Making Kitty’s Mealtime Meowrvelous!

One of the great pleasures of being a cat owner is watching your beautiful cat delicately consuming his or her food. But unless you are familiar with the territory, feeding your cat can prove to be quite challenging.

Cat Eating from Bowl

Cats tend to be more temperamental and have more precise nutritional needs than dogs, who tend to be more ‘excited’ about their food. As a general rule, cats are much more particular about what they will eat.

Feeding your cat can be easier if you follow these tips:

Provide Consistent Meal Times and Quantities

Many cat owners make the mistake of leaving a dish of food out all of the time and expecting their cats to eat whenever they feel like it. This is a common mistake.
Feeding your cat should be at a set time of day, and it’s best to measure the portion daily so that it’s always the same.

Offer Both Wet or Dry Food

Cats require a balanced diet that should include both dry and wet food. In the pet store, you will find cat foods that comes in a variety of types and flavors.  You’ll need to experiment to figure out which ones your cat likes.

Cats, like us, do have preferences when it comes to eating. Some cats enjoy wet meals, while others prefer dry kibble. And they have definite preferences when it comes to flavor and texture. It all depends on the individual cat. In any case you’ll want to test a variety of foods to find what your cat likes, and then provide as much variety as possible in their diet.

Give them dry foods that are free of grains on certain days of the week. On other days, you can offer wet food that has been prepared with meat, fish, or poultry as an ingredient. You’ll have plenty of options here… and so will your cat. As a result, you’ll be able to treat your cat to a variety of food.

It’s important to remember that it’s preferable to feed your cat a few small meals rather than one large meal. You don’t want to overstuff your cat at one feeding.

Make Mealtimes More Engaging

Cats in the wild are accustomed to playing with their prey before killing it and consuming it.  While this may appear to be cruel from a human perspective, it actually serves to stimulate the cat’s thinking and keep them mentally flexible.

In the event that you cannot have your cat engage in playful behavior prior to making an immediate meal of the rat, you can get a “slow feeder cat bowl,” which contains grooves and niches for your cat to study while eating these “food puzzles.”

Such bowls, usually called puzzle bowls or slow feeders, are inexpensive and readily available for purchase on Amazon.com. I really like this one called the Lickimat for wet foods, because…

Cats’ sensitive whiskers can get irritated as they rub against the sides of a deep dish. In the past, we overlooked cats pawing food out of their dish to eat it off the floor as a cat just being a cat. We now know that it can their instinct to play with their food before eating it, or to help them avoid irritating their whiskers. The Lickimat comes though on both counts.

Drinking  Milk

Cats are frequently shown as having a fondness for milk in children’s books and television shows. This is one of those facts that isn’t completely accurate.

Many cats do not react well to milk. As many as 50% or even more are lactose intolerant. If your cat is lactose intolerant, this might result in stomach problems, including diarrhea, bloating and gas, for your cat. As a result, it’s recommended not to give your cat milk… unless it’s a kitten nursing from its mother.

Cat Lapping Milk

Drinking Water

Since cats don’t drink much water, it is important to provide them with wet food. They get some water from wet food. However, you should never rely on your cat eating wet food as its only source of water. Clean, fresh water should always be provided, even if they drink very little of it.

Many cats like to drink running water, usually attributed to their ancestors drinking from streams in the wild. A surprising number of cats will  drink water from a running faucet in the sink, including mine, as shown below.

Cat Drinking From Faucet

The Feeding Location

Ideally, you should designate a distinct location in your home where you will keep your cat’s eating bowl and water container. A high volume of human traffic should be avoided in this location.  If there is too much noise or activity around your cat when it is attempting to eat, it may become panicked or overwhelmed.

If you have more than one cat, you will most likely need to feed them separately. Cats are typically very territorial creatures, so it is important that their feeding areas are far enough apart so that each cat feels safe while eating.

Children Feeding the Cat

If there are children in your household who want to feed your cats , make sure that they know not to be rough with the cats. Cats are very sensitive creatures and they may become frightened or scared if children handle them roughly. It is important that your cat feels safe while it eats.

Cleaning the Bowls

You should always clean out the bowl that you feed your cat in everyday. This bowl should be washed with warm water and dish soap at least once a day. If you do not clean it every single day, then harmful bacteria may build up over time and can make your cat sick when it eats from this bowl one day.

Avoid Bulk Purchases

When purchasing cat food, it is recommended that you start with smaller bags to allow you to have a feel for the food before purchasing larger bags. Cats can be notoriously picky, and if your cat doesn’t enjoy the food, there’s no point in purchasing a large quantity.

Having said that, when you find a food that your cat does enjoy, figure out how much it needs on a daily basis. Then multiply that figure by 30 and go out and buy a bag of food that comes close to matching this amount.

Just don’t buy too much food at once. Purchasing large quantities of food just for the purpose of cost savings may prove to be a mistake if the food becomes spoiled or contaminated as a result of being stored for an extended period of time.

Two Cats Eating

Fiber

Cats require some plant fiber in their meals to aid in the regurgitation of indigestible hairballs and other waste products. If you incorporate herbs into their meals, you will aid in the facilitation of this procedure.   Not all herbs are safe for cats, and many are down-right toxic. We will name only three cat-safe herbs, although there may be more. They are basil, sage, and thyme.

Modifying Your Cat’s Diet

Cats have sensitive digestive systems, so it is important that you do not change their cat food suddenly. Instead, you should gradually transition them to a new type of cat food over a period of five or six days. Start by mixing a small amount of the new food in with the old food, and gradually increasing the amount of new food. If you do not mix the new food in gradually, your cat’s digestive system may become upset and cause health problems for your pet.  It’s best to consult with a veterinarian before making any significant dietary adjustments.

The food you feed your cat, as well as the portions you give it, have a direct impact on its health and wellbeing. If you follow the advice in this article, it will help to keep your cat happy, well-fed, and in excellent health.

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