Cat Food & Cat Nutrition Tips

Read these 29 Cat Food & Cat Nutrition Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Cat tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Growing Catnip to Please Kitty

I give my cats fresh catnip all summer long and was wondering how to keep it growing indoors. What I tried was a potted catnip plant and brought it indoors. At frist it didn't grow very fast, but I gave it some liquid fertilizer and it is doing very well at the moment. I keep the catnip high up on the window sill so the cats won't overdose themselves on it. One neighborhood cat ate all of my catnip plant and we never saw him again. I think that he partied himself to death!

   
What kind of bowl should I use for my cat´s food?

Plastic bowl problems

About Cat Food Dishes - You probably know that cats want you to clean their food bowls after each meal, and that you should not use dishwashing liquid, because they dislike the smell. What you might not know is that plastic bowls always retain some 'old food smell'. A cat or kitten will notice, even if you don't. She'll refuse to eat out of this bowl for no apparent reason. Therefore, invest in some porcelain bowls and make sure they are dishwasher safe.

When washing bowls in the dishwasher, rinse again once the washing cycle is finished for best results.

   
Can cats drink milk?

Cats and Milk Don't Mix

Cat owners who are trying to give their feline friend a special treat often prepare a bowl of milk, but cats would probably prefer some catnip or a pat on the head. Cats may enjoy the taste of milk as much as humans think they do, but that does not make it healthy. Many cats cannot process dairy and will get an upset stomach after drinking milk. Other cats may have serious health problems when exposed to too much milk. Warm food or a cat treat are a better option when pampering a cat. It is always best to give pets human food sparingly, and be sure something is safe for cats before tempting your pet.

   
How do I wean kittens from mother´s milk to solid food?

Small Kittens, Small Dish

Be certain to put the kittens' food in a very shallow dish so that they can easily get to the food.

I have used saucers, cream cheese tubs, even the plastic lids off coffee cans.

   
What is a good catfood recipe for my cat with allergies?

Cat Food Recipe for Food Allergies

A good cat food recipe for a cat or kitten with food allergies:

1 lb. Chicken, turkey, or lamb
1/2 cup brown rice
1/4 cup alfalfa sprouts
1 teaspoon of kelp
1 teaspoon bonemeal

Boil the rice in 1 1/2 cups of water. Add the other ingredients.

   
How do I help my finicky cat eat better?

Kitty stopped eating his favorite food

Quite suddenly, Kitty has stopped eating his favorite food. He could have many reasons for this: illness,he is tired of his favorite food, or he can smell something on the surface of the bowl that is ruining his appetite.
You should wash your Kitty's bowls-both food and water-regularly, but cats don't like the smell of soap on their bowls. Wash the bowl, rinse it in a vinegar and water bath, then rinse the vinegar off with clear water. The vinegar breaks down the soap and allows the water to remove it completely.

   
How do I get my kids to help with the cat?

Kids and Kitty feeding & bedtime

An easy way of teaching your children discipline and responsibilty is to work with them at bedtime to check your cat or kittens food and water bowls, and sand box. By establishing a routine each and every night, the children unwind for bed, while your pets get the routine that they naturally crave.

   
When should I give my cat his wet food?

Feeding time

If your cats demand wet food, and some do, I give my cats their wet food at night right before we go to bed. That gives us a couple of hours to get to sleep while the cats digest and clean up after their meal.

   
How do I help my finicky cat eat better?

Kitty picks at his favorite food, but doesn't finish it

Cats and kittens can have several reasons for not eating: illness, they may be tired of a flavor, plus they will slow down their eating in the warm summer months.

Once you have ruled out disease, you can move on to the other reasons for picky eating.

When your pet nibbles, but then leaves most of a favorite wet food to spoil, stop giving him wet food for a few days. Be sure to leave plenty of dry food out. If you have a routine established for feeding him, just add more dry food to his bowl to keep the routine.

Next, use the wet food as a treat and give it to him only once or twice a week. If he eats the dry food, and doesn't beg for the wet, you know he is getting enough to eat.

