What Can I Feed My Cat to Keep it Healthy? A Guide to Feeding Your Cat

Posted: September 8, 2019 by Anita

what can i feed my cat

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A Guide to Feeding Your Cat

What can I feed my cat?  Hopefully, this is one of the first questions you will ask yourself as a new cat owner.  But I’m not so sure it will be.  I know it wasn’t the first question I asked myself when I became a cat owner for the first time.

I’m pretty sure you’ll grab one of many cat food brands you might have heard about on TV.  I know I did.  I mean it’s cat food, for God sake.  What is the big deal?

Well, it is a big deal. Feeding your cat a proper diet can prevent medical issues and numerous visits to the Vet.

In this article, I discuss:

  • What can I feed my cat?
  • How much should I feed my cat?
  • How much wet food to feed a cat?
  • How often should you feed a cat?
  • What foods can cats not eat?

What can I feed my cat?

Your cat is an obligate carnivore.  What the hell does that mean?  It means that your cat must eat meat. Cats can’t make amino acids and other essential vitamins on their own as humans do.  They must get their amino acids and various crucial vitamins from meat.

The best food to feed your cat should:

  • contain water
  • have a high-quality source of protein

Which means the best food for your cat is wet or canned food.  I know…I know…in a previous article, (see 12 Best Dry Cat Food Brands You Should Consider), I discussed the benefits of dry cat food brand. I now have to walk that back after doing some research on the benefits of wet food versus dry food.

Gigi suffered through a bout with urinary tract infections a few months. I know that her breed does suffer from kidney and bladder issues (read my article on the Manx cat).

I’ve decided to slooowly wean her off dry food and introduce her to canned food.  She is also overweight, and switching to a lighter dry food hasn’t helped. So, I’m re-thinking the benefits of dry cat food.

Why is wet or canned food the best for your cat?

Wet or canned food is better for your cat because:

  • contains water
  • lower in carbohydrates
  • healthy for cat’s urinary system
  • decreases chances of diabetes and obesity

Dry cat food can contain a lot of mystery ingredients. Stuff you can’t even pronounce.  And most dry cat foods contain plant-based protein rather than protein from meat which cat’s don’t digest as well.

Also, case studies have shown that dry cat food can cause those ugly crystals to form in your cat’s kidneys and bladder.

Not good if you own a breed of cat such as Manx cats that have an inherently high incidence of urinary tract problems.

 

Hey??!  Isn’t canned cat food more expensive than dry cat food?

You might be worried about the cost of canned food.  Dry food is cheaper.  But there is some pretty decent canned cat food that won’t break the bank.

Amazon offers great deals on canned cat food.  My pick is the Purina Friskies Pate in:

 

How much should I feed my cat

So you might be wondering, “how much wet food should I feed my cat?”  Just like dry cat food, you don’t want to overfeed your cat with canned food.  The amount of canned food that you should feed your cat should be based on total calories provided in a can of cat food and how many calories your cat should be eating.

I found this great Calorie Calculator (click here) to help you figure out how much you should be feeding your cat.  Please be sure to consult your cat’s veterinarian to make sure you’re feeding your cat enough calories.

If your cat is overweight use this tool to figure out how many calories your cat should consume to lose weight.   Then figure out how much of a can of wet food should be consumed based on the number of calories per can.

Click on the food tab and enter how many calories per can and the calculator will let you know how much you should be feeding your cat for him to lose weight.

 

To read more obesity in cats, check out my article, “How to Help Your Overweight Cat Lose Weight.

 

How often should you feed a cat

As a new cat owner, I would fill up the food bowl to the very top and let my cats eat and eat and eat.  This type of feed is called free feeding.  This method of feeding my cats caused them to become overweight.

The best way to feed your cat is called meal feedingMeal feeding is giving your cat a specified amount at a specified time every day.  So if your cat is supposed to consume a cup of cat food a day, you would split it into two feedings of a half-cup each.

What foods can cats not eat

Here is a list of five foods you shouldn’t feed your cat. Feeding your cat one of these foods can make him very sick and in some cases, lead to death.

  1. Milk or any dairy products – believe or not cats are lactose intolerant.
  2. Onions and garlic – contain thiosulphate which can cause anemia in your cat.
  3. Chocolate – is poisonous to cats and can kill.
  4. Raw meat – can contain bacteria (e. Coli) and parasites.  Cook the meat before feeding it to your cat.
  5. Tuna – occasional is okay, but too much can lead to mercury poisoning.

 

Cats with kidney disease

What can I feed my cat with kidney disease?  Cats with kidney disease can benefit from canned food because of its contents contain more moisture than dry cat food.  Keeping your cat hydrated is very important.  So, give him plenty of water!

Be sure to consult your cat’s vet for suggestions on what to feed your cat.  Chewy.com carries Hill’s Prescription Kidney Care for a great price.  Click here for more information.

 

Conclusion

As a new cat owner, finding the right food for your cat can be confusing.  Research has shown that canned cat food is a better option than dry cat food. Canned food is the best type of food for your cat because:

  • low in carbs
  • contains more water than dry cat food
  • healthier for cat’s urinary system
  • decrease the chance of diabetes and obesity

Free feeding your cat can lead to obesity.  The best method for feeding your cat is the meal feeding method.  The meal feeding method is giving your cat a specified amount of cat food at a specified time every day.

Keep your cat healthy by not feeding him human food such as dairy, onions, or raw meat.  Remember, chocolate is poisonous to cats.  Store all sources of chocolate in a safe place away from the curious cat.

And lastly, cats with kidney disease can benefit from canned cat food.  Consult your cat’s vet for suggestion on the best prescription diet for your cat.