Friday, November 29, 2019

Feeding your Cat

Lottie waits for dinner in the kitchen
Most house cats know that their food comes from the refrigerator or pantry and often they can simply go into the kitchen and food will magically appear (their human is a mind reader!). But think about what a cat in the wild would be eating, a cat in his prime with keen senses and all his teeth. He would hunt and if successful enjoy a mouse, vole, rabbit, or if very successful a small bird. He would consume most of the body, leaving only the truly indigestible parts. Many feral cats probably eat better than our house cats these days.

Grocery store cat food may be "100% nutritionally complete," but it's often filled with carbohydrates, artificial colors, preservatives, and factory farmed meat. I am not a fan of foods sold by veterinarians either (cats often dislike them too). Veterinary formulas work in an acute health crisis, but long term I believe there are better ways to promote a healthy immune system and prevent urinary problems, cancer, obesity, and diabetes. Dry kibble was invented because it is convenient, doesn't require refrigeration, can sit out for days without spoiling, and doesn't make a mess. Give your kitty a raw chicken liver on the other hand, and there will be blood everywhere as he drags it around and gnaws on it. But there is SO much more nutrition in that organ and offal! Your kitty will be satiated for much longer and will probably take a long nap as he digests all the goodness. Liver isn't ideal for every meal of course, but what a great treat and regular supplement for most kitties. The next step might be a raw diet, one that is more balanced than just liver. Or feeding a bit of raw on top of some grain-free canned food, or perhaps canned for breakfast and raw for dinner. Maybe some goat milk or full fat yogurt now and then.

Do you eat the exact same food and quantity for every meal? No animal does. We consider our companion animals to be members of the family, yet do we fully understand their needs? They are obligate carnivores, no matter how cute and cuddly they are with us. I encourage you to do your own research and source foods you can feel good about feeding your kitty. Check out this excellent resource: Feline Nutrtion Read about how the founders at the Big Cat Sanctuary really did their homework and hit upon the right combination of foods to make their resident felines happy and healthy. Visiting the Big Cat Sanctuary and seeing some of their magnificent felines in person sounds like a dream trip to me, but for now I am completely satisfied with the kitties I take care of (and I don't have to make blood popsicles for them).