“But you don’t even eat salad,” I say for the umpteenth time when my cat jumps onto the dinner table. Just kidding, I’m not eating salad. Just pizza. Both of which, could technically be edible for my cat, depending on the ingredients. But should I be feeding my favourite feline my own food? In fact, what could or should I actually be feeding my cat?”
Should You Feed Your Cat Human Food?
Is your cat a busybody and has a strong case of FOMO? Then yes. Because it probably won’t stop bugging you until you give it what you’re having. Not all the time though, because there are some human dishes that cats can take, and some that they can not.
First of all, meat. We all know that cats are obligate carnivores (i.e. that cannot live on a plant-based diet), so if you were having a fancy dinner and your cat comes meowing by, it’s fine to give it a bit of that cooked beef, chicken or turkey. Raw meat however, may give them an upset stomach.
Which brings us to fish. You know all those delicious sushi and sashimi that your cat seems to be able to smell from a mile away? Yeah, cover them back up because cats do not take well to raw fish either. Cooked fish would be much better for your cats and if you’re curious to the rationale, the Munkevics explain it well here.
Like meat and fish, cooked eggs are another decent source of protein for your cat. And cheese too! In small amounts though, because many cats grow to become lactose intolerant, and dairy like this should only be given as an occasional treat. More info here by this Animal Planet writer.
And remember earlier, about the salad? Well, when it comes to vegetables, you can always get that rich source of vitamins, loaded with fiber to help your cats with digestion, so sure. If you want to feed your cat fresh cucumber, steamed broccoli, asparagus or celery – go for it. Big no-no to onions, garlic and chives however. Other harmful foods can be found here.
As for pizza? There are poisonous ingredients to cats that could be in your pizza, so you may have to pick out the exact parts you want to give. Be it the tuna piece or the bread, give it to your cat only in moderation, if at all. These two should not take up a significant part of your cat’s diet because they do not have all the nutrients that your cat needs. Oh and if, for whatever reason, you’re thinking of raw pizza dough for your cat? The answer is: never.
Should You Feed Your Cat Canned or Dry Food?
There is no universal answer to this because both canned and dry foods are nutritionally complete.
Dry food is the more favourable choice of the two because it’s economical. It’s also incredibly convenient because you can leave it out and it doesn’t spoil that easy. But just like the name – the food is dry and boring.
Canned food on the other hand, tends to have more fat and protein, and a much larger moisture content. This higher water content can help cats with kidney problems because it keeps them better hydrated. If your concern is taste, then rest assured this would usually please the finicky cats. But if your concern is cost, then it’s unlikely to please your wallet.
Vets often propose a healthy balance of both so perhaps you could provide dry food on certain days and canned food on others.
Now what’s more important than whether the food is wet or dry, is whether the food actually contains the nutrients that your cat needs.
Protein is the most significant consideration in a cat’s diet, so look for high quality protein sources like “chicken,” “turkey,” “lamb,” or “salmon.” In fact, commercial cat foods with these ingredients would be better than exclusively feeding the meat to your cats. This is due to the taurine content, which is an essential amino acid that’s critical for normal vision, digestion, heart muscle function and for maintaining a healthy immune system.
Or even simpler, check the guaranteed analysis on the cat food label to ensure that the food contains the right percentages of crude protein, fat, fiber and moisture. Find out the various ways to select cat food here.
Should You Feed Your Cat Anything Else?
Water. Especially if you feed your cats more dry food than wet. Always remember to provide fresh water, even if your cats have a low thirst drive. Sufficient water would help prevent urinary tract problems, diabetes or a kidney disease.
Sounds almost like us humans, huh.
Hold that thought. While you’re thinking of ways to rehydrate your cats, take milk out of the picture, because drinking milk might result in diarrhoea. Yes, milk is better for rehydration when it comes to humans, but this is not the case for cats. Clean water is all your cat really needs to drink. Sure, some cats can’t be bothered to drink a balanced amount, so here are some tips to make sure they drink more.
How Often Should You Feed Your Cat?
There are several views on this, but here are two main methods people use to control how often their cats eat.
With the Free Feeding method, you fill a bowl and leave it for your cat to decide when it’s time to eat. Dry foods give you this luxury because they don’t spoil easy. This means you wouldn’t have to worry about your cat starving throughout the day when you’re out at work. However, this also means your cat might eat more than it needs to, and grow overweight.
With the Scheduled, Portion Controlled method, you would need to be available to feed your cat on time, or have someone else do it. It is the healthier method since it limits the amount of food your cat is having, and keeps them on a regular schedule to help with digestion. If you plan to put your cats on this schedule, then here is a link for you to plan the amount of food based on your cat’s age.
Hey now, look at you, all expert-ish on cat food.
Since you’ve read this piece all the way to the end, I’m guessing you’re a true cat-lover, and you’re often sending your cat(s) to the veterinary clinic for check-ups or treatments. Here on PolicyStreet, we’re happy to inform you that you can get a pet insurance for your beloved felines at an affordable premium to support those costly cat-needs.