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Healthy Cat Diets

Updated on December 3, 2012

DON'T Feed Your Cat These Foods

There are several foods that you should never feed your cat, as they will not only make it feel unwell but in some instances can be extremely detrimental to its health and well-being.

Dog Food

One of the biggest problems people have is when there is a dog in the house and the cat eats the dog food.

Dog food is nutritionally undervalued for cat's requirements, as it does not contain enough protein or taurine to meet the cat's nutritional needs.

If the cat eats dog food on a regular basis it will become unwell.

Table Scraps

Many people will also feed their cat the scraps from their own dinner and once again the food that we eat is not of the correct nutritional balance that is sufficient to ensure that the cat has optimal health. Many vegetables can be high in carbohydrates so be very careful.


Just as chocolate is toxic to dogs, the same applies to cats and you should ensure that you never give your cat chocolate to eat otherwise it could become very ill and even die.

Wheat, Garlic , Onion and Corn

Many cat foods also contain wheat products, garlic and onion, corn and other ingredients that are not only wrong for your cat, but they can cause it to become quite sick.

Egg Whites

Egg whites will destroy the vitamin B that they get from their food so these are not suitable.

Home Chemicals

Always consider what the conditions might be down at floor level as these are the conditions that your cat will be experiencing for much of the time.

  • Floor Cleaner

Many people don't realize that even the cleaning products that we use on our floors can have quite an effect on cats as they pick them up on their paws and fur and then they proceed to ingest them when cleaning themselves.

  • Fly Spray

Many different products can make the cat feel ill including fly sprays, even though the manufacturers claim that they are pet friendly. These types of irritations can cause runny eyes, a lack of energy, and a very unhappy cat.

Irritations can also cause sneezing and coughing and this can also be brought about if the cat has been lying in a draft or where they have been rapid changes in the weather conditions or the temperature within the house changes from hot to cold and vice versa.

  • Car Coolant

One thing that many people are unaware of is the danger of engine coolant that could leak from hoses or a radiator on the car.

This coolant can kill a cat very rapidly and this can happen just from having the cat walk through a puddle of radiator fluid that has spilt onto the driveway and then clean itself so be sure that there are no leaks from your car that your cat can get near.

Usually a cat will vomit if it has eaten anything that isn't agreeable but if you are sure that it has eaten something that could cause health problems get it to the vet immediately because they are only small creatures and problems can occur rapidly.

Dry Food Diet Problems

Too many people feed their cats on a diet of dried food, and in particular biscuits and nibbles because they are convenient and they know that their cats generally like to eat them. While this might be easy, convenient and a relatively economical way to feed the cat it is certainly not good for it's health.

Most dry foods are nutritionally deficient no matter what the manufacturers might say, and contrary to the list of nutrients that they list on the back of these packs the best diet that you can give your cat is one that most closely resembles the type of food that they would eat in the wild.

The food that the cat eats in the wild is considerably higher in protein than any of the dry foods on the market.

Another problem with dry food is the lack of moisture in the food and it is necessary for the cat to get a sufficient supply of fresh water at any time and in particular when eating these types of dried food diets.

Carbohydrates Overload

What many people don't realize is that cats can get diabetes from having a diet that is too high in carbohydrates.

By constantly feeding your cat carbohydrates it can become insulin resistant and unable to keep its blood glucose levels at a suitable level.

Some signs that your cat is becoming diabetic include drinking a lot of water and eating considerably more than they usually do. You might also notice a sign of weakness in the back legs as they tend to wobble a bit when walking.

The only way to be sure whether your cat is developing diabetes is to give it a blood test. This is the best way to determine whether the cat has diabetes or not, although you can do a urine analysis to check blood glucose levels, but this is not as accurate.

Fortunately, unlike humans and other animals, it is possible for cats that have diabetes to go into remission provided their diet has been changed with an elimination of high carbohydrate foods.

More protein will help to stabilize the blood glucose levels.

Good Nutrition for Your Cat

Cats are quite durable animals, and they do try to look after themselves where possible by eating the right food and using their keen sense of smell to avoid bad food.

