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Cat Food

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What to feed your Cat

Many cat owners take pleasure in sharing table scraps with their pets. In most  circumstances, cats can digest almost all human foods, so there is no direct  danger in feeding your cat “people food.” Proceed with caution, however; there  are a few foods that are toxic to felines, and even those that are digestible do  not necessarily meet all of a cat’s nutritional needs.


Most commercial cat foods, both dry and canned, are formulated to provide  your cat with the vitamins and minerals it needs, including taurine, an amino  acid in meat organs which is vital to your cat’s health. Since cats eat only  when they are hungry, loading up your kitty on table scraps will prevent her  from eating her specially-formulated food, and she could develop vitamin  deficiencies.


Like humans, cats can develop food allergies, so watch for possible adverse  reactions to the food you provide. Also, despite the cherished image of cats  lapping up bowls of milk, many felines are actually lactose  intolerant.


Many pet owners believe that cats should eat raw meat because it approximates  what the animals eat in the wild. But beware: cats can catch e. coli and  salmonella as easily as humans. For this reason, the raw meat diet is  controversial. Cooked meat is fine, and your cat will love  it.

Toxic Foods

Certain foods that are safely enjoyed by humans are absolutely poisonous, and  possibly fatal, to cats: chocolate, onions, garlic, grapes (including raisins),  caffeine, alcohol and xylitol (a sweetener commonly found in chewing gum). Also,  you can feed the following to your cat only if it is cooked, not raw: potatoes,  tomatoes, paprika, chili pepper, eggplant. These are all in the potato family,  and are dangerous to cats in their raw forms.

Other Foods

Cats need to eat mostly meat, though some fruit, vegetables and whole grains  are good for them too, for the extra fiber and nutrients. For the healthiest  diet, avoid feeding your cat foods containing corn, soy or artificial  colors.


Health Food for Cats

Whether commercial or home-cooked, the food you feed your cat must provide 41  essential nutrients and these may vary depending on age, breed or lifestyle. A  healthy cat food is one that provides the full range of nutritional  requirements.


Cats are carnivores. They have difficulty digesting vegetable protein, and  unlike dogs, will not thrive on a vegetarian diet. You need to include a good  source of animal protein in their diet such as chicken, lamb, turkey, fish or  egg. The building blocks of proteins are amino acids, some being essential in  the diet as a cat’s body cannot synthesize them in sufficient quantity.  Essential amino acids include arginine, phenylalanine, isoleucine, methionine,  histidine, tryptophan, threonine, leucine, lysine, valine and taurine. Of these,  taurine is only found in animal protein and is needed for prevention of eye and  heart disease, as well as reproduction.


Animal fat or seed oils provide a concentrated source of energy for a cat,  and are involved in cell function and structure. Fats in the diet not only  provide energy but also essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins. If your  cat’s diet is lacking essential fatty acids, this may lead to reduced growth or  skin problems. Fat also enhances the taste and texture of the food, making it  more palatable.


Carbohydrates contribute an additional source of energy, and most cat foods  contain cereals of one kind or another. However, just as a cat has problems  digesting vegetable protein, the same is true of some fibers found in  carbohydrates. For this reason it is usual to include the starchy portion of  cereals such as rice, corn and barley, which is more easily  digested.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals play their part in tens of thousands of chemical  reactions in the body, and deficiencies of any in the long-term will cause  health problems. A cat food which is sold as “complete” will usually contain all  the vitamins and minerals necessary for health and well-being and therefore  supplementation is not necessary, unless a vitamin deficiency is diagnosed by a  veterinarian.


Finding a healthy food for your cat is made easier by the wide range of  choices available. There are diets suitable for kittens through to seniors, as  well as indoor and outdoor cats. Some manufacturers even cater to specific  breeds. There are also home-cooked recipes available, although these should be  checked first by a veterinary nutritionist to ensure that they are well  balanced. Current pet food labeling regulations mean you can be reasonably  confident about the quality of ingredients used in pet  food.

Dangerous Foods for Cats

While you may know that chewing on houseplants is bad for cats, you may be  unsure whether feeding your cat a few table scraps is safe. If you are a cat  owner, it’s important to know which human foods are unhealthy or dangerous for  cats and how to protect your feline friend from consuming dangerous foods

Types of foods that are dangerous for cats include alcohol, chocolate,  chicken bones, grapes, raisins, green tomatoes, onions and  garlic.


The effects of dangerous foods can range from heart and nervous system damage  (chocolate), kidney damage (grapes and raisins), anemia (onions and garlic) and  choking or perforation of the digestive system (splinters from bones). Too much  alcohol or repeated exposure to dangerous foods can eventually lead to death in  cats.


Size is a factor when it comes to dangerous foods for pets. While a 50-lb.  dog might get sick from eating an entire chocolate bar, it probably would not  die; a 12-lb. cat could experience much more severe symptoms or even death from  eating less than half the same candy bar.


While it’s been common practice in the past to feed saucers of milk to cats  and kittens, dairy products are often not good for cats. Like some humans, many  cats are lactose intolerant, and large amounts of dairy in the diet can cause  diarrhea.


Items that don’t have obvious chunks of dangerous foods may still be toxic to  cats. For instance, chips or crackers that are flavored with onion powder or  garlic powder may make your cat sick.


If you believe your cat has eaten dangerous foods, contact your vet or the  local veterinary hospital right away. Make notes about what foods were eaten and  in what quantity to help assist your vet with risk  assessment.

Medical Food for Cats

Medical food, or a prescription diet, is a type of food available only through  prescription by a veterinarian. Cats must be examined by a vet and diagnosed  with a condition that requires it


There are prescription diets to benefit cats with various diseases and  conditions, including kidney disease, kidney failure, food allergies, bladder  issues, irritable bowel disease, various skin conditions and dental  issues.

Feeding Schedule

A prescription diet may require specific amounts to be fed to the cat  throughout the day. Amounts will vary based on the cat’s specific needs and can  be determined through a consultation with your vet.


Benefits will vary from cat to cat, based on the specific ailment and  prescribed diet. For example, a cat suffering from food allergies who is  prescribed a hypoallergenic diet may no longer suffer from itchy skin or other  allergy symptoms.


Not all cats require a prescription diet. Check the ingredients–some  prescribed diets contain poorer nutrition than non-prescription brands. And some  veterinarians push prescription diets onto cat owners because they receive a  commission for selling the food.


While a prescription diet may seem like a good idea, some owners may wish to  seek alternative options. Holistic foods are often higher quality  and can also  improve the health of a cat, without the high cost.

Cat Food

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