Are Free Feeds And Uilding Better For Cats
They are able to eat multiple small meals once a day on a schedule that is convenient for them. free feeding strategy must have the cat eating dried food only one day at a time in the bowl on its way to its full growth. The disadvantage of free feeding is that cats can develop large appetites and obesity if they are allowed to access food freely.
Importance Of Gradually Changing Your Cats Food
If possible, your cat should be transitioned slowly from one food to another. Sudden changes in your cats diet can cause gastrointestinal upset and may result in diarrhea, vomiting, and even a reduced appetite for your cat.
Ideally, you should plan on taking at least a week to transition your cat from one food to another. If your cat is not finicky, start by adding a small amount of the new food in with old food. Gradually increase the amount of the new food and decrease the old food by a similar amount each day. Be sure your cat is eating the food. If the transition goes smoothly, you should be feeding only the new food at the end of a week.
Unfortunately, many cats are picky about what they will eat. Some cats become accustomed to one particular type of diet and it can be very difficult to transition them. It usually is possible to convince these cats to consume a new food but it will take time and patience.
Never try to starve your cat into eating a new diet. Cats that do not eat regularly can develop hepatic lipidosis, a health condition that can become life-threatening. If your cat goes longer than 24 hours without ingesting any food, you should be concerned. Cats that are eating an insufficient amount of food may take longer to become ill but can still develop hepatic lipidosis within a few days.
Why You Shouldnt Always Feed Your Cat Fish
Most cats love fish. Adding some broth from a tuna can or picking your cats favorite fish treats is a good way to make your cat happy. But its easy for some cats to become completely fixated on fish if thats all they eat. And while fish can be part of a balanced diet, there are a few specific reasons why you shouldnt always feed fish.
Feeding your cat lots of human-grade wet tuna creates some significant health problems. First, its too high in unsaturated fats, which can cause a Vitamin E deficiency in your cat. Its also not nutritionally balanced, so your cat could end up with a serious thiamine deficiency. So, if you want to feed your cat tuna, use it as a treat and keep it to 10 percent of your cats overall caloric intake.
But what about commercial cat diets? Commercially-made cat diets supplement fish-based foods to make sure theyre safe to feed your cat regularly. But if your cat decides that its the only food theyll eat, it could be difficult if they need to eat a prescription food or becomes allergic to fish.
When to Talk to Your Veterinarian About Feline Food Transitions
Fasting can trigger fatty liver disease, also known as hepatic lipidosis, in cats. This potentially fatal condition can cause depression, muscle wasting, jaundice, drooling and other serious symptoms.
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Weigh Your Cat To Ensure A Healthy Rate Of Weight
Regardless of diet, limiting access is the key. And a scale to accurately weigh the cat on is handy. Peoples digital scales can be used by weighing the person with and without holding the kitty. Monthly weights at the same time of day are sufficient.
We want about a pound a month of weight loss, not more. Sudden weight loss in a cat can result in serious health issues. Weight loss is hard to accomplish in a cat, no short cuts exist, and it takes an active process to achieve.
Just like people, it is an individualized program for each kitty and dealing with the behavioral consequences of a hungry cat can be one of the largest challenges. The hardest thing for people to accept is that a hungry cat is okay and healthy, it does not require fixing despite what the kitty may think.
Dr. Matt McCormick, DVM
Companion Animal Clinic has been serving Blacksburg, Virginia and surrounding Montgomery and Christiansburg communities since 1974. We are an AAHA accredited veterinary hospital and provide quality, professional care for dogs, cats, exotics, and small mammals. Learn more about our amazing team.
Choose A Cat Bowl That Prevents Whisker Fatigue
Although a bowl may be labeled for cats, it may actually be too deep or steep. If a bowl is too deep, cats’ sensitive whiskers rub against the sides of the bowl causing whisker fatigue. Whisker fatigue is uncomfortable and causes cats to stop eating, leaving leftover food behind. This leftover food can then become a breeding ground for bacteria.
Therefore, choose a whisker friendly bowl that is wide and shallow to make it easier for your cat to reach every morsel. This will help limit bacteria from finding your cat’s leftovers.
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At The End Of The Day
Feline family members have their special nutritional needs you should consider them when choosing the diet. Cats living on all-natural products are less prone to diseases of the intestinal system and kidneys, not to mention that it allows carnivores to truly enjoy the meals. Now when you know how to make wet cat food, maintaining the proper balance of nutrients becomes simpler. But before you decide to switch your feline friend to raw or cooked meals, its important to consult a veterinarian a specialist will help you figure out a perfect formula for your pet.
Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock
Transitioning Tips For Picky Eaters
Finicky felines can become so accustomed to a specific diet, it may seem impossible to switch cat foods. Although it may require more time and patience, dont give up. Above all, dont starve your cat into eating the new food. Felines should not fast for more than 24 hours. Tell your veterinarian if your cat doesnt eat after a whole day without food.Picky cats, often participants in the all-day buffet style of eating, may turn up their nose at a change in the menu. If this sounds like your cat, its time to shut down the 24-hour cafe and replace it with scheduled meals. You may want to transition to specific mealtimes while still serving the original cat food so your feline isnt overwhelmed by too many changes at once.
Feed one meal two to three times a day at set times, being sure to remove any uneaten food after about 20 to 30 minutes. If your cat doesnt eat the food during those 20 to 30 minutes, dont replace the serving with a new meal. Once your cat is eating during scheduled times, follow the transitioning schedules mentioned above.Pro Tip: Another way to acclimate your cat to new food is to offer a taste test. Place a small amount of the new cat food on your felines leg and when your cat starts to groom, shell naturally sample the new food and hopefully like it.
Pro Tip: Schedule 15 to 20 minutes of playtime before each meal to increase your cats appetite and help make the new food more palatable.
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When & How To Switch From Kitten Food To Adult Cat Food
Around your kittens first birthday , its time to switch to an adult cat food.
We recommend transitioning to adult food over a 7- to 10-day period to help avoid any digestive upset. Heres how:
- Days 1-2: Serve 3/4 of the normal amount of kitten food and add 1/4 of the new adult cat food.
- Days 3-4: Serve half kitten food and half adult cat food.
- Days 5-7: Serve 1/4 kitten food and 3/4 adult cat food.
- Days 8-10: Serve only the new adult cat food.
If your cat resists eating the new food, slow the transition and give her more time before you increase the amount of adult food. Consult with your veterinarian for additional tips on making the switch from kitten food to adult cat food.
How Long Will Cat Have Diarrhea After Changing Food
Cat diarrhea is a feline medical condition that is characterized by habitual watery stools. Prolonged cat diarrhea causes loss of useful electrolytes and fluids that could result in dehydration. Intestinal irritation, parasitic infections, pancreatitis, and liver disease are some of the main causes of cat diarrhea. Also, you might have just changed your cats food because you thought that was the cause. You may be asking, how long will cat have diarrhea after changing food?..it could be a different cause other than food.
If your cat suffers from chronic diarrhea, the condition could last for almost 3 weeks, and the stools passed by the cat may contain blood or mucus. Serological tests, blood tests, cytology, physical exams, fecal culture tests, and urine analysis may be required.
This is to ascertain the causes of your cats chronic diarrhea. Chronic diarrhea usually has symptoms such as blood and/or mucus in stools. Your feline companion may also have difficulty while defecating, lethargy, watery stools, loss of appetite and weight loss. Sometimes it may even be because of a rapid dietary change.
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The Right Nutrition For Your Cat
Your cat is a strict carnivore with needs and nutritional requirements that are uniquely hers.
But wherever your cat is in her life, she needs a complete and balanced diet that provides all the energy, proteins, minerals and vitamins to ensure her health, well-being and longevity.
Kittens are in the high-growth stage of their life and need more calories and essential nutrients than adult cats. They also have a sensitive digestive system and a developing immune system. For these reasons, if you have a kitten, its important that you choose a food specifically formulated for this period of her life.
Adult cats , that are not pregnant or lactating are said to be in a nutritional maintenance stage. If your cat is in this stage, her diet should consist of high-quality food that has the nutritional balance to maintain her physical and mental activity. Besides, cats lifestyle has evolved, close to that of men: more urbanized, more sedentary. Today, almost half of all adult cats live indoors. Therefore, if cats initial needs have not changed, their diet must adjust to their new lifestyle.
Pregnant, lactating, weaning and senior cats , and aging cats , all have specific dietary requirements too.
As always, its best to consult with your vet. They will be able to recommend the correct diet based on your cats life-stage, while taking into consideration other important lifestyle factors such as her level of activity.
