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November 28, 2022 |0 min read

The Do’s & Don'ts of Feeding Your Cat

Written by

Sharilyn Vera

Diet is important for your cat’s health and longevity. Read on to learn more about the do’s and don'ts of cat feeding.

‘Tis the season for holiday dinners! Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or another winter holiday dinner with a delicious landscape of foods, keep in mind that even though they are part of the family, your cat should not eat from the dinner table! As tempting as it may be to sneak a piece of human food or special treats to your cat, please remember that many foods can be poisonous to them.

Of course, sneaking them a sliver of turkey or chicken won’t kill them, but it could gradually lead to forming lousy feeding habits. Wondering what foods to avoid feeding your cat and other essential feline feeding tips? Our nutrition experts at Pretty Litter compiled a cat feeding guide of do’s and don'ts on what, how, and when to feed your furry friends.

As mentioned, even though a lot of human foods may seem innocuous to feed to your cat, many human foods are, in fact, dangerous to a cat’s health and longevity. They can range from being poisonous and fatal to causing major irritability and discomfort in their digestive system.

Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Cat

Dairy Products (milk, cream, cheese, etc.

Despite popular imagery of kittens and cats drinking bowls of cream or milk, too much of these dairy products can cause major digestive upsets, including diarrhea

Chocolate

Much like their canine counterparts, chocolate is poisonous for cats. It can cause 

seizures, kidney failure, and/or heart problems.

Coffee, tea & energy drinks

Each contains caffeine which can seriously give your cat major health scares like restlessness, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, rapid, distressed breathing, or trouble breathing.

Alcohol

This substance can cause severe brain and liver damage in cats. Avoid at all costs.

Raw meat, raw fish, or raw eggs

Due to their uncooked nature, these foods can serious digestive issues in cats such as vomiting, diarrhea, or an incredibly painful condition known as pancreatitis. Consuming raw food can also put your cat at risk of contracting Salmonella or E.Coli.

Onions, garlic, and chives

They contain a toxin known as N-propyl disulfide which causes vomiting, blood in urine, panting, elevated heart rate, red blood cells breaking down, and general weakness.

Dog Food

Feeding dog food to your cat not only plainly seems wrong, but it can also cause serious digestive issues in your feline friend’s stomach. Cat food is specifically designed to provide them with all the nutrients they need.

Bones

Avoid feeding your cats any bones from pork, chicken, or fish as they can break easily, splinter, and can become stuck in their throats or even puncture intestines and the walls of their stomach.

It’s equally as important to provide your cat with a safe and comfortable space to enjoy its food and promote a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Below are some more tips and tricks for providing delicious and nutritious food for your cat.


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Provide a Quiet Location

Cats like feeling safe, secure, and comfortable when they eat. It’s best to provide them with a nice, quiet spot in your home where they will feel comfortable eating their meals. Avoid placing the cat's bowl anywhere near their litter box. Cats are very sensitive to smell.

Make Protein a Priority

Protein is an essential component of a cat’s diet, especially protein that comes from meat. Judging by a cat’s sharp teeth, they are designed to primarily eat meat over plants. When searching for a brand of cat food with the right stuff for your cat, look for foods that are high in protein. A lot of lower-quality cat foods have fillers made from grains.

Corn, rice, and soy are common fillers found in cat foods, but meat should be among the first ingredients on the label. Canned food for cats is usually lower in added fillers and can be incredibly economical and accessible.

You can also supplement a high-protein diet with dried food for your cat and also provide them with hard foods that are easier to digest due to their high meat content. Keep in mind that too many carbohydrates can lead to feline diabetes and weight gain. You’ll also have to check when kittens can eat dry food.  If you already have an overweight cat, controlling portions and changing their diet is one of the best ways to help a cat lose weight.

So, how much dry food to feed a cat? As a generalization, for an average-sized 10-pound cat you will need to feed them 1/3 to 1/2 cup of dry cat food. For wet cat food, you would need four to five ounces (canned cat food). However, your vet can help you choose the right amount for your cat based on its weight, age, and other factors.

Clean Drinking Water

This may seem like a no-brainer, but always provide your cat with fresh, clean drinking water whenever they are enjoying a meal. In the same vein, it's very important to always provide clean and sanitary food and water bowls to prevent any wanted diseases.

The Right Amount & Temperature Matters

Cats enjoy eating small portions of food when hunger strikes. Avoid giving them too much food in one sitting and instead provide them with several small meals a day. When feeding them, never feed them cat food directly from the fridge. Cats prefer eating food at room temperature.

Switch It Up!

Much like us, cats have favorite flavors of foods and even brands of food. Through trial and error, they’ll make their favorites known to you.

No matter the time of year, whether it's the holiday season or the middle of summer, changing  your cat’s food to one with more nutritious ingredients is the best way to ensure they live a healthy, long life. Feeding habits will change over time, and older cats will need fewer calories as their metabolism slows down. Consult your veterinarian if you have any specific questions on nutrients, dietary needs, and feeding habits. PrettyPlease cat food is here to help you get your cat healthy and feeling its best.




Sources:

  1. https://pets.webmd.com/cats/guide/mistakes-people-make-feeding-cats
  2. https://www.metlifepetinsurance.com/blog/pet-health/feeding-your-felines-dietary-health-tips-cat-food-guidance/
  3. https://thepetfoodmarket.com/the-dos-and-donts-of-feeding-your-cat/
  4. https://www.petmedicalcenterverobeach.com/cat-nutrition-the-dos-and-don-ts#:~:text=Cats%2C%20however%2C%20are%20not%20omnivores,that%20falls%20on%20the%20floor.
  5. https://be.chewy.com/23-foods-your-pet-should-never-eat/?gclid=Cj0KCQiA4OybBhCzARIsAIcfn9k9o1aqdA-OcNR0Rna2ssOH6UPu3ReBrAi7TMQQ97QiO3PBSPNDtUMaAhlQEALw_wcB
  6. https://www.dailypaws.com/cats-kittens/cat-nutrition/what-can-cats-eat/foods-toxic-to-cats


Written by

Sharilyn Vera

Sharilyn is a proud cat owner, long time storyteller and researcher. Her work spans beloved podcasts, television shows, media outlets, and independent documentaries. She likes to strike a balance between education and comedy, which you can hopefully tell when you read her articles!