What should cats eat?

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We’ve talked mostly about dogs so what should cats eat?

I follow the same guidelines with cats.  They should eat a food that is mainly meat with limited grains.  It should have human quality, real food ingredients.  For years it was recommended that cats should eat mainly dry food to help their teeth.  Now more and more research is showing that at least part of their diet should be wet food.  Cats on dry food may be functionally dehydrated to a small degree at all times.  This may be leading to a lot of the inflammatory urinary tract disease we see in cats.

What do cats want to eat?

Riley

This is Riley’s idea of take out.

Cats are predators.  If your cats show any interest or aptitude for hunting, let them hunt.  It helps their minds and if they eat the prey they are getting the perfect mix of nutrients that their bodies evolved to use.  I’ve had people tell me that they take away everything their cats kill so they don’t eat it.  Sure, it is gross.  Yes, they can get tapeworms from eating rodents.  You need to make sure the rodents aren’t exposed to rat poison because that can hurt the cat.  But, I think cats that eat rodents are healthier overall.  They are getting the bones to help with their teeth cleaning.  The prey has some moisture to help with hydration.  And,  at least they are getting exercise instead of laying on the couch and only getting up to eat carbohydrate loaded dry foods.

What other kinds of foods do cats like?

Powder loves asparagus tips.  I take some steamed tips and dice them fine and mix them in her food.  You can do the same thing with lettuces.  Adding finely diced greens to the food can help with digestion and hairballs.  They encourage gut motility.  This is the same mechanism behind cats (or dogs) eating grass or grazing on cat greens you can buy.

Canned pumpkin is a wonder.  The fiber can help with either diarrhea or constipation by promoting normal gut function.  Start with a little bit mixed into food and increase it if the cat is ok with it.

The key with cats is hiding it first in something they like or eat it in front of them and talk about how good it is.  If you have a food motivated cat this makes them want to take it from you.  (Yeah, I’m looking at you Powder. She once ate any entire salad of mine.)

All cats are different.  Powder is a worse beggar than the dog.  Riley will not eat any type of human food.  He even turns up his nose at meat.  I don’t worry about him too much though because of his high prey consumption.

Try offering things in different ways and at different times to figure out what they like today.  Tomorrow may be different.