Wet or dry food? Straight from the supermarket shelves, or special-order? How about treats? Do my cats need milk? When it comes to cat food there are lots of options, and choosing the correct ones can go a long way toward ensuring a long, happy, healthy life for your feline friends.Good Choices
Most experts agree that a mix of canned and dry foods is healthiest for the majority of cats. Canned foods are moist and contain a lot of water (water is necessary for cats, who don’t generally seem to have a huge thirst drive). However, a diet of canned food alone can lead to tartar build-up on the teeth.
Dry cat food can help with this – crunching the dry food removes some of the tartar. A combination of both canned and dry foods not only supplies a wider range of essential nutrients, it also provides the cat with variety.
Major-brand commercial cat foods are formulated with either natural ingredients like meat byproducts or are supplemented with the required nutrients to make them balanced diets for cats.
Premium cat foods are generally a bit more expensive than “grocery store” brands, but may be better for your feline friends. Premium foods tend to be low-bulk, which means the cat digests more of the food and eliminates less. They also contain fewer dyes and chemical enhancements.
…And not-so-good choices
People food: it can be hard to resist that adorable begging, but generally speaking it’s not a good idea to make “people food” a major component in your cat’s diet. Most ordinary human table food falls far short of meeting a cat’s nutritional needs and in some cases could even prove harmful or at least uncomfortable to the cat in the long run. In addition, even small amounts of human food can easily add far too many calories to the cat’s diet and lead to obesity, with all its attendant problems.
Milk: A cat enjoying a bowl of milk is a classic picture, but unfortunately it’s not always a good one. Many adult cats are lactose intolerant and will develop diarrhoea from drinking milk. If you cat really enjoys milk but has the diarrhoea side effect, try replacing the milk with a smaller amount of cream. The butterfat in cream is actually good for cats and most cats not only thoroughly enjoy it, but tolerate it very well.
Dog food: It’s not a good idea to feed cats dog food, since it’s not formulated to meet their nutritional needs.