Healthy Eating Tips for Your Cat

A cat eating a strict diet of protein-rich foods will live a long happy life. Unlike dogs that eat plants and meats, cats require a diet of protein. One of the key reasons is that cats cannot produce necessary amounts of vitamin A within their body. Cats require meat to maintain proper levels of this essential vitamin within their blood stream.

Cat diet food offerings must include high quantities of meat. Good cat food choices include a protein such as beef, poultry or fish at the top of the ingredient list. Meat by-products are a poor source of protein. By-products include unused portions of an animal such as beaks, feathers, intestines, heads and feet. While they do contain protein, it is inferior quality protein.

Cats Require Water

A cat eating dry food may not be getting enough water. If a cat does not drink enough during a day, the risk of UTI increases. Urinary tract infections quickly kill cats and are extremely expensive to treat.

A cat eating dried foods should have fresh water available throughout the day. Many cats prefer water that flows freely. This is why it is common to see cats trying to drink from a bathroom or kitchen sink. Drinkwell Water Fountains are inexpensive and cats love them.

If you can afford it, switch your pet to a diet of canned food. Canned cat food contains up to 80 percent of water and high protein counts. Cats still need water available, but with canned food, they already increase their water intake.

Supplementing a cat's dry food diet with a partial can of cat food also helps. A cat eating canned food tends to avoid common health problems like UTI, kidney disease and cat constipation.

Cats Need Essential Vitamins and Minerals

For optimal health, a cat's body demands certain nutrients. These include:

  • Arachidonic Acid-One of the essential fatty acids that helps with blood clotting and improves immune response.
  • Arginine-An amino acid responsible for eliminating wastes within the blood stream.
  • B Vitamins-Vitamins that provide energy and promote intestinal health.
  • Cysteine-An amino acid that aids in kidney function.
  • Taurine-An amino acid that promotes healthy function of the heart and eyes.
  • Vitamin A-Aids in eye, skin and reproductive health.
  • Vitamin E-An antioxidant that targets free radicals in cells helping to prevent some diseases, including Pansteatitis.
  • Vitamin K-Helps maintain proper bacteria levels within the large intestines preventing diarrhea and constipation.

A cat eating a diet high in protein receives proper levels of these nutrients. If a cat's diet includes these nutrients, common digestive health issues like cat vomiting, cat diarrhea and cat constipation will not occur.

Ingredients to Avoid with Cat Diet Food

A cat eating foods with fillers like corn or wheat gluten tend to suffer from cat vomiting more frequently. Their stomachs do not process these fillers well. Become accustomed to reading cat food ingredient labels. The top ingredient should be a protein source and water. If there are carbohydrates on the list, look for sweet potato or brown rice.

Watch ash and magnesium levels. Very high ash and magnesium levels increase a cat's risk for developing crystals in the urinary tract and kidney stones.