In order for a cat to remain healthy a cat must eat a balanced diet of protein, fat, carbohydrates and minerals.
Pet Shops sell a whole range of cat canned meat foods and complete dry diets designed for cats. These are balanced diets developed specifically to meet the nutritional requirements of a cat.
There are two types of canned meat foods - one contains cereal and is a complete diet, and one is meat only and designed to be fed in combination with biscuits. There may also be a difference in the amount of biscuits required to be fed per can so be sure to read labels carefully before feeding. To feed a diet of canned meat only could lead to nutritional problems.
Cat biscuits can be fed either with a canned meat meal or separately - the main thing is to ensure that if feeding a canned meal that requires the addition of biscuits the cat receives these biscuits in the course of the day.
Complete dry diets are a convenient way to feed a cat and meet all the nutritional requirements without any addition needed. They are ideal for cats which develop stomach upsets when fed canned meat foods.
A cat fed on a complete dry diet may drink more than one fed on canned food and it is vital to ensure sufficient water is provided.
Semi-Moist diets come in the form of cubes or mince and provide a good alternative to canned food. Again additional feed requirements may vary from one brand to another so be sure to read labels carefully before feeding.
Kittens require to be fed small meals throughout the day and generally should be started with 4 small meals a day, bringing down to 3 meals a day when 3 months old and then 2 meals a day at 6-8 months. It is important that the kitten is fed a diet designed for its age - there are diets specifically designed for kittens and young cats which will ensure the growing cat receives the nutrition required for healthy growth.
Cats of 12 months or older only require to be fed twice a day, usually in the morning and evening.
The amount of food a cat requires will depend on its size and also on its age and daily exercise. Most commercially prepared cat foods will include a feed chart indicating the average food requirement by size of cat and this will act as a reasonable guide.
It is important when changing foods to do so gradually by feeding the old food with a small amount of the new food and then over a few days decreasing the amount of old food and increasing the amount of new. This should avoid any stomach upset due to change of diet and is particularly important with kittens and young cats.