Feeding Your Cat
While every animal needs a balanced diet, a cat has very specific needs.
When feeding your cat, it is important to understand that cats are carnivores and require meat to obtain essential fats and amino acids. If they do not get enough of these nutrients, they can become blind, develop heart disease or suffer from other serious medical conditions.
Your cat needs a large amount of protein.
Nevertheless, feeding your cat too much of certain foods can also cause problems.
If you give your cat a high quality commercial cat food, you will ensure that your cat has all the necessary vitamins and minerals.
Dry food and canned food both contain the same nutrients.
In terms of convenience, dry food is usually preferable, as it does not smell as much as canned food, and it can be left in a bowl all day.
It also seems to help cats’ dental health, probably due to its abrasive nature.
Dry food is also often less expensive than cat food.
However, dry food has been associated with the development and exacerbation of feline diabetes because of its high cereal content.
It has also been associated with the development of kidney problems in cats because eating dry food frequently can result in the cat becoming dehydrated.
If you feed your cat dry food, you must be sure that it has access to plenty of water.
In general, cats seem to prefer canned food to dry food.
Unfortunately, this can lead to overeating, which may be a problem in indoor cats that do not get much exercise.
Canned food must be refrigerated after the can is opened.
Semi-moist food is a combination of canned and dry. It can be left out all day. It is usually cheaper than canned but less expensive than dry.
Whether you choose dry or canned food, it is important that your cat have a varied diet.
A cat can develop medical problems if it becomes addicted to one food and refuse to eat anything else, as this can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Sometimes, a certain brand food may become unavailable. If the cat is only used to eating that food, its digestive system may not be able to tolerate new foods.
If you have to switch brands, it is important to make a gradual change if possible, mixing the foods while slowly increasing the percentage of new food and decreasing the percentage of the old food, until the cat is only eating the new food.
Cats can be very picky eaters and can sometimes refuse to eat, due to illness or stress. If a cat refuses to eat, it must be taken to a vet as soon as possible. Overweight cats that suddenly stop eating can develop a potentially fatal condition known as fatty liver disease.
Whether or not you leave food out all day or only feed at specific times is up to you. Your own schedule may play a role in this. If you will be away from home for many hours, you may want to make sure that your cat has something to eat while you are gone. Having food available for your cat can help with worries about train delays or being stuck late at the office.
If you do not like the idea of leaving food out in the open in a bowl all day, an option is to purchase an automatic feeder, which will open at a preselected time while you are away.
Grooming Your Cat
Grooming your cat is good for its physical as well as its mental health.
When you brush or comb your cat’s hair, you remove loose hairs that your cat could swallow when it cleans itself.
Grooming your cat increases the psychological bond between you and your cat. It is an experience that is pleasurable for both of you.
Cats like being clean and feel good when they are groomed.
If your cat is too weak to clean itself because of injury or illness, a gentle grooming is a great way to perk up its spirits.
Grooming an outdoor cat will provide you with the opportunity to check it for fleas.
A flea comb will help you spot any fleas.
After you comb your cat’s fur with a flea comb, drop the contents of the comb onto a damp paper. Normally, flea debris resembles little black flecks. However, once you drop them on the damp paper, a red halo will form around them.
You can also simply part the cat’s fur and look closely at the skin to check for flees.
Every cat will benefit from being groomed at least once a week.
However, different cats have different grooming needs. Some cat breeds with long hair need to be groomed every day
If a longhaired cat develops mats in its coat, it may need to be groomed by a professional.
Some cats, for example, wavy haired cats like the Devon Rex, have special grooming needs. If you purchased your cat from a breeder, the breeder should be able to advise you on how to groom it.
A hairless cat, such as the Sphynx, does not need to be brushed. However, you should wipe its skin with a chamois every day, to prevent excess natural oils from building up.
If you or a family member is allergic to cats, wiping the cat down with a damp cloth can help remove some of the cat’s saliva from the fur. Cat allergies are triggered by a protein in the cat’s saliva.
Bathing a cat regularly can also help relieve allergy symptoms.
A cat that is very dirty may also benefit from a bath.
Although many older cats do not enjoy baths, if you start bathing your cat when it is a kitten, it will become used to the process.
A good way to help your cat get used to the experience is to run the water in the tub while your cat stands outside the tub and watches. Cats are often fascinated by running water.
Some exceptional cats enjoy being in water and love baths.