What Should I Feed My Cats?
Cats and food go hand and hand. And you knew I couldn’t just “finish” my Can Cats Eat section! There’s too many questions to answer!
And I was thinking about it the other day. I mentioned all the HUMAN food that cats can and cannot eat.
But what about feeding cats on a day to day basis? What should we be feeding our cats?
I feel like everyone has an opinion for or again wet and dry cat food. Some people think we should ONLY be giving our cats human food.
And while it is killing me to fight every urge to tell you what I think you should feed your cat(s), I’m going to try really hard and stick to facts today.
At the end of the day, it is your cat. You should use all the information in this post to determine what kind of food you want to be feeding your cats for their health.
Oh, and like listen to your vet too. They are pretty important.
Should I Feed Cats Dry Cat Food?
Anyone that has dogs, knows that dry food helps clean their teeth. So it’s usually recommended to stick to dry food for dogs with an occasional wet treat.
Surprise! Cats are different from dogs in literally every aspect (not literally but a lot). This is also true for food. Cats for the most part don’t really chew their food. If you ever watch them eat, sometimes you will hear a little crunching here and there, but not like humans. (Yes, I watched my cats eat!)
Basically what that means is that dry cat food doesn’t clean their teeth like it does for dogs.
Dry food is also, dry. That means if your cat only eats dry food, then they need to drink more water than a cat that only eats wet food, or human food.
So it looks like dry cat food is not good for cats, right? Totally wrong! There are plenty of dry cat food brands that provide a lot of nutrients to keep your cats happy and healthy. Out of my four cats, we have one that only eats dry food.
If you are going to feed your cats only dry food, you want to make sure there is always plenty of water nearby and that the option you give will give them all the nutrients they need to get big and strong!
As a shameless plug that I just can’t help but do. I will recommend my favorite diet dry cat food.
Covid happened, and just like humans, the cats put on some extra LBs. It happens. What has helped is that we switched their dry food to Purina Pro Plan. This has helped this kitties lose some of that weight and honestly just feel better. But in all honesty, find a food that works and stick with it. Your cat could hate my cats favorite food, or they could love it.
Trial and error.
Should I Feed Cats Wet Cat Food?
So now that you know about dry cat food, a lot of people are probably thinking that wet cat food is that way to go.
Its true, wet food is actually great for cats. It is typically pure meat, high in protein, and without carbohydrates added. It does tend to be higher in fat so you still want to watch the quantity that you give your cats to avoid unwanted weight gain.
Want to know what else wet cat food has in it? Surprise! It’s water.
Remember in the dry cat food I mentioned that it can cause dehydration in cats. You don’t have that problem with wet cat food.
Wet cat food can also tend to be more expensive than typical dry cat food. So if you want to say for your kitties future, wet cat food can be an awesome treat here and there. Again, out of our four cats. We have one that only eat wet cat food.
(The other two eat both).
And, to top it off, that cat is so spoiled she needs a VARIETY! Yeah. We can’t just give her the same flavor every day.
If you want to try introducing wet food into your cat’s diet, you totally can. And you can start small and work your way up. Some cats like pates, some prefer shredded, and some only eat the gravy out of the wet food (my mom’s cat Penny does that).
Every single cat is unique.
Can Cats Eat Treats?
I literally started chuckling when I read this question. Now because it is a dumb question, but it’s a question that I feel like it is a constant in human world and pet world.
Can I eat treats or sweets?
Both humans and cats can have treats in moderation and on occasion. If done correctly, treats are great for training your cats or to reward them when they are doing something correct.
(Or lure them into the car to go to the vet if your part of my cat clan).
We also used treats when we first adopted Wobbles. She was such a skittish cat, but she would come out of bed for a little bit to eat some snacks. And right there is the truth.
Cat treats should be treats.
You should never try to replace your cat’s main source of food with cat treats. Just like you wouldn’t live off of cupcakes.
What Should Cats NOT eat?
When talking about the different kinds of food you can give your cats, it’s also important to talk about the foods you should not been feeding your cats!
I’m not going to go into the details about the human foods you should not be feeding your cat. You can find it in my What Can Foods Can Cats Eat? Post.
But here, I want to talk about what cats should not eat when talking about solely cat food. Some cat food brands can be considered “junk food” for cats. These brands are usually full of meat bi-products, grains, chemical preservatives and even fillers!
Normally, these are the cheapest cat food brands you can buy, and will probably cause your cat to gain weight. Think about if you ate fast food every single day. Most of us would gain a few pounds just from that.
Cats and Fresh Water
Cats and water go together like peanut butter and jelly. The truth is, cats need enough water in the diet for healthy urinary and kidney function!
Can I just leave out water for my cats for like a week and call it good? No. If you leave water our for a few days, it can begin to taste stale. Water that comes from the tap it is aerated, which entraps oxygen in it.
Fun fact, Cats can actually tell the difference between aerated and still water.
Have you ever wondered why they love to to drink out of the faucet, out of a toilet, out of your flower vase, or out of the fish bowl? Part of it is probably curious nature, but a lot of it is because this water is usually from a tap and fresher tasting.
I also think that cats tend to enjoy flowing water because it reminds them of freshwater oceans, rivers, etc. Any cats that were originally outdoors were used to having running water as their main source of water.
That doesn’t mean that you have to leave your faucet on all day for your cat to drink it. In fact there are a lot of different options you can do.
You can change your cats water bowl daily. Or you can get a pet water fountain.
We actually use both! Some of our cats like to drink out of bowls, while others prefer the fountains.
What Dishes Should I Use To Feed My Cats?
The dishes that you choose to use to feed your cats in can be any kind of dish that you see fit.
I will lend a recommendation to use ceramic, metal, or glass dishes instead of plastic. The plastic can cause irritation on the kitty’s chin and even contain dirt and bacteria. All of this could cause your cat to have an allergic reaction to the bowl, or worse get what looks like “cat acne” on their chins.
If you have cats that are fast eaters, I would recommend either a bowl that causes your cats to slow down, or to elevate your cat dishes.
The first one is basically designed to make your cat slow down their eating. If you elevate your cat’s dishes (or get the already elevated) it is supposed to help cats with their digestion and prevent them from getting sick as easily.
Personally, I use an elevated glass cat bowl. We have the ones that has two spots so all four cats can be eating at once if they really want! No more fighting over the cat food!
To try and not sound like a broken record, the main thing you really need to know about cats is they are carnivores. That means their main food staples should be protein.
I had read somewhere that you do not want a food that is high in carbohydrates. They explained that cats can become “carb-fanatics” which will cause them to become overweight. The truth is, if you aren’t feeding your cat the pure junk food cat food, moderation is key. If you feed your cat the right amount of cat food don’t fear carbohydrates.
Just like humans shouldn’t fear carbs, cats should either. But they should try and stick to the basics of chicken, turkey, fish, salmon, beef, and more.