Much like humans, there is an obesity epidemic in the feline world! Luckily there is a huge variety of cat foods out there to help you find a healthy cat diet for your fur-baby. Although a fat kitty may look adorable, feline obesity is associated with cat health issues including diabetes, arthritis, and urinary tract disease.
Many people hear the word “diet” and immediately think it means starving your cat. That isn’t the case at all! It just means feeding more nutritious cat foods, that keeps them full longer. My three cats were all gaining weight so we switched to an expensive, premium brand “grain free” dry food that was supposed to be a “healthy weight” formula. After they gained even more weight we decided to talk to the vet. It turned out that the dry food we had been feeding, while very low in calories was very high in carbohydrates! At that time our cats would beg for hours for more food in between meals because the carbohydrates were not keeping them full.
The vet explained that as a general rule, wet food has less carbohydrates and less fillers than dry foods. Plus since most cats don’t drink enough water, wet food is better because it has a high moisture content. When you see stray cat eating a mouse or a bird – that prey has moisture in it. Cats in the wild don’t eat dry foods. For our purposes the vet told us we didn’t have to start buying a premium brand of wet food, that anything at the pet stores would be ok, as long as it wasn’t a store brand / generic. We slowly got our kibble addicts switched over to wet food and over the course of a year Harley lost almost 3 pounds! Oliver and Jewel lost around a pound each but were much lighter than Harley to begin with.
It is important to talk to your vet about a healthy cat diet because different cats will have different nutritional needs and requirements based on their health history. If the vet suggests you try a different cat food diet, make sure you do it slowly. Most vets suggest you do a ratio of 25% new food to your pet’s 75% old food. Then slowly start adding in more new food, and less old food until you are at 100% new food. A slow transition allows your cat time to adjust to a new food and also decreases the chances of digestive upset.
Whether your cat has special needs or not, there are a few things you will want to look for on the label of cat foods:
- Note that just because a brand promotes itself as being “Grain-free” does not mean that it is “low-carbohydrate”. Often companies will sneak in potatoes, peas or other ingredients which are which are technically not grains, yet are carbohydrates. You are going to have to read the ingredient list to check for these. This was my biggest mistake in buying that premium brand I mentioned before.
- A meat/ poultry / fish protein source should be the first ingredient listed - Cats are true carnivores.
- You will also want to keep a close eye on the guaranteed analysis section of the label. It states the minimum or maximum amount of certain nutrients, including protein, fat, and fiber. The nutrients are almost more important than the ingredient list because it gives you a more over all picture.
Does your kitty have any health issues or are you already have them on a healthy cat diet?
This post has been brought to you by Whiskas but all opinions are my own.