What should you be feeding your cat?

You need to consider what cats will need in the wild to determine the best food sources for them.

In the wild, cats will eat mice and birds, and drink water.

Obviously this is a diet high in protein and it is essential that your cat gets sufficient protein to maintain a good healthy diet.

There are some high quality tinned cat foods on the market that have both high protein and sufficient moisture to keep your cat healthy.

Once again you need to consider the ingredients that are put into these tinned cat foods as some of them are still quite high in carbohydrates which can cause your cat to become diabetic due to the imbalance.

While there are formulations for young and old cats, fur ball formulas, and many of the different combinations that are supposed to boost health of your pet, a diet high in fresh meat, fish and poultry, will do a lot more for your cat health than any of these processed foods.

Good nutrition for your pet is as important as offering it a safe environment to ensure that you will have the pleasure of enjoying it for many years.

Water is Crucial for a Cat

Water is one of the most important requirements for your cat.

Your pet should always have easy access to fresh water that gets changed at least once every day.

In hot weather ensure that there is always enough water available, and always have more water if they are on a dry food diet as they can get a lot of moisture out of canned food.

While the cat can lose a lot of weight, in fat and glycogen, and even half of its protein stores it can still survive, but a reduction in water by even by such a small amount, might mean that it will not survive.

Even if the cat loses 10% of its body water, this can cause metabolic problems that will result in illness in a very short time.

If the loss increases to 15% then the cat will die, and for this reason if you are concerned about your cats hydration levels get it to a vet as soon as possible, as the vet will be able to hydrate the cat by injecting water under its skin.

You will then need to discuss with your vet why this has occurred, and what can be done to stop it happening again as it is a life-threatening problem.

Most canned food, at least the good quality canned food, consists of approximately 75% water, and cats that are fed a diet of good canned food will not need to drink as much as cats on other diets.

Milk is not a substitute for water and cats have no need for milk beyond being kittens.

Hunting Cat Mode

Dinner (In his dreams)
Dinner (In his dreams)

General Feeding Tips For Healthy Cats

  • Always try to feed your cat at the same time every day as cats become used to regular feeding times and it is a lot easier to feed them at these times.
  • Even though you might see your cat eating bits and pieces off the ground outside it is very important to ensure a high level of hygiene is maintained at all times. Always clean the cat dish between feedings using hot water only, and no detergents or cleaning agents that could affect its health.
  • If food has been left out for a day, throw it in the rubbish and give your pet fresh food with each meal.
  • If you find that you are throwing out too much food then this is a sign that you're giving your cat too much on its plate at each meal. Reduce the portions and you'll find you won't be wasting as much food and you will be able to give your cat fresher portions each time.
  • Don't mix fresh food with leftovers.
  • If you have both cats and dogs in the household, you need to be aware of the fact that cats need a diet that is a lot higher in protein than dogs so it is not good for the cat's health to regularly feed it with dog food.
  • If your cat is becoming overweight, reduce the portions that you put out with each meal rather than making it skip a meal.
  • For snacks you might like to feed your cat a little bit of yogurt provided it is low in sugar and carbohydrates, some forms of baby vegetables in small amounts provided once again that they are low in carbohydrates, and the occasional cooked egg yolk.

Cat Grass

You should consider having some cat grass available for your cat to eat as they need to swallow it at times to help regurgitate hair that they have ingested while grooming themselves.

You can get this cat grass from pet stores and grow it in a specific area of your property where you know that it will be free from poisons and chemicals.

If the cat gets into the habit of using this grass rather than any other plants on the property to help regurgitate these hairballs, then this reduces the chance of it eating something that could be poisonous and cause it to become ill.

It is cheap and easy to grow, and can even be grown in a sunny spot on the deck if you're living in an apartment.

It is also a good idea to grow a little catnip, as cats love to nibble on this as well.

Feeding Healthy Kittens

Cleanliness is another important factor with kittens and any utensils, or feeding dishes that are used with its food need to be thoroughly cleaned after every meal.

There are also a wide range of suitable products on the market to make feeding a kitten or cat more convenient.

