In the wild cats can eat lots of small meals through the day, therefore when feeding domestic cats you should leave food out for them to feed on ad lib as they wish.

Many people think cats are more fussy than dogs, this is because cats only have 500 taste buds compared to the dogs 1700 and rely more on aroma than the actual taste of the food to encourage them to eat.

Dry, Wet Or Mixed?

There are three main types of diet you can feed – just dry biscuits, just wet pouches and tins, or a mix of the two. Dry diets are the most nutrient rich and so you will have to feed your cat less to get the same amount of nutrients as feeding wet food. Many cats do like to be fed wet food though, and this is fine. The high aroma makes it more attractive for them than a dry diet. If you feed a mix then you can either mix the dry and wet food together or leave the dry food out and feed the wet food at the same time every day.Always make sure the cat has fresh, clean water especially if you are feeding just a dry diet.

Dry food can vary greatly. There are super premium foods which will be meat or meat meal based and will use other high quality ingredients. They are often developed for particular diets or feeding needs such as anti hairball, or for sensitive stomachs. You can also get specific diets for different breeds of cat. Premiums foods are mid range foods, they are often cereal based and can include artificial colourings to make them appeal on supermarket shelves. They are generally only made for different life stages like kitten, adult, and senior. Economy foods are basic foods which are low cost and use lower quality ingredients. Veterinary diets must be prescribed by a vet and are used to help treat specific illness or lifestyle problems.

Feeding your cat wet food is a very popular choice. They generally contains around 80% water. Wet foods are much less nutritionally dense and so you have to feed more to get the same nutrients out which will cost you a lot more. Just like complete food wet food can quality can vary. Some will contain 4% meat and some 80% so a good look down the ingredients list will be well worth while.

Ingredients

You will find that the ingredients list on your cat food is in order of the quantity of ingredients with the highest amount first down to the trace elements and less used ingredients. Sometimes the ingredients are listed individually (i.e. lamb meal) and sometimes manufacturers will use a broad term for the type of ingredient. This means saying things like ‘cereals’ or ‘meat and animal derivatives’. These foods are the ones to avoid as when the ingredients are not individually listed then they may change depending what the manufacturer can get cheapest at the time of production.

The quality of meat used will run from ‘derivatives’ which are of the lowest quality, to meat meal which is processed meat protein and bone, through to ‘meat’. Ingredients listed as ‘meat’ indicates that is is just meat proteins that are used. Meat and animal derivatives can be anything which derives from an animal, which can include things like beaks, guts and heads. As with ‘cereals’ the type of meat will vary depending on what the manufacturer can get cheapest at the time. Meat meal will be from a single protein source and is meat and bone which is processed into an meal and then added to the food. The best quality ingredient is listed just as ‘meat’. It can be either fresh meat or dried meat. Fresh meat will be listed in order of the weight it is before being cooked while dried meat will be listed in terms of the weight when it has been cooked or dried. Meat should be listed from a single source like lamb or chicken so you know what you are getting.

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