Since cats become predators, the ideal cat diet is one that is rich in protein and low in carbohydrate plus a fair amount of water. For years, we’ve always recommended our clients to feed their dry cat food because it’s essential for their teeth! Although, recently, we’ve learned that dry food has some demerits. First, it’s too high in carbohydrate and does not contain sufficient protein. The result of this is just the same as those people who consume many carbohydrates – weight gain!
What is the weight of a normal cat?
Most times, the body condition matters. This means how well muscled the cat is and how much body fat the cat has. The normal kitty is well muscled, with a thin layer of fat which covers the body under the skin. The ribs should should not stick out but easy to feel. The belly is flattened on the side (which is an obvious waistline when you view from above) and under the abdomen, there should be a “tuck up” when viewed from the side. On a scale of 1- 9, this is about 5.
The next step up may be 6/9, with the waistline that starts to go and no abdominal tuck. Then we have the 7/9 which means that because of the thick fat layer, the ribs are hard to feel with a rounded tummy and a small inguinal fat pad. The belly is very round when the waistline can no longer be identified. The inguinal fat pad is large, and over the back, there are fat deposits; that’s 8/9. At 9/9, the poor cat might probably be as much as twice as heavy as it should be.
if my cats are already fat? What Should I do?
In this situation, prevention is worth pounds and pounds of all kinds of cure, but sometimes you have to play the hand that you are dealing with. Once your kitty is already fat, the important thing is to stop the continous weight gain and then try to cut off weight where possible. The tricky part is this: Fat cats are very vulnerable to a type of liver disease known as hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver, which can occur if calorie intake drops too fast, either due to loss of appetite from a disease, or overly aggressive calorie restriction for a diet. When we are beginning a fat cat on a diet, it’s safer to cut the calorie intake gradually, at least. 10-15% a week until the target is reached.
Firstly, you identify the starting point. If you have already measured out the food each day, then you are good to go—just start restricting the calorie intake gradually. If you just fill the bowl from everytime and you don’t really know how much your cat is eating, you’ll need to figure that out.
Is it Okay I use a diet cat food?
Most times, in the market, most “light” cat foods aren’t really that much different from regular fat food, probably 330 kcal per cup instead of the usual 350 kcal per cup. Some foods such as kitten food are much higher in calories (450 kcal per cup). Unfortunately, the pet food companies are not obligated to list calorie value on the label so you might have to do some research inorder to find out the figure for each food. There are prescription diets which contaom calorie restricted than regular food (270 kcal per cup) but these should be reserved for the cat that may seem to shed pounds even with very strict control over food intake.
Does exercise help for my kitty?
Exercise is very good
Most Outdoor cats tend to move about quite a bit during the day, and oftentimes, they may follow a similar daily route in their homes, burning calories all along as they move. But the Indoor cats don’t move around very far (they might just go within the range of food bowl to couch and back again). Start a daily play session using toys on strings or laser pointers to make your cat to move around. Most kitties are attracted to objects in motion and will readily engage in such a play. It may be difficult for the overweight cat to play. So you may start out slow and increase gradually. Always remember that cats are not marathon runners, but sprintere, so their play sessions should be short.
These are some simple guidelines for you to use to feed your cat for good health.
- A portion of the daily food intake you give to your cat should be canned food. This is good because canned foods are more abundant in protein and contain less carbohydrate compared to dry food. Make sure your kitten avoids eating sliced/flaked foods and feed your cat with the patè style food. Your cats are more satisfied with higher protein diets which probably make them feel less hungry after eating canned food. In the case of high carbohydrate diets, the effect is the opposite.
- For each day, feed your cat measured amount of food each day. It’s okay to dole the food out in several meals, but you have to know how much food you are putting out each day. Use at least as many feeding stations as you have cats in a multiple cat household and try to put dole out food more than once a day. Even if you feed your cat with low-calorie diet, it is better to limit the total amount to control it’s the weight.
- If possible, purchase the ideal automatic cat feeder. It works as an assistant to enable users to feed their pet cats efficiently with less stress. This feeder works automatically. It can be scheduled to signal treats; making it pleasant for users who want their kittens to be well-taken care, especially when they’re not around.
- Feed your cat with an abrasive diet. These are diets that are made to be more abrasive and designed to provide healthy teeth to your cat. Always add the dental diet with regular dry food.
So how much do you think is the right amount of food for the average kitty? The proper calorie intake can be calculated using a formula which has been worked out for the basal metabolic rate with additional calories for stress and other health factors.
Tips for Feeding kittens
Your kittens are similar to little growth machines; they have building muscles and bones, and burning calories. Feed your kittens with a diet which is designed for growth and development. Naturally, the mother cat brings prey to its home to the kittens so that they will learn to eat solid foods. As the kittens grow up to become an adult, she carries the prey home in a lively state so the kids can learn how to kill prey for themselves and also how to hunt. A good mother cat may usually tend to bring home mice and will teach her kittens to be good hunters. Other kitties may tend to favor lizards or birds, and her offspring will tend to reflect such attitude in their future behavior.
It would be best if you did not give your kittens half-dead mice to kill, but we can copy the mother cat by offering the kittens variety of foods. Give your kittens both canned and dry, with different flavors – just a variety of foods. This will enable your kitten to develop a broad palate which aid in the reduction of finicky behavior in the future.