In the wild, a cat feeds on rodents, birds and all kinds of small prey. Although it is carnivorous, the domestic cat has a more varied diet consisting of kibble, mash and sometimes even small homemade dishes. What is a balanced diet for a cat? What does the ideal menu consist of? Answers!
The nutritional needs of the cat
The vast majority of the cat’s diet is made up of protein. Remember that felines are carnivores. These proteins allow him to have sufficient muscle mass but also a beautiful coat and good skin. In addition to protein, it is important for a cat to consume lipids, in other words fatty acids. These are essential to ensure the proper functioning of his body and good health. Carbohydrates have no place in a cat’s diet. They should be consumed in limited quantities. Finally, plants can be added to the menu, they promote digestion and preserve the digestive system.
What are the different foods that can be offered to the cat?
In the supermarket shelves, it is possible to find two main types of food:
- croquettes, also called dry food,
- mash, also called wet food. These take several forms: mousses, bites in sauce, slivers or small pieces in jelly.
It is also possible to offer the cat homemade dishes. These are excellent for the health and development of felines, provided they are perfectly balanced. Each meal should be complete like the foods marketed that are complete and balanced.
Dry food is inexpensive, even when it is good quality. There are different recipes that adapt perfectly to the needs of the cat according to its age and its environment. Dry food provides all the nutrients a cat needs for good health. They guarantee a balanced diet. In terms of quantity, management is simple, you just have to leave a bowl of kibble permanently available to the cat. Also provide a bowl of fresh water.
Warning ! Not all kibbles have the same nutritional qualities. It is therefore essential to make the right choice. Here are some tips for choosing the best formula for your cat.
- Entry-level kibbles are not recommended. Even if they save you a lot of money, they are too rich in cereals and can be the cause of intolerance. They are also too rich in material which can lead to overweight. Finally, entry-level kibbles may contain too much salt and not enough minerals.
- The croquettes can be chosen according to the age of the cat. There are formulas designed for kittens that can be given as early as 6 weeks, or just after weaning. They ensure good growth. Dry food for senior cats is adapted to the specific needs of felines in the fall of their lives. Enriched, they reduce joint pain and heart disease.
- Specific croquettes are most often given on an ad hoc basis. They are designed for sterilized cats, overweight cats, cats with urinary problems or cats with intolerance.
Meats, mousses and various bites are very popular with cats. This wet food is also very beneficial for them. Remember that cats drink very little and wet food also helps them hydrate. This type of meal has replaced homemade meals over the years. They should be used if your cat has difficulty chewing and is not drinking enough. Vigilance is essential with cats who suffer from digestive problems. For them, croquettes are the order of the day.
More restrictive to prepare but much healthier for the cat, homemade dishes are rare. To ensure a balanced diet for the cat, it is recommended to cook meat a little, except abas, and to add cereals and vegetables. For your feline to be in perfect health, consider adding a little oil.
How to offer the right quantities?
Whether you feed your cat with croquettes, mash or homemade dishes, it is essential to properly dose the intake. You should know that a cat eats little but several times a day. If you only feed dry food, let the cat manage on its own. If you give pâtés, limit yourself and offer croquettes in addition, but not at will. It is important to watch your cat’s weight. If it increases, balance the meals. If your cat’s diet is balanced then there is nothing to add. If this is not the case, you can offer him food supplements.
Feeding the kitten
The cat’s diet changes according to its age. He is breast-fed until he is 6 to 8 weeks old. However, from the age of 6 weeks, it is possible to offer other forms of food. Between 2 and 4 months, the kitten will take 4 meals a day. Between 4 and 6 months, he will take 3 meals a day, then 2. Before a cat is 6 months old, kibble should not be offered at will. Your animal does not know how to manage itself. A kitten is growing, it has specific needs. Make sure their menus contain sufficient intake of minerals and vitamins.
Dangerous foods for cats
The croquettes, the pâtés and the homemade dishes constitute balanced and safe meals. But beware, some foods are toxic.
- Milk is not recommended after the cat is weaned. It can cause digestive problems and allergies.
- Canned tuna is often considered a healthy food for cats when it is too high in salt and fat.
- Eggs are not good for cats because they contain avidin.
- Chocolate should be avoided because of its theobromine content.
- Coffee is a dangerous stimulant that can poison a cat.
- Cheese and cold meats are too fatty and can cause serious health problems including inflammation of the pancreas.
- Onion and garlic are dangerous because of their sulfur content which can damage red blood cells in cats.
Leftovers are not recommended for cats. Felines can get used to these greedy foods and eat them too much. This excessively rich diet can be the cause of overweight. Vigilance is also required with risky foods.
If you have any doubts about the type of food to give your cat or the quantities, do not hesitate to ask the veterinarian who follows your pet for advice.