How to feed your cat – nutrition and natural feeding

Cat food

Let’s start off with a reminder: cats are carnivores. A cat’s food must contain lots of protein and no grains to match its nutritional needs.

Whether dry or wet, the right food will strengthen your cat’s health and extend its lifespan.

Nutritional needs of an adult cat

In the wild, a cat would catch and eat small prey all day long.

  • Since it is carnivorous, it needs protein.
  • Having three meals a day isn’t natural for a cat.
  • It should be able to eat between ten and fifteen small meals every day.
  • A healthy cat won’t overeat, it is able to exert self-control.

Ideal cat food:

To avoid nutrient deficiencies, digestion problems and skin issues, there are a few essential nutrients that your cat must get from its daily diet.

  • High quality protein with high energy conversion (meat, fish).
  • Fats and fatty acids (omega 3), trace elements (zinc), minerals (copper, magnesium) and vitamins A, B, C and D.
  • Grain cereals should be excluded to mirror what the cat would normally feed on in the wild.

Did you know…?

A cat cannot assimilate taurine. This amino acid is found in meat and fish. A protein-rich diet will protect your cat from sterility and eye and heart issues.

Smart tip

  • If you have several cats that have different food requirements (disease, obesity, etc.), purchase a cat food dispenser for each one that is paired to it electronic ID tag.
  • Weigh your cat often. Weight gain or weight loss reveals health issues.

2 types of food for a cat

There are two easy ways to feed cats: dry food (kibbles) and wet food.

Dry food:

Dry cat food kibbles

  • Top-notch kibbles will give your cat a balanced diet and won’t leave your cat hungry. These fiber-rich pellets make transit smoother and help expel fur balls.
  • They’re perfect since they mirror your cat’s nibbling habits: they can stay out in the open without going bad.
  • Chewing them effectively removes tartar and plaque.
  • They’re affordable and convenient.

Wet food:

In pouches or cans, wet cat food is either chunky, shredded or with gravy. It’s an interesting add-on to feed your cat well.

  • Wet means it also hydrates your cat, reducing risks of urinary infection or kidney failure
  • Tasty morsels entice older or sick cats
  • Low-sugar helps reduce weight gain.
  • With high amounts of meat, it’s very digestible.
  • It must only occasionally given to cats (or as a treat) and you must discard it after three hours to avoid oxidation.
  • It’s more expensive.

Did you know…?

Home-made cat food isn’t recommended. It’s typically given only two-three times a day, since cooking more often would be difficult without leaving food out for too long. This conflicts with cat’s need to nibble often.

Hydrating your cat, what should it drink

  • You often have to motivate your cat to get it to drink. Placing water bowls in different areas of the house (and garden) is recommended. Water fountains are fun and stimulate drinking in cats.
  • Avoid giving your cat milk, it won’t digest it very well.

 A word of wisdom: 

“There are two ways of setting aside life’s challenges: music, and cats.”

Albert Schweitzer

Smart tip

  • Adapt your cat’s diet based on its age (adult, senior) and health (pregnant female, sterilized cat, etc).
  • Very important: no human food! It’s often very bad for cat health!

L.D.


Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
freestock: Joanna Malinowska