Feeding Your Cat – Questions and Answers
Question: Is milk okay for my cat? I give her a small amount several times a week. Will this harm her? I’ve read that milk is not good for cats.
Answer: Normally milk is not recommended for cats, as many of them have problems digesting it. However, if she’s not throwing up or having diarrhea, she’s probably okay with it. Also, several new lactose-free milk substitutes for cats have been developed.
Question: Should I feed kitty dry food or canned/wet food?
Answer: There is a huge debate over this among veterinarians, cat owners, scientists, etc. Dry cat foods are a little…well, dry. Dry foods typically contain between 5% and 10% water. Canned – about 78% water. Water is critical in helping with digestion, circulation, and other bodily processes. Some vets say either wet or dry can be nutritionally complete. But canned food will have more meat and more protein. Dry food gets a lot of it’s nutrition from plants. Dry food tends to be high in carbohydrates and its high-starch nature could contribute to fat cats. And cats don’t always drink a lot of water to help balance their bodies…Dry food probably helps prevent tartar build-up on teeth (the crunchy-scraping action) better than canned. Canned food costs more than dry. Oh, the conundrum on which to choose!
Question: What ingredients are important in cat food?
Answer: The ingredients will have different levels of nutrients and how they are absorbed may be different, too. Reading a label makes it difficult to really know the quality of food, but protein should be at the beginning of the list.
Question: How much should I feed my cat and how many times a day?
Answer: Twice a day is the recommendation. But, we know that is not possible for everyone, so do what you need to. The statistics say that one in five cats is obese and it can be a bit of a challenge figuring out how much to feed your cat. Every cat is different, just like humans. Some cats are naturally larger than others, some much more active burning calories and some are lazy bums – all determine how much food to give the cat. Be cautious dumping dry food in a bowl and letting your cat munch 24 hours a day. Some cats do wonderful with that technique, others overeat. You need to step back, stare at kitty and evaluate: Too fat? Feed less. Too thin? Feed more.
Question: How do I switch cat foods?
Answer: Make the change slowly over 5 – 7 days. Add 25% new food to your pet’s 75% old food. Over a week, increase amounts of the new food until all of it is the new kind.
Question: How much should a cat weigh?
Answer: Average weight is 8 – 12 pounds. BUT, larger cat breeds can weigh around 15 pounds, some rare breeds more. The heaviest breeds are Norwegian Forest cats, Maine Coon cats, Ragdolls, Siberians and Turkish Vans with the males near the 20-pound mark! And of course there are several small breeds that weigh under 9 pounds.
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