Then when the weather cools down-and he starts eating more, you can start giving him more wet food, if you choose to start it again.

   
How do I wean kittens from mother´s milk to solid food?

Use Pet Foods, Not Human Foods

About New Born Kitten Care - Don't make the mistake of trying to feed kittens any type of Human infant cereal. Most human infant cereals are 'grain' based, and in the wild, Kittens are weaned on raw meat (ie, the mothers will bring fresh kills back to the nest for the kittens.) So, kittens really don't quite know what to do with that mush that smells all wrong. NO, I don't suggest you try feeding the kittens raw meat, my point is that cats are carnivores and their food should be meat based, not grain based. So do feed your kittens healthy cat food instead.

   
How do I keep Kitty, roaches, and mice out of the food?

Keeping Kitty out of the Food Bag

You saved money and bought a large bag of food for Kitty. Now he keeps knocking the bag over, chewing on the corner, or climbing into the bag, because it smells so good.
Purchase a trash can with a locking lid and store Kitty's food in that. Not only will it keep him out, it will deter any insect or rodent pests, as well.

   
How do I heat my cat´s left over food up?

Food Temperature

You may be tempted to heat your kittys leftover food in the microwave, but I don't recommend this.
My research says that cats should eat food that is room temperature. Any food that is too warm or too cold can cause intestinal troubles for your cat.
However, leaving a whole can of food out of the refrigerator will cause it to spoil if your room temperature is above 65F or so.

If you have a 'cold' window, you can store the open can of food on the window sill with a tight fitting cover. This will at least keep the food cold enough to prevent spoilage, but allow the food to heat up faster.

I heat a small amount of water (up to boiling) and then stir a couple of spoonfulls into the cold food. This will bring the temperature of the cold food up to something more satisfactory for your cat, without getting the food too hot.

Note: You don't want to add too much water, or your cat or kitten won't care for the food.

   
How do I wean kittens from mother´s milk to solid food?

Canned Cat Foods to Use and Avoid

You can try 'fish' flavored canned cat foods, since the fish flavors have a very distinctive smell that cats will recognize. Don't feed your cat or kitten straight tuna that is meant for humans, since a steady diet of this will deplete their bodies of vitamin E. You can feed your cat the tuna flavored cat foods occasionally because they are supplemented with additional vitamin E to prevent this, but it might be best to avoid tuna altogether.

In addition to being a good source of nutrition on its own, canned cat food can be used as a supplement to dry cat foods, increasing it palatability and water content. Many owners simply feed their cats both.

   
What table scraps should I and shouldn´t I give to my kitty?

Good and Bad Table Scraps

Here's a good cat food nutrition tip - Table scraps should be used as treats, not the main course in your kitty's diet. I recommend no more than a Tablespoon of scraps at a time.

Suggested scraps are: Meats without bones, cooked vegetables, cooked grains, and brown rice.

TABLE SCRAPS YOU SHOULD NOT GIVE YOUR KITTY: Corn is very difficult for our pets to digest. Chocolate has chemicals that are toxic to almost all pets.
Sweets are not good for our kitties, since their systems are not desgined to process the sugars as easily as human bodies.

Bones, cooked or raw, are a definite NO-NO.
There is a movement to feed pets raw uncooked meat-bones included, but my vet tech lost a puppy from a perferated colon when he couldn't properly chew and digest a bone. My parents lost a Siamese when she choked on a pork chop bone.

It is safer to not let your cat or kitten have bones, unless they are ground to a fine mush or powder.

   
I have allergies to cats, what can I do?

Premium Cat Food Lessens Allergens

Feeding your cat or kitten high quality cat food, such as Kal Kan Optimum, Iams and Science Diet Hairball Formula, all brands with Brown Rice, can actually lessen one of the allgergens all cats produce.

The extra nutrition in these good cat foods will increase the quality of your kitty's coat and skin, thus decreasing the dander they produce.

   
What is the right type of nutrition for my pregnant cat?

