Choosing a Cat Food

Many food choices are available, and it can be confusing. Here are a few simple ideas on what to look for, when it comes to your cats’ food:

  • Choose a food that is designed to suit their age, size and breed. Kittens have different nutritional needs to adults, whilst specific breeds also have special requirements. Older or larger cats will need foods that will support their joints, whilst smaller and younger cats need more calories to keep up with their faster metabolism.
  • Choose a food that suits the breed. Different breeds can have different nutritional needs and may also need specific kibble sizes/shapes to compensate for genetic features. For example, the short nose of a Persian may need kibble designed to be easy to pick up and chew, whilst the sensitive skin of a Russian Blue will need higher levels of Omega 3.
  • Choose a food that suits their health. From renal health to hairballs, there are many foods that have been formulated to support the different issues that cats face.
  • Choose a food that suits their temperament – cats with a diminishing appetite may find wet food more palatable, whilst cats prone to gulping their food will benefit from a large sized kibble.
  • Choose a food that suits your lifestyle – if you are a busy person, dry food stores well and is easy to feed. If you prefer a more holistic approach, a raw diet may be your preference.

Try a variety of foods and choose one that best suits your cat’s health and well being.

Picky Eaters

Cats will often eat the same food for years and then suddenly refuse to eat the food they loved yesterday. Others find their cat rejects everything except one brand and will eat only one flavour.

There are a few steps that can be taken to ensure your fussy cat eats.

  • Generally, picky eating stems from concerned owners mixing in tastier food when they refuse to eat. They learn that by leaving their spinach, they eventually get ice cream instead. Steel your resolve and if they don’t eat their regular food, it gets taken away to try again later.
  • It may be that you’re feeding your cat too often. Their digestive systems are very different from ours. They are designed to eat large meals infrequently, rather than little and often. Have set meal times for your cat, don’t ‘free feed’ or leave food out for them.
  • Pick up any uneaten food after 15 minutes. If they know they can come back to it later, they may hang out in case something tastier is coming.
  • You can try different brands of food to see if your cat prefers them, but stick to the high quality, nutritious foods rather than moving on to lower brands.

Don’t worry too much – the cat will not starve himself. Make sure he has healthy food available every day, and no opportunity to fill up on treats or other food.

Changing Diet

There are many reasons to change a cats diet, including hairball control, allergies, age, oral care or because they have decided they no longer like the food they used to love.

Changing a diet too quickly can cause digestive issues, especially if they have eaten the same thing for a long time. There are ways to change the diet, with minimal effects on the digestive system.

Slower is Better

It is better to transition them slowly from their old food to their new food. This means that you start out with adding only 10% new, mixed into their old. Over a period of 10 days, you can gradually increase by 10% each day, until you are feeding entirely their new food. So on the second day you would be feeding 20% new and 80% old, and so on.

Stop if You Have To

If the cat begins to show signs of digestive upset, such as vomiting or diarrhoea, then don’t move on to the next level of new food until it has resolved itself. If they have symptoms (diarrhoea and/or vomiting) for more than a couple of days, consult your vet.

Helping with Tummy Troubles

If they do begin to show signs of digestive discomfort, offer smaller meals several times a day, instead of one or two large meals. Alternatively, mash some cooked pumpkin or rice into the food. Both will help to harden their stools.