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Specialized Diets for Your Cat

Specialized Diets For Your Cat

It's not always easy, but sometimes putting your cat on a diet is a necessity. Due to sickness, allergy, weight control and other reasons, diets can be a common solution for several ailments.

Prescribing diets to animals is a complex decision and there are a number of standard "go-to" diets that professionals often use for cats. There are also a few diets that we suggest avoiding.

Common Diets

The weight control diet

  • Increase protein while reducing total food intake.
  • Protein offers more energy and fewer calories than fat. It's wise to switch to a premium cat food with a better protein-to-fat ratio.
  • Reduce or remove snacks.
  • Try to break up feedings throughout the day. This can help your cat stop begging 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

  • This type of diet is designed around avoiding substances that your cat is allergic to.
  • Finding the source of your cat's allergies usually requires testing or feeding research.
  • Sometimes creating a hypoallergenic diet can be as simple as switching cat food brands.
  • Other times a hypoallergenic diet might be as radical as dropping commercial foods completely, and preparing fresh meals for your cat daily.

Diets to Avoid

Vegetarian

  • Cats are carnivores, and they require high amounts of animal protein to survive.
  • A vegetarian diet goes against a cat's natural dietary needs.
  • Using this diet will cause malnutrition in your cat, and can often cause an untimely death.

All meat

  • Cats must get nutrients from foods other than meat.
  • Cats need proper amounts of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D, which are not found only in meat.
  • Using this diet can make your cat susceptible to a multitude of serious health concerns.

Weight Management for Cats

Obesity may seem like a mild ailment at a first glance, but really, unhealthy weight gain can lead to much more serious health problems like arthritis, heart disease, breathing difficulty, diabetes, and bladder cancer.

So, don't shrug off the fact that your cat is packing on the pounds, consult an expert to start developing the proper slim-down strategy.

Causes of Weight Gain
There are many easily identifiable causes of weight gain in cats:

  • Overfeeding: Pets with unlimited access to food often become overweight. Feeding your cat too much can create fat cells that stay with a pet for life.
  • Overeating: Many commercial cat foods are loaded with salt and fat. This improves taste but can result in over-consumption.
  • Feeding habits: Feeding table scraps and home cooked meals to your cat can lead to obesity.
  • Lack of exercise: Too much food and too little exercise can cause your cat to gain weight.
  • Age: Older, less active cats are prone to weight gain.
  • Gender: Female cats are more likely to experience weight gain.
  • Neutering: Spayed or neutered cats are twice as likely to become obese. Pet parents should be careful to adjust their pet's diet for the slow down in metabolism that might result from these important procedures.

Along with exercise, a reduced fat/calorie diet can help your cat stay fit for longer. Fiber also plays a role in proper nutrition, since it reduces the caloric density of the food, while still providing sustenance to keep your cat full.

Once weight gain has occurred in your cat, weight fluctuation can become more common. So, that's why encouraging a balanced diet, exercise routine and regular check-ups are so important to keeping your cat healthy in the long run.

Exercise for kittens and cats
The right diet is nothing without proper exercise, so make sure you're giving your kitty a great workout alongside great nutrition. Most cats are rambunctious wrestlers that get most of their exercise through play. So, make sure you are giving your cat the attention and interaction needed to exercise efficiently.