Proper Nutrition for Your Pregnant Cat

A pregnant cat has special dietary needs. Because she will soon be eating for four, five, or even six, it is important to offer her foods that are not only enticing to her taste buds but also have the right amounts of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Offer your cat canned food every now and then during the pregnancy. Some good choices are Friskie's Turkey and Giblets or the beef varieties from Fancy Feast. These will offer a higher amount of much-needed protein during this time. Always have dry food available. Two great choices are Iam's and Science Diet. Some believe that pregnant cats need extra calcium, so they use it as an alternative to food. Expecting cats do need extra calcium, but they must consume it in a way that their systems can easily digest. Milk contains lactose, and too much of it could even lead to skeletal deformities in cats, especially if milk is given instead of food or water. If your pregnant kitty loves milk, it wouldn't hurt to give her a small bowl every now and then, but never substitute it for water or consider it as a "meal replacement." Cats do usually love the taste of milk, but a diet of dry and canned cat food and plenty of clean drinking water is always the smarter choice to ensure the health of Mom-cat and her unborn kittens.

   
What about semi-moist cat foods?

Semi-Moist Cat Foods

Semi-moist cat foods are lighter and easier to store and are very tasty to most cats and kittens. They are expensive however, and often contain a lot of preservatives, artificial colorings, binders and sugar - ingredients that give the food its meat-like texture. Though capable of providing nutrition, semi-moist food is, in my opinion, the least desirable of all the commercially available cat foods. I prefer to stick with dry and canned cat foods for my cats.

   
How do I wean kittens from mother´s milk to solid food?

When to start weaning

You will probably never see a mother cat who refuses to wean her kittens starting when they are 4 to 5 weeks old. Mother Nature always tells them when to start weaning... however, you might have experience with other odd quirks in First Time Mothers, so the timing can vary between cats.

And as always, when in doubt, ask your vet. They can offer other ideas and helpful hints on this.

   
How do I help my finicky cat eat better?

Finicky eaters

Some cats suddenly refuse what they have been eating for years. The smell of the food, its texture and overall palatability are all important. It helps to sprinkle some tuna bits and water on the rejected food. Most cats will then eat it. You must also remember to not do this too often as your cat will suddendly decide that it likes the tuna better than the regular food! (CatWatch 2000)

   
How much food should I leave out for my cat?

Kittens are Ravenous

Your kitty is not fully mature until he is 1 year old; and will continue to 'fill out' until he is two years old. All this growing burns calories.
So, keep the dry food out at all times for your kitten. I recommend a dry food dispenser to make this little chore easier for you.

   
What kind of bowl should I use for my cat´s food?

Water Bowls

Some cats do not like to drink water on the ground. I place several short wide drinking glasses of water around the house in my cats' favorites places. Windowsills, bathroom counters, bottom shelves of coffee tables, anywhere my kitties like to 'hang out.' Be sure to warn your human guests about these water glasses around your home!

   
How do I prevent my cat´s hairballs?

Qualtiy vs. Price - Premium Cat Food

How much can you afford to spend on food for your kitty is your decision. In all my years with cats, I have seen what quality food can do for them. Large, established pet food companies have a large investment in maintaining the quality of their products, so you can trust them to give your cat or kitten the vitamins and minerals they need.

The best brands, that more vets and breeders prefer are: Iams, Eukanuba, & Science Diet. If these are out of your price range, then Kal Kan and Purina are good alternatives. However, if you feed your cat healthy cat food, the fewer visits to the vet you'll have to make because of cat health problems.

   
How do I prevent my cat´s hairballs?

Tasty Anti-Hair Ball Cat Food

This is not an ad, but I have had very good results by feeding my four cats Science Diet Hairball Control Formula for adult cats. The cats are 2 and 5 years old with widely different tastes, and one is allergic to certain brands. Yet, they all love their 'hairball control'. I have not found any hairballs in the house since I switched to this brand. The food gives them furry, shiny coats. The allergic cat has stopped cratching itself raw. It is also available in a calorie-reduced version for less active cats.

