Because cats tend to develop very rigid eating habits, your adult
cat's dietary preferences are likely to be influenced by how you have
fed it during its growth and development. To prevent "addiction" to
1 or 2 food items, which may be detrimental to your pet's health in
later years, provide some variety in its diet. Variety, however,
should be provided in the form of various balanced cat foods, not by
the addition of table foods.
The dietary needs of cats are different from those of dogs, and dog
food does not supply the nutrients cats need. Severe health problems
can occur in cats fed dog food. Also, fish and milk are not the
natural foods of cats, and do not provide an adequate diet when fed
Several commercial cat foods are available that provide a complete
and balanced diet for cats. Your veterinarian can recommend some of
these and advise you if any supplementation is necessary to meet the
needs of your particular cat.
Cats require much higher levels of protein in their diet than do
dogs. Unfortunately, protein is the single most expensive ingredient
in cat foods. Consequently, bargain-brand or cheap cat foods contain
low-grade, poorly digestible protein. For your cat's good health,
avoid the cheaper brands of cat foods.
Special diets are available for specific health needs. One will be
recommended when required. Water must be available at all times and
should be changed at least once daily.
How Much Should You Feed Daily?
In general, you can feed your cat according to the manufacturer's
directions, but under certain circumstances the directions should be
modified. The amount will vary according to age, activity,
reproductive status and general health. On the average, a relatively
active, nonpregnant, nonlactating, 8-lb adult cat requires about 30
calories per pound body weight daily.
Different foods vary in their caloric content, but you can use the
following general rules:
Dry cat foods 300 calories per cup
Semi-moist foods 125 calories per packet
Canned foods 200 calories per 6-1/2 ounce can
The doctor can help you determine the exact calories contained in a
Example: an 8-lb active adult cat with no special needs requires
30 calories per pound per day. You are feeding dry cat food. The
total calories it needs are 8x30 = 240 calories. Therefore, you
should feed 240/300 = 4/5 cup of dry food.
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