats, as obligatory carnivores, have to have meat in their diet. In the wild, they get the other nutrients from their prey animals since they eat them mostly whole. A vegan diet might keep them alive, but they won’t be getting what they need.  Some grain/vegetables can be helpful, in limited amounts, but the majority needs to be meat.

3) Water is vital. Cats need to get enough water.  They should always have it available.  However, if you choose dry, you’ll have to take extra steps to make sure they get enough since the food itself has very little moisture.

What are the choices in cat nutrition?

You have many choices for feeding your cats.  Some are better than others and it all depends on a bunch of factors.  Price, convenience and physical needs of your cat should be considered when you decide on a feeding routine.

Dry food

You can buy a bag of dry kibble at feed stores, online, or at the grocery store.  The benefit is that it is quick, easy to find and very convenient.  Just pour it in a bowl. The nutrients are usually balanced pretty well since it is formulated just for cats. You do have to make sure you’re feeding something that’s good quality. Making sure your cat gets enough water will be extra important since kibble has the moisture cooked out of it.

Canned food

Another easy to find option is canned or wet food.  Also quick.  It does take a little more work to serve it and you have to refrigerate what you aren’t using right away.  Again, this food is formulated just for cats so the nutrients should be pretty balanced. Since this food has quite a bit of water in it, your cat is more likely to get enough.  

Home cooked food

This one can be the most healthy if it’s done in a balanced way.  If you decide to cook for your cats, you’ll have to do some research and maybe talk to a nutritionist.  But you don’t have to wonder what’s in your pet’s food and you don’t have to worry about recalls.  It can be expensive and time consuming to feed this way, but you might find that it’s worth it. 

A combination of foods

You can also feed a combination of foods, depending on preferences of you and your cat, time available and other needs.  The most important thing is to make sure they get the nutrients they need in the right amounts.  A cat that is too thin or too fat can have health problems. If they don’t get enough water, they can have stones or kidney issues.

What do I feed my cats?

We live on a farm in a very rural part of Wyoming.  Our cats are outside cats.  We’ve tried to bring them in, but they hate it.  Because they’re outside, they hunt the critters in our fields.  We supplement with dry food and watch to be sure nobody is too thin or too fat.  I keep feeding time pretty regular, so they all come in and I can do a quick check on each one.  

It works for us.  Our cats are all very healthy, fit and happy. The main point is to watch and make changes if things aren’t working for your cat.  Your eyes, hands and attention can catch many issues before they become big problems.  If you love your cats, it’s almost automatic.  And very much worth it.

For more posts about cats, read my post Feline leukemia. Is it as bad as it sounds? or FLUTD in cats, a urinary tract problem. You can also read this post from PetMD about cat nutrition. Tell me about how you feed your cat below.

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