Educational Articles

Cats + Nutrition

  • There are many environmentally friendly ways that owners can care for their pets. Waste disposal can involve biodegradable or compostable bags or careful composting. Cat litter can be transitioned to recycled newspaper or sawdust pellets. Any toys, beds, houses and other accessories can be biodegradable and/or recycled such as cotton or rubber. Cats should be kept indoors to reduce their impact on the ecology of their surrounding environment. A nutritionally adequate diet composed of organic food can be provided.

  • Approximately 20% of cats across all ages suffer from painful osteoarthritis in one or more joints, and 90% of cats over 12 years of age show evidence of arthritis on radiographs. Because cats are living longer, every cat owner will face the issue of osteoarthritis at some point. This handout discusses the use of nutrition and nutritional supplements to aid in the management of your cat's osteoarthritis. Weight loss, omega fatty acids, and various chondroprotective supplements are discussed.

  • Feeding raw food to cats is potentially dangerous to both your cat and to you, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA. With nearly 25% of the raw food samples testing positive for harmful bacteria, the health risks for cats who eat the raw food, as well as for the cat owners who handle the food while preparing it, are real. It is reasonable to conclude that a commercially prepared, conventional, complete and life-stage balanced ration is a better choice.

  • When the digestive tract is upset, vomiting and diarrhea may result. Since the causes of these symptoms are varied, it’s best to consult a veterinarian. Often, a bland diet is recommended to rest the digestive tract and to decrease vomiting and diarrhea. Bland diets consist of a single easily digestible protein source and a simple carbohydrate. Pet owners may prepare bland diets at home or choose one of the many commercially available diets.

  • Pet owners may not realize that caffeine can be harmful to their pets. They also may not know that many foods and drinks in their cupboards contain caffeine. This particular chemical can be toxic for both cats and dogs.

  • This article reviews the benefits and disadvantages of semi-moist, dry, and canned cat foods. Semi-moist foods are not generally recommended as a sole diet due to their high sugar and sodium content, as well as the addition of artificial colors, preservatives, and flavor enhancers. Dry food, or kibble, is easy to portion control and can be fed in puzzle toys. Canned food is a good option but more expensive than kibble and may contribute to periodontal disease. Feeding a combination of canned and dry daily is recommended.

  • Over 60% of cats in North America are either overweight or obese, so paying attention to the balance between activity and calorie intake is important. Nutrient formulation and portion control are the two most important aspects of weight control. Once you have chosen a formula and have calculated a reasonable daily portion based on calorie density, the best way to stay on track and prevent unwanted weight gain is to combine portion control with regular, formal weigh-ins.

  • Interactive feeders that require a pet to think and work for their food call upon the natural instinct to hunt or forage. Besides being fun, these food puzzles may help both physical and behavioral problems in cats and dogs. When used correctly, interactive feeders may benefit pets that eat too quickly, become bored when alone, or suffer from separation anxiety.

  • Feeding your cat can be easily accomplished with mealtimes on a set schedule. At least two meals per day are best for your cat. The use of food toys or interactive feeders adds interest to your cat’s mealtime. Routines help your cat adjust to changes that may occur in your home as well as allow you to monitor her health.

  • Food allergies can be problematic for many cats, especially after years on the same diet. Clinical signs may manifest as gastrointestinal or skin problems. Some animal proteins are the most common causes and strict avoidance is the best way to treat affected cats. An eight to twelve-week elimination diet trial on a special veterinary diet is the only definitive method to diagnose a food allergy and, in some cases, the veterinary diet may need to be continued long-term.