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SPECIAL DIETS

Sometimes it is necessary to put your cat on a special diet because of sickness, allergy, weight control and other reasons. This, however, is best left to your veterinarian because a professional should handle the complexities of nutrition. If your vet decides to prescribe a specific alteration to your cat's normal feeding, make sure he walks you step by step through your pet's new diet.

Here is a sampling of diets that a vet might prescribe for your cat's specific condition. This is followed by a list of diets that should never be used. Your understanding of the importance of "abnormal" diets is crucial in your effort to keep your cat healthy at all times.

The Weight Control Diet

  • Increase protein while reducing total intake.
  • Protein offers more energy and fewer calories than fat; switch to a premium cat food with better protein-to-fat ratio.
  • Reduce or remove snacks.
  • Try to break up daily feeding throughout the day - cats will be less likely to beg for food.
  • If you give your cat snacks, opt for high protein treats (egg, lean meat) rather than fats, grease or commercial kitty treats.
  • Switch to a specially formulated weight control food.
The Hypoallergenic Diet

Through blood testing or feeding research, determine what substance or substances your cat is allergic to. Sometimes the new diet can be as simple as switching major cat food brands. Other times it might be as radical as dropping all commercial cat foods from the diet, in which case you would have to prepare fresh meals for your pet daily.

The Sick Cat Diet

Illness often affects your cat's eating habits. In times of serious illness it might be necessary to change the diet completely, switch to hand feeding, use dietary supplements, etc.

The "Never" Diets

There are special diets that, although healthy for humans and other pets, should never be employed with cats. These are the vegetarian diet and the all meat diet. Here's why:

  • Vegetarian - Cats are carnivores. They require high animal protein diets. A vegetarian diet goes against nature and will cause malnutrition, often leading to death.
  • All Meat - Cats must get nutrients from foods other than meat. Without proper calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D (not available in a meat-only diet), your cat will be susceptible to a multitude of serious health concerns.