Feeding cats – when and how? Part 1

czym karmić kota

How to feed cats?

After I found my first cat, Mlaszczak, I went to the pet store and I tried to figure out what food I should buy for him and how to feed him. It was nothing but easy as the conversation I had with the shop assistant was more confusing than helpful and I didn’t learn anything from it. I just wanted to hear this food is the best, don’t bother with anything else. Unfortunately just like when choosing our own food nobody tells us exactly what we should buy as it all depends on our preferences, our pets’ likes and habits as well as advertisement and few other factors.

Apart from the ingredients our pets need to get, equally important are the ways they are digested and when and which ingredients are prohibited. In this post I will focus on the way our pets should be fed. This matter should be seriously considered from the very beginning, as it will set the tone for the entire relationship.

Wet or dry food?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions and there are few things we should consider while deciding for or against either one.

Dry food

is more balanced than wet food and here I mean foods of similar quality. Dry foods contain less water and definitely more ingredients necessary for proper functioning of our pets – more protein, vitamins and taurine. Dry food also helps with tartar removal reducing possible teeth problems. Unfortunately it is quite harsh on gums so if the cat eats only dry food it might lead to gum inflammation. If you feed your cats dry food you need to make sure they have constant access to water – cats need to drink a lot to prevent kidney and urinary tract problems.

Wet food

contains more water, which is beneficial during hot summer days as we control better how much water our pets consume. However, after eating wet food cats do not feel as full as when they eat dry food so they eat more of it and more often which means we need to spend more money to provide enough. Wet food is gentle on the gums but does not help with tartar removal, which can lead to dental issues.

Personally I am for mixing both foods considering cats’ preferences. My cats prefer dry food so this is their main meal and I give them wet food as a supplement and to ensure some variation in their diet. If your cats prefer wet food give them more of it just remember to choose good quality food, which will make your cats full and healthy and not just stuffed.

Should I measure food portions or just fill up the bowl?

If you took foundlings most likely you have no other choice but to measure their food as they were forced to fight for food and eat everything available not knowing when next meal will be so they will throw themselves at all the food you give them and eat it all at once.

Below you can see a short clip of how my cats behaved around meal times after I brought them home.

Since you started measuring food I would advise you to continue to prevent your cats from becoming fat furry balls. Just because your cats can eat a lot doesn’t mean they should. Here is Mlaszczak, my first cat and my learning experience.

Mlaszczak’s food bowl was always full and he ate as much as he wanted… Not a good idea!!

For my current cats – Miciula and Dixi – I measure food according to their weight and lifestyle and their weight is appropriate, no signs of obesity I hope, and no snacking.

Fat oxidation

When we fill up our pets’ bowls we need to remember that fat present in the dry food undergoes oxidation if the food sits too long without cover resulting in taste loss and waste of our money.

Pet food comes in all sorts of packaging – small, big, with and without cover. No matter what food you buy once you open it you should put it in an airtight container to prevent oxidation and taste loss. If you buy small portions put them in jars or in a big container if you buy large for example 7kg bags. Various containers are easily available and they don’t need to be fancy or have pets’ pictures all over, they just need to be tight to prevent oxidation.

How to feed small cats?

The most important thing to remember is that small cats that just stopped eating their mom’s milk cannot be fed dry food. Dry food will cause severe diarrhea and even death considering their bodies are still very week. Dry food should be introduced slowly and gradually due to its texture, which irritates still fragile digestive tracts. If your kittens start having loose stool stop giving them dry food, no matter what dry food it is. It is extremely important and it almost caused death of my cat, Miciula, as nobody warned me about this like I’m warning you now.

If you still feel you are missing information and this is always the case with such extensive subjects I will continue writing about feeding and food in my next post. There I will cover ingredients that should never be found in pet foods, discuss what the famous grain and meat meals, which are part of all the foods, are and analyze compositions of the most popular cat foods.

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