Even when it comes to feeding ouselves, we make plenty of mistakes! We eat too much, or too little, we eat things that are bad for us and we sometimes neglect our water intake. It’s a little wonder that we sometimes get things wrong with our pets as well. So, no need to feel guilty – as usual Animaltalk is here with great advice.
- Feeding too much
This seems obvious, but it’s still the most common mistake cat owners make. It happens quite easily – kitty finishes her meal and she really looks like she wants more, and it’s not easy to say no! Our cats are living leisurely lives and are not as active as they are supposed to be.
Obesity leads to serious health problems and can shorten your cat’s lifespan. So how much should you feed? Your veterinarian will be able to give you good advice based on your cat’s health status and activity levels.
- Not giving enough water
Cats are not naturally inclined to drink a lot of water. This is because, in the wild, her prey would provide her with much of her hydration needs. A mouse, for example, consists of about 70% water. Therefore cats who are fed kibble need much more water than cats on wet food. Make sure that there is as much water as possible available for your cat – especially in areas where she spends a lot of time. Fresh, clean water served in a clean bowl is always more enticing.
- Feeding milk
Your cat might look at you like you are her hero if you offer her a plate of milk. Most cats love it, but their bodies don’t. Cats are in fact lactose intolerant, which means that their bodies aren’t able to digest it.
- Forgetting freshness
If you are feeding kibble, remember to keep it in an airtight container, away from light. This will prevent the food from losing some of its nutrients. Do not use food after its expiration date.
- Feeding dog food
To us both dogs and cats are pets, but we need to keep in mind that they are very different animals with very different nutritional needs. There is no need to rush to the vet if your cat happens to sneak a few bits of the dog’s food, but in the long term this can cause serious nutritional deficiency.
- Going vegetarian
People are becoming more aware of where their food comes from and many opt to leave meat out of their diets due to inhumane practices in the meat industry. In some cases, people choose this lifestyle for their cats as well, which is very unfair, simply because we are a different species with different nutritional needs. Cats are obligate carnivores, which mean they will be healthiest living off mainly meat and animal organs.
Taurine, for example, is an essential amino acid that cats need, and this is only found in animal tissue. A lack of taurine can lead to heart problems blindness and can even be fatal.
- Bargain hunting
Yes, times are tough and cat food can be expensive. It is, however, in the best interest of both you and your cat to feed her the best food you can afford. In the long run, a good diet can prevent sky-high veterinary bills. A good tip is to read your pet food labels. Cats need meat and organs (protein) above anything else. This will enable you to choose a healthy food that you can still afford. Your vet will also be able to help with advice.
- Feeding everyone together
If you have more than one cat, rather feed them separately, allowing them to eat at their own pace without having to stress. This will also enable you to see immediately if one of your cats’ appetites is not as it should be.
- Free feeding
Resist the urge to keep you cat’s food bowl full at all times. It is convenient to simply fill up the bowl every time you walk past it, but this gives your cat the perfect opportunity to overeat. Planned mealtimes will ensure that your cat only gets as much as she needs. It will also make it much easier to see if your cat has gone off her food, which might be indicative of a health problem.
- Main meal: tinned tuna
Tuna is a firm favourite among many cats, but you aren’t doing her a favour feeding exclusively tinned tuna. Some cats will end up loving it so much that they refuse to eat anything else, which leads to bigger problems, as it doesn’t contain all the ingredients kitty needs to keep her healthy. It’s okay as an occasional treat, but don’t overdo it.