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Pet Care » Your Cat's Nutrition

Feeding Your Cat

What, When, Where, and We all Know Why

What should I feed my cat?

You'd think the easy answer of "food" would be sufficient, as well as obvious. But animal nutrition, whether for cats and dogs or pigs and chickens, can be an overwhelming subject. With almost daily advances being made and just as many controversies arising over such developments, you really need to give a considerable amount of attention to the pet food choices that you make for your cat. Your choices will ultimately directly affect your cat's overall health, quality of life, and lifespan.

Realize that your food choices can change over the lifetime of your cat, as kittens have different nutritional requirements than senior cats. A cat's health status might also dictate certain food requirements; this would definitely be the case for a diabetic cat or one undergoing medical treatments that are "draining" the cat's system.

The key elements that should be associated with any of the potential choices that you make for feeding your cat include giving moderate quantities of the highest quality food that you can afford in a nutritionally balanced diet. As one would expect, all feeding choices should be accompanied by unlimited access to fresh water. Re-circulating pet fountains are a great new way to entice your cat to drink plenty of water.

When should I feed my cat?

Many people describe cats as "grazers" that simply grab a bite of food numerous times throughout the day. For such cats, leaving a bowl of food available at all times is important; just make sure that they can access it but that your constantly-hungry dog can't.

Other people own a cat that always seems to be sitting near its food bowl awaiting the next refill. Don't be pressured by the pitiful cries or loving leg rubs of such a cat to fill the bowl every time they empty it. Know the daily amount of food that each cat should eat, pre-measure that quantity, and refuse to refill the bowl once that amount has been consumed.

Regardless of your cat's eating time patterns, consistency on your part is important, if for no other reason than to minimize the stress associated with wondering when the next meal is going to be presented. If your schedule doesn't allow for such consistency, consider investing in a food dish that dispenses or allows access to pre-measured food portions at pre-set times or a continuous "gravity" feeder.

If you have multiple cats and leave food dishes down only during specific time-periods, try to coordinate the feeding of all cats to occur at the same time. Make sure that each cat is eating his or her fair share.

Where should I feed my cat?

Again, consistency is important. Pick a location that's both quiet and open to your cat's surroundings. This allows the cat to easily see and hear the goings-on around them and to eat without fear of someone or something sneaking up on them and having no way to escape such dangers.

Do NOT locate your cat's eating area anywhere near their litter box. Otherwise, you might find that neither site is being utilized properly.

What's the main thing I should keep in mind when thinking about feeding my cat?

Don't just grab a graphically pleasing can or bag of cat food off your local grocery store shelves. That could give an entirely new meaning to the concept of "eye-candy." Do a thorough investigation into the many types of cat foods and diets that are available before making this critical life-altering decision. The money that you spend for high quality cat food could just be money that you would otherwise spend on future health problems resulting from poor nutrition. The right choices now will potentially mean a longer, healthier, and happier life for your kitty pal.

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