Cat Diets

Choosing the right diet for your cat can be daunting for a new owner and any change in diet should be discussed with your vet.

The importance of a balanced diet is vital in maintaining overall health. An unbalanced diet may lead to problems such as: poor growth, weight gain, weakness, bladder stones, skeletal problems and digestive problems among others.

What we recommend

We recommend that a ‘complete’ diet is fed to your cat. This is to ensure that the correct balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fibre, minerals and vitamins are obtained.

Our recommended range includes Hills and Royal Canin. These diets are scientifically formulated to include all of the essential nutrients required to ensure optimal health. These companies also have a range of diets tailored to pet’s specific medical needs, aiding in recovery or control of disease.

There are however, a variety of excellent diets on the market and what may suit one pet won’t necessarily suit another. We are happy to discuss any potential diet you may be considering and to ensure the new diet suits your pet’s needs. Needs may vary according to life stage, activity level and pre-existing conditions.

All new diets should be introduced slowly (over 2 weeks). This is to avoid any digestive upsets as well as increase the likelihood of fussier pets eating it.

Plenty of fresh drinking water should always be available.

The roles of the most essential nutrients:

Carbohydrates

Provide energy needed for vital body functions and act as building blocks for other nutrients.

Proteins

Essential for growth and repair of all tissues and organs.

Fats

Supply energy, allow absorption of fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E & K) and supply essential fatty acids.

Fibre

To maintain healthy digestion

Vitamins and minerals

Maintain a strong immune system, healthy cellular function, nerve function and skeletal structure.

Dog and cat nutritional needs vary considerably. You should therefore never feed dog food to your cat, or vice-versa.

Energy requirements:

Cats are obligate carnivores and require certain amino acids (e.g taurine to maintain healthy eyes, heart and central nervous system), have no carbohydrate requirement and have a higher total protein requirement than dogs – the protein is used to produce energy as well as for tissue growth and repair. Cats should never be fed a vegetarian diet.

Growing, pregnant and lactating cats also have higher protein requirements, as do animals who have suffered trauma, burns or diseases such as cancers.

Cat with kidney disease will require more controlled levels of high-quality protein. This to help prevent further kidney damage or discomfort from toxic breakdown. This may come in the form of a prescription diet.  

Many cats are also prone to bladder stones, which can lead to cystitis or a blocked bladder. Hills and Royal Canin both offer prescription diets to help reduce the build-up of crystals in the bladder. We are happy to offer advice on this.

Obesity:

Obesity is a growing problem with dogs and cats of today, with 1 in 3 pets being overweight or obese.

Many people over-estimate their pet’s food requirement, or feel that feeding treats is a way of expressing love. Whilst it’s encouraging to meet owners who love their pets so much, we are seeing an increased number of animals with obesity related diseases. These include: diabetes mellitus, joint problems and heart problems.

These diseases can have a negative effect your pet’s quality of life, or sadly even shorten it.

 We can advise you on how to change feeding habits and accurately weigh food. You may need to consider prescription weight loss diets and exercise plans to effectively help your pet lose weight. This can be discussed at a weight clinic with us.

Raw diets:

We recommend that owners carry out a lot of research before putting their dog on a raw diet. These diets require a lot of commitment to successfully ensure a balanced diet for their pet, and do come with some risks.

If you are sure that a raw diet is the right choice for your pet, you should seek advice from us or from a veterinary nutritionist. You should feed a variety of meat and include whole animals (including bones- these should never be cooked).

Supplements may be required to ensure that the diet is correctly balanced. An unbalanced diet may lead to problems such as: poor growth, weight gain, weakness, bladder stones, skeletal problems and digestive problems among others.

 You should also be aware of the increased risk of parasites (particularly if feeding wild caught food such as rabbits) and the increased risk of zoonotic food poisoning illnesses such salmonella or campylobacter.

There are a growing number of companies who offer prepared complete raw diets, who also follow strict standards for hygiene. These can be a suitable option for people new to raw feeding.

Correct food hygiene practice should be always be carried out, and extra care taken when cleaning up after your pet. You should always wash your hands after handling, cuddling or playing with your pet.

A raw diet is not recommended to for pets in households where there are people who may be immuno-compromised.

Whilst many supporters of raw food diets believe this method of feeding is closer to a cat’s natural diet, it is worth bearing in mind that farm animals produced for food do not necessarily eat a natural diet themselves, and therefore there may be nutritional deficiencies or excesses in the meat itself which can cause health issues for your pet.

Contact us for support

We recognise that many owners may still wish to feed home prepared or raw food diets to their pets and support owners in making the choices that are right for them. We are always available to provide advice and support on nutrition- please give us a call if this is something you would like to discuss.