How does nutrition impact the health and well-being of my cat?

Nutrition has a significant impact on the health and well-being of your cat. It influences their development and their ability to stay healthy throughout their life. Nutrition plays a pivotal role in your pet's health.

Dr. Meagan Darby
Hebron Animal Hospital

What are the nutritional requirements for my cat?

Cats require meat in their diet. They cannot be vegan or vegetarian as they are obligate carnivores. Beyond meat, they need a variety of essential amino acids, more than dogs, for instance. These must be included in their diet to maintain their heart health.

Will my cat's nutritional requirements change throughout their life from kitten, adult, and senior?

Yes, a cat's nutritional needs change throughout their life. Kittens require more protein and minerals to build bones. As they grow into adults, their metabolism tends to slow down, and they may gain weight if they continue to consume the same amount of calories as they did as kittens. Senior cats' nutritional needs can vary depending on their lifestyle and other health conditions.

What are some signs and symptoms of poor cat nutrition?

Signs of poor nutrition in cats include a lot of dander in their coat or dry, brittle hair. An overweight cat may be an indication of excessive nutrition, while an underweight cat or one with unhealthy teeth may not be getting the nutrients they need.

What are some common food allergies in cats and how can I tell if my cat is suffering from them?

Common food allergies in cats are usually protein-related, with chicken and beef being the most common allergens. Frequent ear infections or anal gland issues may be signs of food allergies. As cats age, they may develop inflammatory bowel disease, which can be related to protein and may require a special diet.

When it comes to cat food, what and how much should I be feeding them?

The amount of food your cat needs can vary, but the back of your cat food bag should have a feeding recommendation. However, many cats are overfed. It's best to assess your cat's weight and adjust their food intake accordingly. Every cat's needs will vary based on their activity levels and the type of food they are being fed.

What cat food do you recommend?

Hill Science Diet, Carina Pro Plan, and Royal Canin are three brands I recommend. These brands have good quality control, research-backed products, and consistency, which are all important factors when feeding your pets.

What treats do you recommend?

I recommend not changing the type of treat too frequently. If your pet is eating them well, changing treats can cause issues with allergies or stomach upset.

Is there a cat food supplement that I can feed my cat?

There are various supplements available, each catering to different needs such as urinary health or joint health. It's best to ask your veterinarian about supplements during your annual exam.

If my outdoor cat hunts, does that mean he's missing something in his diet?

No, cats love to hunt. It is a natural behavior and not an indication that they are lacking something in their diet.

Can I feed my cat human food?

Some human food can be fed to your cat as long as they tolerate it, but it shouldn't make up the majority of their diet.

How do I know if the food I'm giving my cat is making them sick?

If your cat begins showing concerning symptoms within the first few weeks of starting a new food or if issues worsen the longer they've been on it, the food may be making them sick.

Can changing my cat's diet suddenly harm them?

Sudden diet changes can lead to stomach issues in cats such as vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite.

How do I know if my cat has eaten something toxic?

You can look online for information or call the ASPCA's poison hotline if you're concerned about toxicity in your pets. You can also give us a call.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 349-1020, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram