Nutrition & Health

 

For a printer-friendly version, download our “Bringing Your New Cat Home” or “Bringing Your New Dog Home” instructional packet. They cover everything from introducing your new cat to other pets, nutrition and behavoiral problems.

Top Cat Nutrition Tips
  • Most cats can free feed on dry food throughout the day, but do not exceed the recommended daily amount on the food bag.
  • Cats do not have a good thirst impulse, so most do not drink enough water.  This, and lack of protein/moisture from a dry food only diet, can lead to kidney and urinary tract problems or diabetes, especially in male cats.  Water “fountains” that circulate the water induce many cats to drink more.
  • Feeding canned food at least once a day helps them get more moisture and protein instead of only the carbs from dry food.
  • If you use less than the whole can at once, refrigerate the remaining.  Heat it up a few seconds in the microwave before feeding it.  Cats like their food around room temperature.
  • Check food ingredients – you want food (dry and canned) that has turkey, chicken, etc listed as the first ingredient.  This is especially important for kittens as they have a more sensitive digestive tract.
  • Kitten foods have more fat/calories for the growing cat. In canned foods, you should not feed a kitten beef (have you seen a cat eat a cow?).  It could give the kitten diarrhea.  Fishy types of food are usually lower in fat.  The best bet for kittens is the chicken or turkey types of canned food.
  • For canned food, try a few to see what your cat likes.  For dry food, pick one that meets your cat’s nutritional needs (kitten food for kittens, weight control for “fat cats”, etc) or ask your vet for a recommendation.
  • Especially with kittens, pick up the canned food plate after about an hour.  Kittens are more susceptible to the bacteria that can grow on the canned food if it sits out too long.
  • If you change dry foods, do so gradually – most food has the info on the best way to transition on the packaging.
  • If your cat isn’t eating at all, try a jar of chicken or turkey baby food to tide them over until you can get to the vet.  Make sure there is no garlic in it since garlic is bad for cats.  This can be syringe-fed if necessary.
  • Steel or ceramic bowls are better than plastic for keeping bacteria growth down, but if you wash them routinely in hot water or in the dishwasher plastic can also be used.
Top Cat Health Tips
  • Any adopted cat/kitten should have a thorough vet exam within a week of adoption.
  • Ask what vaccinations your vet recommends.  Remember to keep your cat protected in case of an emergency situation where it might have to be boarded or escape outdoors.  Better safe than sorry.
  • If a cat gets weepy eyes and/or a stuffy nose, it’s a sort of cat cold.  You can treat them with OTC saline drops in nose and eyes – don’t touch to eye or nose.  Don’t use medicated drops.
  • If the cat seems to be having a lot of trouble breathing from the stuffy nose, you can try a drop of Afrin in their nose.  They will probably “foam” at the mouth a little because it doesn’t taste good, but it does help dry them out.
  • If they don’t start getting better in 3 to 5 days or stop eating or drinking – see the vet.
     

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