Despite our best intentions as cat-parents, we can sometimes make mistakes in choosing the right food for our kitty.
Take a look at these 12 common mistakes and see if you’ve been making any of them.
1. Your Kitty Eating Dog Food
It may sound rather silly but it can quite easily happen in a multi-pet household where pets eat from whatever bowl they want. If your kitty has a taste for dog food, it isn’t good for her health, as dog food doesn’t have enough protein and other supplements like taurine, which are essential for cats.
2. An Overdose Of Tuna
Giving tuna to your cat as an occasional treat is harmless. Cats tend to love its strong smell and taste. But giving it regularly can pose several health risks for your kitty. It can lead to a condition called steatitis due to a lack of Vitamin E in the cat’s body. A regular diet of Tuna also carries the risk of mercury poisoning. So, if your kitty is fond of her tuna, restrict it to an occasional treat.
3. Giving Raw Fish To Your Cat
Feeding raw fish to your cat on a regular basis, isn’t a great idea as it doesn’t provide adequate vitamins and minerals necessary for your cat. It also carries the risk of parasites. Raw fish is also known to contain an enzyme called thiaminase, that destroys thiamine in the cat’s body. A thiamine deficiency in turn can lead to a loss of appetite, seizures or even death. Cooking tends to destroy this enzyme.
4. Giving Your Cat Cow’s Milk
Cats are able to digest milk only when they’re new born kittens. Once they are weaned off, most of them become lactose intolerant. A few of them, however, may be able to digest milk as an occasional treat. But using it as a replacement for water can lead to dehydration.
Table scraps aren’t nutritionally balanced and more often than not, are too fatty for your kitty. They need to be restricted to less than 10% of your kitty’s diet. Getting your cat used to table scraps also encourages begging and food-stealing. Also, if they contain bones, there’s always a risk of choking and splintering which can even lead to serious internal injuries.
6. Supplementing Too Much
Good quality cat food is nutritionally balanced to take care of all of your kitty’s nutritional requirements, which obviates the need for any additional supplements. In fact, supplements in excess could lead to toxicity. Home-made diets on the other hand, need to be carefully supplemented as per your vet’s instructions.
7. A Vegetarian Or Vegan Diet For Kitty
Feeding your cat a vegetarian or a vegan diet is a huge mistake. Cats are carnivores and cannot survive without a diet that contains meat and animal organs. Depriving your cat of these can cause life-threatening illnesses in her. A lack of taurine for instance, can cause your cat to have heart problems, blindness and can even cause death. And this amino acid is found only in meat.
8. Food Not Fit For Stage Of Life
Cats and kittens need to be fed specific foods in specific stages of life. For instance, kitten food contains more protein than fat as compared to adult cat food and is appropriate only for kittens. Pet food labels contain all the information you will need, about the stage of life that they are designed for.
9. Way Too Many Treats
Although treats are palatable, they aren’t equipped to handle your kitty’s nutritional requirements. Offering your cat too many treats can leave her too full to have an appetite for her regular food. Treats need to be used as tools strictly for training and behavior modification. Also, if your kitty is overweight, you can use her regular food for training, so as not to increase her calorific intake.
10. Feeding Only Dry Food
Cats’ bodies are designed to get water from their food, which is why they don’t normally lap up water the way dogs do. Feeding your cat only dry food is not a great idea as it contains as low as only 5-10% water. Keeping her on dry food alone can lead to her developing urinary tract infections as even normally cat urine tends to be highly concentrated. A lack of water in her diet makes it even more concentrated and acidic.
The best thing to do is to give them sufficient canned food which is about 78% water. This takes care of a majority of their water requirement.
11. Offering Too Little Water
Wet food does take care of some of your kitty’s water requirement, but keeping several bowls of fresh, clean water in different places is very important to encourage your kitty to drink more water. Some cats prefer moving water and if your kitty is one of them, investing in a water fountain isn’t a bad idea at all. Another good idea to increase your cat’s water intake, can be, to crush a few leaves of fresh catnip in your kitty’s bowl of water.
12. Garlic for Tapeworms
Many cat parents mix garlic in their kitty’s food, to rid them of parasites like tapeworm. This happens to be a misconception and is in fact not good for your kitty as garlic, in high doses, is known to destroy a cat’s red blood cells. If you see worm infestation in your kitty or suspect it, your best bet would be to speak to your veterinarian.