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Cat food

What factors should you take into consideration when feeding your cat and how can you encourage your feline friend to drink more water?

Wet and dry food

In the wild, cats love to prey on mice. If a cat is hungry, it will eat the entire animal, skin and hair included. Mice are a natural mix of wet and dry food comprising bones, cartilage, flesh and blood. Ready-made cat food also offers this combination but is less gruesome and also suitable for house cats.Tinned food and dry food are both suitable as a main meal. Your cat's preferences will depend on what they ate as kittens. Ready-made food contains a balanced mix of all the nutrients a cat needs so there is no need to worry about vitamin or mineral supplements. The nutrient composition in wet food is similar to that found in natural prey. Dry food has a similar nutrient content but contains very little moisture, which means that your cat must drink enough water.Left-overs should not be part of your cat's diet. Much of the food that humans eat is unhealthy for cats and will make them ill. Spices and too much fat or sugar are dangerous for their health. Raw meat waste should not find its way into your cat's food bowl either as raw pork, for example, may contain pathogens that can be fatal to cats. Left-overs such as potatoes or rice contain too much starch for a cat's sensitive stomach, and the sugar content in sweet food means that it is bad for their teeth and digestion.

Encourage your cat to drink plenty of water

Unlike humans and dogs, cats do not recognize when they are thirsty. In the wild, they would get all the fluid they need from their prey’s blood. However, tinned cat food does not contain blood and dry food has no liquid. Therefore, it is very important that you always leave water out for your cat and encourage it to drink, especially in summer. Lack of water for sustained periods can affect the urinary tract and kidneys. Here are a few tips on how to increase your cat's water intake:
  • Add water to your cat's food: Add a little water to wet food
  • Offer running water: Set up a drinking fountain – the running water should encourage your cat to drink
  • Flavour the water: Flavour your cat's drinking water with salt-free chicken stock, tuna water or a teaspoon of skimmed milk.
  • Ice cubes: Cats love to vigorously lick ice cubes.
  • Offer choice: Introduce various drinking options throughout your home
  • Hygiene: Your cat's water should be changed several times a day to make sure it is always fresh.
  • Pay attention to where you place food and water: Food and water should not be set down together as cats don't like to drink in the same place as they eat.