Only a couple of health claims are allowed on cat food labels, including one for urinary health and one for hairballs. All other health...
Pet food is a multi-billion-dollar industry in the U.S., and companies spend no small amount of money deciding what words to put in large, bold letters on the front of their packages to get you to buy their brands. But many of the come-hither terms have no legal definitions. They mean whatever the manufacturer wants them to mean. Others do have legal definitions, but they do not match the popular definitions, so they can confuse consumers into thinking a food has a special quality that it doesnt. And some pet foods are simply misbranded. Heres a guide for which terms to ignore, or at least rethink, when choosing food for your cat.
Of 114 recipes for homemade cat food found on the Internet and in books, 40 percent did not provide any feeding instructions whatsoever (including how much to give), say researchers reporting in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Dogs might desperately plead with their owners for food, but cats tend to insist on it. And they insist often. Just google cats beg for food, and multiple entries will come up.
Health most definitely can be affected by a cats diet - in very important ways. For instance, the veterinary nutritionists at the Tufts Cummings Clinical Nutrition Service have seen:
Stuck indoors all day, cats are often looking for things to do. And one of them is to nibble on your plants. Why not cultivate some house plants that your cat will enjoy without you having to worry about toxicity? A few might even do double duty as garnishes on your own foods or as seasonings in sauces or soups. And in some cases, plants that can be grown indoors might even provide a health benefit for your feline pet.
You might think what bothers cat owners when the vet puts their pet on a weight-management plan is the slow rate of weight loss the doctor sometimes recommends. Indeed, cats who should be thinner for their health can lose weight at a very modest rate - from only 0.5 up to a more aggressive 2 percent of body weight per week. For a 20-pound cat who should lose 5 pounds, that means an eating regimen that could result in as little as one tenth of a pound a week.
Last month we recommended feeders that are set to open at specific times with specific amounts of food so that you dont end up overfeeding your cat. But automatic feeders do more than control portions. They also teach your pet theres no point in begging, allowing you to sleep uninterrupted. Since the food is handed out by the machine, your cat quickly learns theres no use swatting your head at 5 a.m. Further, the feeder will dispense your cats meals even if you have to be out of the house from early in the morning until after dinnertime.
One piece of information you really need to make sure youre choosing the right food for your pet is not on the front of a package of cat food in large letters. Its either scrunched up in tiny print on the side or back of a bag of kibble or on a can in such tiny lettering that it can be hard to make out. Its called the Statement of Nutritional Adequacy.
Cats in general are happy to eat the same food day after day, say the veterinary nutritionists at the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. However, owners can inadvertently give their cats an opening to train them into thinking that a lack of variety in the diet is unacceptable.
In the typical household, cats are fed in the exact same spot at each meal, with the food doled out once or twice a day. And if theres more than one cat in the household, they tend to be fed together. But a cats natural preferences are just the opposite. They would rather eat multiple small meals a day - alone.
Many cat owners consider their pets to be part of the family, so it can be a natural extension to want to indulge their every whim. There are human foods that cats can eat - but a list of absolutely forbidden ones, as well. In a multi-pet household, some might think that cats have similar nutritional requirements as dogs, but this is not the case. Each species requires their own well-balanced diet designed just for them.