Why Would You Change Diets
There are a number of medical conditions that require a specific diet change. Weight loss is one of the more common reasons for a new diet, but there are many others.
A pregnant kitty usually requires an energy-dense meal that contains extra calcium, whereas a senior cat with renal problems may be required to eat wet food as a way of increasing liquid uptake.
Alternatively, sometimes people want to change their cats diet for simple budget reasons or because they found healthier food in the store.
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Can I Change The Time My Cats Eat
Changes should not matter if you feed the cat at no more than a certain time each day, as long as you dont go into another gear. An animals preference for routine and a dislike for changing is universal. Feeding time can be changed gradually, if needed. on the first day and the second half at new times.
A Hungry Cat Often Looks For Mischief
Another factor to consider is that a hungry cat is a busy cat, often seeking out food, stalking or grumpy towards the other cats , bothering the people around the house, or engaging in other destructive behaviors.
Being busy is good in that it makes the cat more active, which helps burn calories, but the nature of the business is often not appreciated by the rest of the house. By feeding a cat in response to these behaviors, the cat is encouraged to act this way. One of the hardest things to do is to let a cat be hungry without rewarding the associated behaviors.
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Food Transitioning Over 7 Days:
For the first two days of the transition period, feed 75% old diet and 25% new diet. If your cat is fed multiple times a day, ensure this split occurs at each meal. For days three to four, split the diets 50:50 50% old food and 50% new food.
If at any time during the transition your pet begins to have a loose bowel movement, stop the transition and take a step back. This process doesnt need to be finished within seven days if your pets stomach gets upset, take your time and work to what they can handle.
If after day four your pet is looking good, eating the food willingly and has normal stools, then for days five and six feed 25% old food and 75% new food. Then finally, on day seven, feed 100% new food. Your pet is now fully transitioned onto their new diet.
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How To Switch Your Cats Food
You may be anxious to switch your cats food, particularly if the new food can help address weight or health concerns. Our experts recommend a gradual transition over a 7 to 10-day period, however.
A slow transition helps avoid digestive upset and gives her time to adjust to the new flavors and textures.
Heres how to switch your cats food:
- Days 1 to 2: Feed 3/4 of the normal amount of current food and add 1/4 of the new food.
- Days 3 to 4: Serve half the current food and half the new food.
- Days 5 to 7: Feed 3/4 of the new food and 1/4 of the previous food.
- Days 8 to 10: Serve only the new food.
If your cat experiences any digestive upset during this time or doesnt seem to like her new food, extend the transition period by a few more days. Some cats may need more time to adjust than others.
You can also ask your veterinarian for advice, especially if the digestive upset persists or your cat refuses to eat altogether.
Remember, you can use this transition process anytime you need to change your cats food.
Why You Need To Change Food Gradually
Eating any new food has the potential to cause digestive upset for your fur-baby. And when we say digestive upset, we mean vomiting, diarrhea, and excess gas, which can obviously be unpleasant for you as well as for your cat. But when you introduce the new food slowly, this reduces the chance of any tummy troubles.
Cats also have a reputation as being finicky eaters. This isnt because theyre food snobs, but because some cats can display something known as neophobia. This is actually thought to be related to a survival mechanism that stops them eating tainted food in the wild, and it can potentially make your kitty wary of trying new foods. Thats why introducing new food slowly will help your pet adapt to their changing diet.
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When To Transition A Kitten To Adult Food
Kittens have small stomachs and like to nibble their food, often eating up to 18 times a day. But as they grow – generally reaching 75% of their adult size and body weight by the time they are 6 months old – their portion size will reduce.
By the time they are 12 months old they are generally considered to be adult cats. This is the time to transition your kitten to adult food.
Dry Food: An Affordable But Less
Dry food is extremely calorie-dense. It has no water in it to contribute volume to the food. Because of this, feeding just dry food means your cat will be hungrier if getting an adequate number of calories in the food because of the smaller volume given. Based on this, free choice dry food, even a low-calorie version, will not prevent weight gain.
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Your Cat May Have Trained You To Feed It
The act of feeding is a training exercise between the cat and the feeder. Cats often key on the behaviors and acts that are a preview to feeding them and try to get the feeder to engage in these. A good example is feeding the cats as soon as you get out of bed in the morning. The cats will very often try to get the person up in the morning so that they get fed earlier and earlier and earlier
Another example is the cat running into the kitchen every time the fridge is opened since that is where they know you store the canned food.