Cats have different nutritional needs for different stages of their lives. Good nutrition is important to their health and longevity. To fill nutritional gaps, you can decide to supplement their diet as needed. Always speak to your veterinarian before changing your cat’s diet drastically.
The nutrients you feed your cat help give your feline energy and the nutrients they need for growth. Different ages, special needs, and deficiencies can be reasons to change their diets, however, quality commercial cat food should be enough for most cats.
As kittens, they must transition from their mother’s milk to solid food, also known as weaning. Usually, the mother cat weans their kitten, however, some kitties that are being fostered or being early adopted – a kitten may need to learn that on their own with a human helper.
Adult cats need enough nutritious food that meets their needs. Depending on the size and energy level of your cat will help you decide on calorie allowances. Meat-based diets are important for your cat since they require the amino acid, taurine, for heart health, vision, and reproductive function.
- Taurine is only found in animal-based protein
- Follow the label on the food you give to your cat, portion it into two meals, and feed twice a day
- Make sure clean, fresh water is available at all times for your cat to drink when thirsty
- Speak to your vet if there is an issue feeding them twice a day
- Treats shouldn’t be given too often and only compromise about 5% of your cat’s daily food intake.
Cats are considered seniors when they turn seven years old. Maintaining their weight and health is the main nutrition goal. Also, older cats can be diagnosed with a range of health issues such as:
- Muscle mass loss
- Intestinal issues
- Dental issues
- Skin and coat deterioration
Routine vet examinations are important, and you should ask if there are nutritional needs to be met to slow or prevent the health issues above. It is also important to try to keep your cat’s routine and stress levels down as these can cause health issues in your cat.
What happens if your cat is overweight?
This is a quite common problem in cats, obesity happens when food intake exceeds energy levels. Any excess energy will be stored as fat and you will need to figure out if the issue is overfeeding or lack of exercise or a combination of both.
Ways to help your cat lose weight:
- Don’t let your cat in a room where the family is eating
- Break meals into smaller, more frequent meals
- Feed your cat from their pet bowl only – including their treats
- Reduce treats
- Give them attention that is not related to food
Supplements for Your Cat
Generally, if your cat is in good health, supplements won’t be needed. They should be getting enough from their cat food. Supplements are often used to help with deficiencies such as if your cat is sick, pregnant, or nursing.
After speaking to your vet, there are a few options that can help meet nutritional gaps in your cat’s diet.
Multivitamin – contain all the vitamins and minerals your cat would need
Omega Fatty Acids – Essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 can help your cat’s coat shiny. They can also help support your cat’s immune function, liver function, eyes, joint health, and brain function.
Probiotics – help improve your cat’s digestive function and gut health