Medical Advice for your Cats

Feeding Your Cat

Many pet owners have numerous questions as to what the best diet is for their beloved pet cat. These are the most common misconceptions.

Myth: A dry diet is best for my cat.
Truth: Cats are obligate carnivores and require a diet of at least 55% protein, 45% fat and 1-2% of carbohydrates. There is overwhelming research that shows that canned commercial cat diets are higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates and thus is the best diet for cats. Dry biscuits have a much higher carbohydrate content than the cat’s gastrointestinal tract can digest and absorb. Feeding a dry diet is commonly associated with common illness such as urinary tract disease and chronic gastrointestinal disease. Canned food also contains at least 70-80% water compared to dry food that contains 10-20% water. Thus feeding a canned food diet can help to meet a cat’s hydration needs as most cats simply do not drink enough water on their own.

Myth: A home cooked diet or raw diet is best for my cat.
Truth: Unless the homecooked diet or raw diet has been formulated by a veterinary nutritionist, it is very likely that these diets may not be balanced and could be lacking the right proportion of essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals. In growing kittens, a homecooked diet is not recommended as it can lead to bone growth malformations. Raw meat can also contain bacteria and parasites that can make not only your cat sick, but you as well (e.g., Salmonella). Unless the raw diet has been commercially manufactured, it is best to avoid preparing these yourself in your home kitchen.

Myth: Free feeding is encouraged as cats are grazers.
Truth: Cats are indeed grazers and eat many small meals throughout the day. Free feeding is defined as feeding unlimited amounts by constantly topping up the food bowl. Free feeding is discouraged as it can result in overfeeding and obesity. A fixed amount of food should be fed over a 24hr period based on the cat’s desired weight and not his current weight. Instead meal feeding is encouraged where small meals are feed throughout the day to keep to the cat’s natural schedule.

Myth: Wet food is bad for my cat’s teeth while dry biscuits help to keep my cat’s teeth clean.
Truth: Dry kibble does not significantly reduce the risk of dental tartar and dental disease. The only real way to prevent dental tartar is to brush your cat’s teeth every single day. If you are still concerned, offer crunchy dental treats as an alternative.

Myth: My cat hates canned food and will never touch it!
Truth: Cats that have been used to eating biscuits while put up a fight initially. However, there are strategies to overcome this. The process of change has to be gradual. It can take between months and years to achieve this but one must be patient. Free feeding of biscuits has to stop and meal feeding has to take over. Out of one of the meals, the cat should be given canned food. If he still refuses, many other strategies can be found here: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4952909

Bottom Line: Feed Canned High Protein, Low Carbohydrate Diets

 

Contributor:
Dr Liang Xutian
BVSc (Hons), Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist

Straining to urine?

Do you feel sometimes your cat is straining to urine? Could it be a blocked bladder in your cat? Dr Nair of Oasis Vet @oasisvetclinic share with us some signs that we can look out for.

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