Food for a healthy cat: What your kitty should (and shouldn't) eat

5 min read

Pablo Medina Bener

Veterinarian

Our cats are seriously smart. They instinctively know how to wake us up in the morning, how to disrupt us when we're working at our desks and how to give us that look that's both cute and fearsome at the same time. But one thing they can't do is work out the foods that can damage their health. So, as owners, we need to take charge on their behalf.

Proper nutrition is vital for an active, healthy cat, but on the flipside there are certain foods that can be toxic to their digestive systems and cause internal damage. In this post, we're going to look at both sides, outlining the foods you should and shouldn't feed your kitty.

Eating to good health: Essential cat food ingredients

A healthy cat food product will be based on high-quality protein, supported by smaller amounts of fats and carbohydrates. This core trio will be backed up with plenty of vitamins and minerals.

There are loads of meat and fish varieties that will deliver the protein your cat needs, and the good news is that kitty will probably love most of them! Typical options include chicken, turkey, eggs, lamb and salmon, so you've got plenty of choice.

In addition to providing protein, many of the aforementioned foodstuffs (notably salmon and other fish products) are rich in healthy fats like Omega-3. Food manufacturers may also include extra products to give cats the fat they need, including beef or chicken fat, fish oil or soybean oil.

If you want to put some carbs in your cat's diet, look for ingredients based on starch, like grains, corn and potatoes: your cat can break down these starches and use them as an energy source

Ok, now for the foods your cat can't eat

As you've seen, there's a whole range of stuff we can feed our kitties to give them a healthy, balanced diet.

However, there are some foods to avoid - even though many of them are healthy for us humanfolk. Cats' digestive systems are fundamentally different to ours and some of our dietary staples can do them serious damage.

First of all, it's good practice to ensure that all meat and eggs are cooked properly before we serve them to our cats. Although these foods can be eaten uncooked, it increases the risk of food poisoning and be particularly dangerous for those kitties with existing immunological diseases. Some cat food brands include raw meat, so it's worth checking before you buy.

If you're preparing your cat's meals yourself, there are five key 'danger foods' to look out for:

Onion or garlic.

Although both these bulbs are usually fine in small doses, they can upset your cat's digestive system and can even cause anemia in extreme cases.

Grapes and raisins.

If you ever think of giving your cat one of these little delicacies, think again. Both grapes and raisins can both sadly cause kidney failure.

Tuna.

This one will probably surprise you, given that other fishy products are recommended. However tuna doesn't contain all the nutrients your cat needs, and it may cause painful inflammation if your cat eats too much of it.

Milk and some dairy products. Ok, this is the most surprising one of the lot, right? Cats love milk, everyone knows that surely?! Well in fact most adult cats are actually lactose-intolerant. So if you want to give your cat a drink to wash down their food, make sure it's water.

In addition to this basic list, there are certain foods which offer little or no nutritional value for our cats, and thus represent nothing more than empty calories.

The main example is bread, which is perhaps the core component of the human diet but provides nothing but stodge for our feline friends.

And finally... don't forget the cat treats!

When we're buying treats for our cats, it's easy to get sloppy and over-indulgent. We all want to spoil our fabulous furkids, and many owners fall into the trap of buying treats that are bad for them.

However, if we want a happy, healthy cat, we need to make sure that their treats follow the same basic nutritional rules as their regular meals. In other words, the treats should be anchored by high-quality protein with lean amounts of fat and carbohydrates.

If you want some inspiration, check out Vitakraft's Meaty Morsels Chicken Recipe with Pumpkin. These little bites are packed with meaty goodness and they include taurine to support healthy eyes and heart.

References

1. https://www.thesprucepets.com/good- food-ingredients-554371
2. https://familypet.com/what-are-sources- of-healthy-fats-for-cats/
3. https://www.petmd.com/cat/nutrition/ cat-nutrition-what-makes-nutritional-cat- food#:?text=Sources%20of%20Fat,or%20s oybean%20oil%2C%20for%20example.
4. https://www.pfma.org.uk/carbohydrates- in-pet-food
5. https://www.thesprucepets.com/raw- food-diet-for- cats-552329#: -text=Most%20cats%20will %20tolerate%20raw,your%20home%20to% 20dangerous%20pathogens.
6. https://www.petinsurance.com/ healthzone/pet-health/pet-toxins/garlic- toxicity-and-pets/ #:-:text=Garlic%2C%20like%20other%20m embers%20of, damage%20to%20red%20blo od%20cells.
7. https://www.petmd.com/cat/emergency/ poisoning-toxicity/ e_ct_human_food_poisoning 8. https://pets.webmd.com/cats/ss/ slideshow-foods-your-cat-should-never- eat#:-:text=Cats%20can%20be%20addicte d%20to, tuna%20can%20cause%20mercury %20poisoning
9. https://blog.petmeds.com/1800petmeds/ is-tuna-bad-for-cats/comment-page-3/
10. https://pets.webmd.com/cats/ss/ slideshow-foods-your-cat-should-never- eat#: -:text=Cats%20can%20be%20addicte d%20to,tuna%20can%20cause%20mercury %20poisoning
11. https://www.rover.com/blog/can-cats- eat-tomatoes/ #:-:text=The%20short%20answer%20is%2 C%20%E2%80%9CNot,slower%20heart%20 rate%20and%20more.

Creamy Lickable Treat in a Squeezable Tube

Squeeze this creamy, low-calorie treat right from the tube onto your cat’s tongue and watch your cat lick 'n' lap it all up!

Super Soft Bite-Sized Meaty Treats

Cats love the size, texture and high meat content of these soft and tasty, double-meaty treats!

Gently Oven-Roasted Cat Sticks

High meat content (>70%), small batch production and premium ingredients combine to make these truly irresistible.

Thick and Creamy Topper or Side Dish

Tender chicken fillet pieces in a thick and creamy stew! Great for older cats!

Creamy Lickable Treat in a Squeezable Tube

Squeeze this creamy, low-calorie treat right from the tube onto your cat’s tongue and watch your cat lick 'n' lap it all up!

Super Soft Bite-Sized Meaty Treats

Cats love the size, texture and high meat content of these soft and tasty, double-meaty treats!

Gently Oven-Roasted Cat Sticks

High meat content (>70%), small batch production and premium ingredients combine to make these truly irresistible.

Thick and Creamy Topper or Side Dish

Tender chicken fillet pieces in a thick and creamy stew! Great for older cats!

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