The second most popular pet kept in our homes today (after dogs), cats are relatively easy to care for, and with regular veterinary check-ups, a safe and secure home, and good quality cat food, they can live well beyond the average 12 – 15 years.
After choosing the right cat for your home, the next step is choosing the right cat food. As predators, many cats still enjoy hunting, especially if you live in the countryside where mice and other small creatures are present; however, we do need to sustain their diets with a high quality, nutritional cat food.
What is the right cat food?
With so many different cat foods available, how do we choose the right food for our particular cat? If you are rescuing a cat from an animal shelter, or buying one from a breeder, ask what cat food they have been eating to date and if they are enjoying it. If your cat is happy with one particular brand, and they are getting plenty of healthy, natural and nutritious ingredients, then it may be wise to stick with it.
If you are taking a young kitten into your home, it is always wise to ask your vet for advice, and they will recommend a cat food to suit the specific requirements of your particular cat.
How much and How often should I feed my cat?
The amount of cat food you give your cat depends on many factors, such as age, weight and activity levels. Kittens have tiny stomachs, so they generally need to eat little, and often, to keep up their energy levels up and grow into strong adults. Your vet will be able to give you a feeding program.
For convenience, many cat owners choose to feed their adult cats with dry cat food. This can be left out before you go to work and your cat can eat as and when it wants to. Bags of dry cat food generally come with feeding guides, calculated by the weight of your cat, so you can monitor the amount your cat is eating.
If you prefer to feed a combination of wet and dry food, then most vets suggest you feed your adult cat twice per day.
Senior cats (7 years plus) can be prone to weight gain, and may suffer from digestive ailments, so a cat food specifically designed to suit aging cats may be beneficial.
Are some cat food brands better than others?
As with all food brands, some use higher quality ingredients than others. Try to look for cat foods with natural ingredients, and avoid those with added colours, flavours and preservatives wherever possible. If you are not sure which cat food is right for your particular cat, just ask your vet.