Note: I can also recommend Iams Hairball Control dry cat food.

   
How much food should I leave out for my cat?

Dry cat foods

Cats are nibblers, they like to 'graze' at any given time of the day or night. The easiest way to do this is keep a bowl of dry/crunchy food (also called kibble) out all the time. It comes in a bag or box and is less expensive than canned or semi-moist cat foods, and gives you the most options for feeding your cat or kitten. You can leave dry food out and it won't go bad.

Nowadays, they have a variety of dry cat food dispensers that will keep the crunchy bowl full without having to fill it every day. A never empty bowl of pet food creates a very content cat.

Keeping kittys favorite crunchy pet foods out will also keep them from begging so much at mealtimes, because they won't be as hungry.

Dry cat food also helps reduce tartar buildup on your pets teeth.

   
How much food should you feed an adult cat?

How Much Cat Food

Cat Nutrition Needs - Personally, I leave food dispenser full of dry food out all the time for my cats. They are instinctually grazers, nibble through out the day, so I just let them eat as much as they want.

Unlike humans, 95% of the cats in the world have natural instincts that prevent them from overeating to obesity. And of those cats who are obese, there is generally a good explanation such as a physical disorder or illness that is causing the overeating.

As long as your cat has well defined body areas, I wouldn't worry about his/her weight. When your cat or kitten is standing and you run both hands down his body from his neck to his tail, you should be able to easily feel the contours of his shoulds, ribs, stomach, and rear haunches.

If your kitty is shaped more like a barrel and you can't feel any of these features, then he is probably obese and you should consult your vet for the best treatments and nutrition requirements. An overweight cat is prone to health problems, including diabetes, joint, tendon and ligament problems, breathing problems, and even skin problems if they cannot groom themselves properly.

   
What can I add to my cat's food to improve nutrition?

Feed Your Cat Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast (which you can buy in natural and bulk food sections of grocery stores) is a super-healthy food supplement for your cat. You can mix a tablespoon of it into wet food, or toss it through dry food. Cats love the taste, and it gives them an extra protein boost so they don't get hungry again as quickly. This is helpful in fighting obesity, which often becomes a problem as cats get older. Nutritional yeast is also rich in B-vitamins and iron, and it will help the cat's coat grow thicker and shinier.

For a natural flea remedy, you can also just brush some of the yeast straight into the cat's fur; the fleas don't like it, and the cat will enjoy cleaning itself off.

   
How do I help my finicky cat eat better?

Dry versus Wet Cat Foods

About Cat Food Nutrition - Feeding is critical in the long term care of any animal. What types of cat foods should you feed your cats? Dry cat foods are best for cats, because it will help clean their teeth and prevent the teeth from decaying in their later years. And you can leave dry cat food out without fear of it spoiling.

However, there are cats and kittens who will not touch dry cat food. For those fussy eaters, feed them small amounts of wet cat food once a day at the same time every day. Keep dry food out for them also, and eventually they will get hungry and try the dry food.

Canned cat food is more expensive, and once you open it, it lasts about a half hour before your cat decides it is no longer fresh enough! Canned cat food can be great for nursing ill or older cats.

My recommendation would be a basic diet of dry cat food, with small amounts of canned cat food for variety and interest.

   
Where can I buy less expensive food?

High End Pet Foods at Cheaper Prices

Try shopping around the local feed stores for a better price on the high end foods like Science Diet, Iams and Eukanuba. You will have to buy in larger bags, but they usually will have a better price than most retail outlets.

   
How do I wean kittens from mother´s milk to solid food?

Not too hot, Not too cold....

You will want to heat the milk up to your body temperature before adding it to the dry kitten food. And I would suggest adding some warmed milk to any canned food you give them, too.

Just like human infants, the milk shouldn't be too hot, nor too cold.

Room temperature is best after the kittens have learned to eat the food on their own.

   
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Guru Spotlight
Jerry Mayo