Feeding your cat a healthy diet will not only ensure its nutritional needs are met, but will also support its ongoing development. But knowing what cats can eat isn’t always straightforward. You may be surprised at the foods that are actually toxic to cats!
Here are some things to keep in mind when considering your cat’s diet and health.
A high-quality commercial cat food will provide your cat with all of the nutrients it needs for a healthy diet. However, if you choose to prepare your cat’s food yourself, there are a few things you need to know about what cats can eat.
Cats are meat eaters. They need protein-rich foods to meet their nutritional needs. White meat like chicken or turkey, fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna or whitefish or even red meat are all good options.
Raw meat bones can also be good for your cat’s diet but be sure to check with your vet if that is suitable for your particular cat. Some older cats or those with dental disease may have difficulty chewing raw bones.
Whilst the bulk of your cat’s diet will be protein-rich foods, you can also give it a small amount of finely-cut vegetable matter and also carbohydrates.
Cats are natural snackers
Cats are hunters. In the wild, they hunt and eat frequent small meals throughout the day and night.
Rather than feeding your cat one or two large meals a day, if you can give it small amounts of food four or five times a day, this will replicate its natural eating habits. The ‘snack’ style of eating actually helps cats to maintain greater urinary tract health. Be careful with the amount of food you give your cat at each meal so you don’t overfeed it.
It’s not always possible to feed your cat that frequently. And in fact, cats enjoy ‘hunting’ for their food… it’s in their nature. Puzzle feeders are a good option to not only encourage exercise and prevent obesity, but they also engage them in the hunt for their food.
You can certainly include treats as part of a healthy diet for your cat… but be careful which treats you choose, and how many of them you give your cat. Save treats as reward for good behaviour or to teach your cat new tricks.
The treats you feed your cat should be 100% meat based… and make up no more than 10% of the total calories you are feeding it each day.
We recommend using Vet’s Best Rewards Lamb Liver Treats, made of 100% dried sheep liver, with no additives or preservatives.
What cats can’t eat
No list of what cats can eat would be complete without mentioning the foods and plants that are toxic to cats. Whilst we can’t provide an exhaustive list here, if you are concerned about what you can or can’t feed your cat, we are always available for mobile vet appointments in the comfort of your own home where we can discuss your cat’s diet or any other concerns you have.
Common toxic food and plants include:
- Alcohol, coffee and caffeine products
- Grapes, raisins, sultanas and currants
- Onions, onion powder and garlic
- Avocado, tomatoes and mushrooms
- Cooked bones
- Small pieces of raw bone
- Fatty trimmings/fatty foods
- Aloe Vera
- Bird of Paradise
You should avoid these plants or foods in places where your cat can easily access them. If they do ingest one of these toxic items, contact your vet immediately for advice.
Keeping your cat healthy for life
Knowing what cats can eat, and feeding your cat a diet based on that, will keep your cat healthy. And a well-fed cat is a happy cat!
Cats can get upset stomachs from time to time. If you notice recurring signs like vomiting, gas, or diarrhoea, it’s best to get professional advice from your vet. Your cat could have a sensitive stomach or be experiencing an allergic reaction.