I am really excited to welcome Jordan Walker back for another Guest Post. If you missed Jordan’s first guest post, please click here to read Common Carcinogens Found in Low-Quality Kibble.
Jordan Walker is the lead content curator for Coops and Cages and other pet-related blog sites. His passion for animals is reflected in his published articles. In this post, he gives pieces of advice on how to avert from committing the feeding errors that most cat owners are guilty of doing.
Aside from the sweetness and cuddliness of a cat, its being an “easy” animal is what makes it one of the most common pets. Take for instance the fact that when you’re feeding your feline friend, everything comes so smoothly. You basically just give them their favorite food, and that’s about it. But if you’re one who’s still thriving to be a responsible cat owner, there are certain feeding mistakes you need to avoid to ensure that your furry companion lives a healthy, happy, and long life.
Who doesn’t find a fat cat very adorable and cute? Yes, we all get that awww moment when we see our cat being so fat and looking like a walking ball of fur. However, this is not healthy at all. In fact, an obese cat may not only have trouble cleaning itself but will also be prone to other problems like skin disorders and diabetes.
Generally, a cat only needs about 250–300 calories per day to maintain a healthy weight. Two separate meals a day is better than letting them eat a whole full bowl of food. It would be best to ask your veterinarian for some help to come up with a proper feeding plan, which is usually based on its weight and current state of health.
Cats are obligate carnivores. Meaning, they need to eat meat to gain the essential nutrients—vitamin A and B12, arachidonic acid, and taurine—to survive and stay healthy–. Additionally, your furry friend’s body is not capable of digesting plant materials well. When their diet lacks the proper amount of meat, they become nutritionally deficient, which may lead to death, something that is certainly difficult to cope with.
As long as you’re giving your cat a healthy and balanced diet, there is no need for supplementation. Unless advised by your vet, do not give animal supplements because you might go beyond the recommended dosage, which can lead to toxicity. Also, when you are making a homemade cat food, make sure to consult your vet to guarantee that the right amount of nutrients is present in the food.
Feeding with Dog Food
Cats eating dog food is a pretty common scenario in a household with multiple pets. Sometimes, when owners run out of cat food, they resort to giving their feline friends a bowl of dog food instead. While there is nothing wrong with this if done once in a blue moon, it is a completely different story if it becomes a regular practice. Dog food is made for dogs, and so, it doesn’t contain adequate amount of protein that is required for cats. Moreover, taurine, which is essential for cats, is not found in dog foods. Keeping your cat on a dog food diet will lead to nutritional deficiency and serious health complications.
Consuming raw fish can expose your cat to bacteria (salmonella and listeria) and parasites. Additionally, this type of food contains thiaminase, an enzyme that destroys thiamine (vitamin B1). Consequentially, lack of thiamine may lead to depression, anorexia, and certain neurological symptoms such as seizures, which can lead to death. Additionally, even though the enzyme is destroyed when cooked, a steady fish diet will not provide the essential vitamins and minerals that cats need.
Speaking of fish, tuna, on the other hand, is a good treat for your feline companion, but it is not advisable to put your cat on a regular tuna diet because it can cause malnutrition. This is also low in vitamin E, and deficiency in this vitamin may lead to steatitis, also known as yellow fat disease. Also, if your cat gets hooked on tuna, it may refuse to eat other food.
Too Little Water
Naturally, cats have very low thirst drive. Their water intake is mostly through the food they eat, especially when they are on a moist diet. However, if your cat is usually on a dry food diet, then he is more at risk of underhydration. Underhydration has serious repercussions that may lead to illness or death. Water is as essential to cats as it is to humans. This accounts for about 70 percent of a cat’s body, so always make sure that your pet is given an ample amount of fresh and clean water.
Additionally, do not replace water with milk. Once weaned, most cats become lactose intolerant. Although some cats have no problem with an occasional milk treat, a regular offering of milk may lead to diarrhea and dehydration.
Ignoring Veterinary Checks
Although most of us do take care of our cats very dearly, sometimes, we miss out on some signs of a problem like food allergies. If your cat always looks uncomfortable and is constantly scratching itself, then you should take him to the vet. Also, regular veterinary visits will help you as the owner make sure that problems are avoided or are addressed properly as soon as possible. If you do not have a veterinarian now, make sure to hire one now and choose wisely.
These are some of the feeding mistakes that every cat owner should avoid. If you think it is quite difficult to adhere to all these recommendations, it is understandable. But avoiding these mistakes and being a responsible pet owner will surely give your furry friend a healthier, happier, and longer life.
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Author: Jordan Walker
Jordan is the lead content curator for Coops and Cages as well as a couple of other pet-related blogs. His passion for animals is only matched by his love for “attempting” to play the guitar. If you would like to catch more of him, you can by visiting his Twitter account, @JordanWalker82.
Thank you Jordan for your insightful article.
Cat parents, have you run into these challenges with your cats?