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Like their humans, cats need a healthy, well-balanced diet. However, a cat’s needs are different from those of their pet parents. That can often lead pet parents to wonder, what do cats eat, and what do cats need for nutrition?
Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning that they require the nutrients found in meat. While domesticated cats live a much different life than their wild counterparts, they evolved from hunters. So, those dietary needs persist.
Since most house cats don’t go out and hunt for their food, they rely on their pet parents to provide them with the proper nutrients. The right diet helps to avoid cat digestive issues, provides the right vitamins for cat coats, and ensures they live a long, healthy life.
What do cats need nutrition-wise? Here’s what pet parents need to know.
One of the most essential things cats need for proper nutrition is water. After all, water makes up more than half of their body weight.
Cats can get some water from wet food, but pet parents should know that giving cats too much could lead to tooth damage. Dry food is better for their teeth, but pet parents should also provide plenty of clean water.
A cat's body is unable to make ten essential amino acids on its own. As such, they need a high amount of protein to provide those nutrients. Fats are also important, as it ensures skin and coat health, along with some energy.
Many commercial cat foods contain some carbohydrates. While cats don’t have an absolute need for them, carbs do provide soluble and insoluble fiber. In other words, carbs can help ensure good colon health.
For pet parents wondering how to help a cat’s digestion when it’s off, probiotics for cats or probiotics for kittens may also help.
There are also a few cat vitamins and minerals that pet parents should be sure to include in their cat’s diet. These include vitamins A, D, E, and K, along with calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, iron, zinc, and more.
One essential thing pet parents should keep in mind is that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to feeding a cat a healthy diet. Every cat is different and therefore has their own unique needs.
Pet parents need to consider their cat’s weight, age, general health, and lifestyle. For instance, kittens require more of certain nutrients than adult cats. Pregnant and lactating cats also require more nutrients than older or inactive ones.
So, how can pet parents build a nutritious diet for their cats? Along with the above considerations, they should consult with a vet or cat nutritionist. Together, they can go over the cat’s health and individual needs to ensure optimal health.
For pet parents wondering how else they can ensure optimal cat nutrition, Fuzzy is here to help. With 24/7 Live Vet Chat, Fuzzy members can get the cat advice and care tips they need to keep their cats happy, healthy, and thriving.
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