Food & Water

Bowls for Food & Water

The shape of the bowl is important because a deep, narrow bowl is really uncomfortable for a cat. A bowl of this shape can crowd or crush a cat’s whiskers, soil the hair on a long-haired cat’s face and cause problems for flat-nosed breeds such as Persians or Himalayans. Cats generally do best with both food and water bowls that are wide and shallow.

The best material for a bowl is ceramic or metal (stainless steel). Plastic causes allergies for many cats, which lose hair on their chin, get acne or even develop sores on their chins. Plastic can also be unsanitary because the small scratches on the plastic surface can harbour bacteria, especially with the superficial cleaning we tend to give our pets’ bowls. Those same scratches can be uncomfortable for a cat’s rough but very sensitive tongue when she is eating. Another problem with plastic bowls is that because they are so lightweight, they don’t stay in one place while she is eating, and the poor cat may have to chase her bowl around the room.

Cats love to drink from flowing water. To invest into a decent water fountain will help your cat enjoying to drink and keep her hydrated.






Food

There are three ways of feeding your cat. Either to leave kibble (dry food) out to free-feed or you feed twice a day with a portion of wet-food. If you want to spoil your furry friend, do both.

Dry Food

When you feed dry food, you have to make sure that your cat gets enough water. With a moisture content of only 10%, dry food is not only high in calories, but also requires your cat to drink a lot of water to avoid getting dehydrated.






Advantage of dry food is that it is less smelly, doesn’t get off and allows you to spend less time feeding your cat. The danger of overeating with a constantly filled food bowl is minimal. Generally cats don’t clean up their food like dogs do. Only when cats are kept hungry over a longer period of time, they tend to worry when the next meal might arrive and then gulp down as much as they can master whenever food is available. As soon as they realize, that there is food available throughout the day, they relax and approach the bowl only for a nibble when hungry.

Wet Food

Wet food has a moisture content of about 90%. Therefore it is less calorie-loaded. You have to find out the exact amount, your cat will finish. Wet food left sitting in the bowl all day will be very smelly and start getting dry. Both are unpleasant not only for us, but also for the cat.

Never feed only wet food. The cat biscuits or kibbles help to clean the cat’s teeth. Cat`’s teeth are used to kill rodents or birds and eat everything including the bone. Getting fed only by soft wet food (or worse, with food from the table) can increase the bacteria rate and plague. So unless you want to clean the teeth of your kitty regularly at the vet, let him crunch away on cat biscuits!

Treats

Canned tuna in water is a real treat for the cat. Avoid tuna in oil, it robs the cat’s body of vitamin E. The high concentration of mineral salts are bad for the cat’s urinary system. Today, tuna is loaded with toxins, especially mercury. Tune is high in polyunsaturated fats, which cats do not metabolise well. And finally, once a cat get hooked on the strong flavour of tuna, it might refuse any less intense-smelling food (e.g. dry food). Serve only a small portion and keep it as a rare special meal.

We grew up with the picture of cats slapping up milk from a bowl. Unfortunately, milk can upset a cat’s stomach and cause diarrhoea because she does not produce lactase, the digestive enzyme necessary to digest lactose, the sugar present in milk. Although that might not be true for every cat, if you want to avoid accidents in your home, don’t serve milk.

Raw diets are not for everyone. Apart from often being deficient in calcium, phosphorus  and other vitamins and minerals, which would have to be supplemented, there are concerns about the possible spread of diseases because bacteria like salmonella in raw beef and chicken can be passed to human family members unless the most scrupulous hygienic standards are maintained in handling, refrigeration, preparation  and cleanup.







If you want your cat to maintain a shiny, silky fur, feed her from time to time a raw egg yolk. Clapped into a fluid it is a heavenly treat for cats. Make sure you separate the egg white first. The white of eggs contain an enzyme that destroys biotin, which is an essential vitamin in the B family, in a cat’s body.

Chocolate is toxic to cats. A few ounces of high-quality chocolate can kill a cat.

Any food packaged for people is inappropriate for cats. At least the amount of ingredients will be incorrect for a cat, and at worst, they may be harmful to her.

Cooked chicken is also something a cat will die for. Make sure that you remove all bones (!) and that the meat does not contain any spice, added fat or oil, salt or pepper!

Cat Grass

Cats love to munch on grass, and if you give them some of their very own, they’re less likely to chow down on your house plants. The local pet store is selling these easy to grow kits.

The fact is your cat is so much of a carnivore, she can't survive as a
vegetarian. There are certain nutrients found only in animal proteins that your cat needs. One of these nutrients is an amino acid called taurine. Without taurine, cats can go blind and develop enlarged hearts, which will likely give out on them well before their time. And unlike dogs, cats require a dietary source of Vitamin A and a fatty acid called arachidonic acid found only in animal tissue. That's why you should never feed dog food to your cat. Dog food just doesn't have enough of the right kinds of nutrients for cats. By the pound it may be cheaper to feed dog food to your cat, but it could cost your cat her health, her sight, or even her life.







If it's green and it grows from the ground, the odds are some cat will try to eat it.

Plant a "cat garden." You can find ready-made kits in pet shops and catalogues, but a more economical choice is to just do it yourself. If you're handy, you might build a fancy container out of wood or you can just use something on hand. Whatever you do, make sure you plant your cat garden in a container that doesn't tip or move easily. All you need is just a couple of inches of good potting soil and some seeds. Oat grass or
catnip are good choices.

‘People Food’

A question vets hear all the time is, "Can I feed my cat people food?" There's very little that people eat that cats shouldn't (or won't), so that's not really so much of a problem. (Cat owners should be careful about feeding dairy products to their pets. Although cats love dairy products, many don't digest them well and may get sick.) The question once again is nutritional balance. Just like with home cooking, feeding your cat leftovers or using people food for snacks may not be providing her with the right nutrients in the right amounts.







Still, people food might provide some of the healthiest snacks for cats. If you give your cat some scrambled eggs or a couple of pieces of pasta, at least you know what's in it. And you might be surprised what your cat will eat. Cat owners report their pets begging for predictable titbits such as fish and chicken as well as unexpected ones, including
tomatoes and broccoli.

Water

Your cat needs about an ounce (300 ml) of water per pound (0.45 kg) of body weight every day. That doesn't sound like much, but it adds up.






Of course, cats get water by drinking. But there's another important source of water for your cat: the food she eats. The more water there is in her food, the less she needs to drink. Canned cat food is more expensive because you're buying water along with the food (up to 75 percent of wet cat food is water) and paying a little more for the container. Dry cat food has much less water (perhaps 10 percent by weight), which means a cat whose diet consists of only dry food has to drink a lot more.








Dehydration (not enough water in the body) is a serious problem for any living creature, and cats are especially prone to it. A cat can go without food for days, losing up to 40 percent of her body weight, and still survive. But a loss of body water of only 10 to 15 percent can kill her. Other liquids -- like milk, if it doesn't make your cat sick -- are a good source of water, but nothing beats the real thing. Be sure your cat has plenty of clean, fresh water available at all times. Cats love running water. If you use a professional cat water dispenser or a decorative water fountain, your cat won’t be fussy. If you provide water in a bowl, make sure you clean out the bowl every day before renewing the water.