|It is important to feed your cat a balanced diet so that they remain fit, active and healthy, and it is vital that your cat has access to fresh water at all times. |
A wide variety of cat foods are available to suit activity levels and life stages (eg. kitten/junior, adult & senior) and you should choose the appropriate one for your cat to ensure they are both happy and healthy.
Complete Cat Foods
There are a wide variety of dry complete cat foods on the market that vary in quality. Ensure that you choose a food specially designed for your cat (eg. kitten, adult or senior) and buy the best you can afford. The "premium" foods tend to have the best quality ingredients and are usually based on meat.
Unlike dogs, cats prefer to crunch on their dry food, they will take longer to eat it, and return to it several times a day rather than eat it all in one sitting. Cats fed on dry food will also drink more water, so ensure availability at all times.
Semi-moist foods usually come in either mince or cube form and as with other types of food, they can vary in quality. Choose a food that is of good quality and is easily digestible. Ensure to read the feeding directions as some foods are not complete and additional feed, such as cat biscuits, may be required.
Canned Cat Foods
A wide variety of canned cat foods are available on the market. They come in two types - complete, which consists of meat and cereal, and just meat that needs to be fed with cat biscuits. Choose a good quality food and ensure to read the directions before feeding.
A variety of cat biscuits are available that can be fed with canned meat foods or separately.
If you wish to feed your cat some milk, only feed specially formulated cat's milk. Cow's milk is not good for cats as most lose the ability to digest lactose shortly after weaning, so do not give your cat cows milk. Also bear in mind that milk is a food and not just a drink, so if feeding special cat milk it is a good idea to reduce the amount of solid food you feed your cat.
A wide variety of cat treats are available and good quality prepared treats have been developed with the dietary needs of a cat in mind. Treats should be given sparingly and if using regularly, reduce the amount of main meal food your cat is receiving in order to avoid obesity.
How Much Food?
The amount of food a cat requires depends on it age, size and its daily activities. Cat food that you buy will usually have a feeding requirements on the label and these will act as a guide.
But bear in mind that not all cats eat the amount recommended by the manufacturer, so the most important consideration is to feed enough to maintain a health condition.
When to Feed
When to feed your cat should be tailored to each individual. Kittens should be fed 4 small meals per day, with this being reduced over several months until they are fed twice per day.
Cats over 12 months old should be fed twice a day, usually in the morning and evening. If your cat is fed on dry food, it can be left down for several hours for your cat to return to, but if feeding wet food, ensure it is never left to go dry in the bowl.
Changing your Cat Food
If you feel your cat is not suited to a particular type of food and you would like to change it's diet, do so gradually. Begin by feeding the old food with a small amount of the new food mixed into it, then gradually increase the amount of new food, while decreasing the amount of the old food until the change over is complete. Doing this will help to avoid any stomach upsets, particularly with kittens and young cats.