We make a lot of mistakes when it comes to feeding ourselves. We consume far too much sugar and salt, then far too little. Is it any surprise that we make mistakes when feeding our cats, given the problems we have with our diets?
So, what are we doing wrong, and why are we doing it? Our cats can't tell us anything in words. We don't always realize where we've gone wrong until our cat becomes ill.
There's more to feeding your cat than putting some kibble in a bowl once a day. Cats have specific dietary requirements, which may be jeopardized if you make any of the following feeding mistakes unknowingly.
Too much food
Maybe you're one of those cat parents who free-feed because you're gone most of the day, or maybe you love to spoil them as all parents do. In any case, you should be aware that free-feeding your cat increases the likelihood of them becoming unhealthily pudgy and obese.
One of the most common feeding mistakes among cat owners is inadequate dosing. The amount of food you give your cat should be appropriately adapted to its nutritional needs, as well as its level of physical activity. Instead of keeping the food bowl full at all times, feed your cat smaller portions two to three times a day.
The portion size and frequency of feeding should be adapted to the cat's age, health status, and the food you're feeding your cat. Younger, more active cats will require more food, whereas older, less active cats will require less. Furthermore, some cat foods contain more calories than others, so always read the dosing instructions on the label and adjust the portions accordingly.
Feeding only dry food
Although today's domestic cats have retained the ability to survive with very little water intake dating back to their desert-dwelling ancestors, only feeding them dry food may be setting them up for future urinary tract issues. Worst of all, spending on treatment for these infections is never cheap!
According to Dr. Francis Kallfelz, DVM, Ph.D., feeding dry food to your cats is only acceptable if the meal is complete and balanced. This means that if you only feed them dry food, you must ensure that they have access to plenty of fresh water to avoid more serious health problems. It is recommended to combine canned food (~78% water) into your cat's diet to ensure a higher water intake. Water fountains can also be a great way to motivate your cat to drink more water.
Feeding them with dog food
One of the most common mistakes people make when feeding a cat is feeding it dog food. This is more likely to occur in a household with a large number of pets, where owners leave their pets to eat from whatever feeding bowl they come across.
Unfortunately, this results in a variety of serious health complications in the health of such pets. Cats and dogs have different nutritional needs for specific ingredients (such as amino acids, minerals, and vitamins), and feeding your cat dog food can result in a serious nutritional deficiency in a very short period. Some argue that dogs on cat food can outlive cats on dog food, but this is not something you should try at home.
Going vegetarian or vegan
It is beneficial for people to choose a vegetarian or vegan diet for themselves, regardless of their motivations. On the other hand, if a person goes too far and forces their cat to eat vegetarian cat food, it may be considered animal cruelty, which this person may be attempting to avoid in the first place.
To keep a vegetarian diet for cats, one must be extremely careful to replace all of the nutrients the cat would get from its natural food. Most veterinarians strongly advise cat owners to feed their pets a meat-based, well-balanced diet that will provide cats with the nutrients they require to thrive.
But take note that cats are obligate carnivores, which means that their bodies crave only animal-based products to survive.
Using garlic to treat tapeworms
People use a variety of home remedies to treat various ailments. These may work for humans, but using the same method on your pets may require some reconsideration. Garlic as a deworming treatment for cats has become a popular hack among cat owners. However, you should be aware that adding garlic to your cat's diet may cause more harm than good.
Garlic has not been proven to be an effective anthelmintic for cats, so it is not recommended for use as a treatment against intestinal worms or fleas, according to Veterinary Practice. Furthermore, extremely high doses of garlic are toxic to cats and can destroy their red blood cells.
Feeding potentially toxic substances
Certain seemingly harmless everyday foods and substances should never be included in a feline's diet. Milk, chocolates, and dairy products are some of the more common foods that should not be given to cats.
Milk is frequently given to cats because they appear to enjoy it. However, most cats are lactose intolerant and may experience a variety of stomach problems after drinking milk. Of course, this isn't always the case, but there's no way to tell if your cat is lactose intolerant without giving them the milk and risking making them sick.
Chocolate and other sweets should be avoided because they contain methylxanthine, a toxin that is harmful to both cats and dogs. Finally, some people believe that adding garlic to their cat's diet will protect it from intestinal parasites.
There you have it, the most common feeding mistakes people make when feeding their precious felines. However, this is by no means an exhaustive list. There are numerous other feeding mistakes that people make when feeding their cats. Nonetheless, working on these things will get you one step closer to being healthy.
Appropriate nutrition is critical to your cat's health. Consult your veterinarian regularly to guide you in designing a diet that addresses your cat's specific needs based on their age, health status, physique, and lifestyle. Share these tips with your friends, and let's all try to make fewer cat feeding mistakes