It is quite a good idea to get your cat accustomed to eating a little bit of greens while they are still young and you can do this by putting spinach or similar vegetables in a food processor or blender and mix it up fine enough to be added to tinned cat food.

This will assist with their digestion and satisfy the need for some greens in their diet.

These little bits of extra vegetables that you can add to the diet will help to balance any missing nutrients, vitamins and minerals from the rest of the food they eat.

Natural Instincts

Cats love hunting and develop this natural instinct at a very earlier age and they will eat what they catch, even if you have been feeding them a nutritionally balanced diet.

However, if their diet is deficient they will be more inclined to hunt and find food that can maintain their health.

Even if they don't want to eat what they catch they will still try to find some prey. While this generally won't be a problem, be prepared for your cat to bring home a 'gift' occasionally.

You should not scold your cat for doing this, as they are proud of their achievement and want you to see what they have done. The best bet is to encourage it to keep its prey outside of the house where possible and show that you are as pleased as they are with what they have done.

Some breeds of cats are more active hunters than others, and this is something you should consider when choosing a pet cat.

If there are no mice, rats or birds for it to catch within close proximity to your property, don't be surprised if you find your cat catching insects and flies and eating them. While these generally won't present a health hazard, some insects can carry around bacteria and parasites that can cause illness but this is quite rare and usually not worth worrying about.

Should You Be Feeding Your Cat Supplements?

Provided you are giving your cat a balanced diet there should be no need to give it additional amounts of supplements. In fact by adding additional vitamins and minerals to your cat's diet you could actually be upsetting the natural balance of the nutrition and doing more harm than good.

The only time where you might need to give your cat additional vitamin supplements is during times of illness, or where there are other factors involved such as loss of body fluids or diarrhea.

Even in these circumstances it is wise to check with your vet first to ensure that these additional supplements will not cause any other problems.

If you feel that the nutrition of your cat is not up to par then by all means you will need to consider supplementing its diet, after being sure that you have got good advice on the matter.

There are a lot of good cat vitamin and mineral supplements on the market and they can help improve your cat's health particularly as your cat ages but it is best to give these to your pet based on sound advice from a good vet.

It is well worth discussing with your vet any changes that need to be made to your cat's diet during the various stages of its life. Nutritional needs tend to change somewhat as the cat ages and there are some good commercial products that help with fur balls and other problems that specific breeds of cats might have.

Cats that are well cared for will live a lot longer than what could be expected in the wild and for that reason, as with people, aged cats can require additional supplementation.

Special Requirements of Older Cats

Depending on the breed of the cat, their lifespan can vary quite considerably. A cat that is well cared for, and has had good nutrition throughout its life will usually live comfortably into its late teens. And don't be surprised to learn that there are many cats that have lived well into the early 20s.

An overweight cat, as with the human, will tend to have a shortened lifespan as they can develop health problems of diabetes or breathing problems, and the extra weight places additional strain and stress on their limbs and organs.

Geriatric cats that don't get as much exercise won't require as much food otherwise they will tend to put on weight. There are specific foods that are available for geriatric cats and these are specially formulated to ensure they stay in good health in their old age.

Giving a cat a variety of food in its diet will ensure that it is getting all the necessary nutrients to maintain good health.

Giving your cat a warm, safe, stress-free environment, will extend their lifespan, and help them to be healthy enough to enjoy the geriatric years.

One of the biggest problems that you need to consider as your cat ages is to have its teeth checked on a regular basis as it is often said that cats that live longest are those that don't have any teeth left.

They can get a buildup of plaque on the teeth and this can cause gum problems.

These gum problems can cause infections that lead to the deterioration of their internal organs and reduction in the quality of life and the length of their life so try to get your cat's teeth checked at least once every six months as they get older.

Some breeds of cats and more prone to teeth problems than others and a lot of this depends upon the type of food you are feeding them and also the way that they eat as some cats like to chew more than others, with the chewing helping to clean plague off the teeth.

Cat Diabetes

Help Your Cat Loose Weight

Weight Problems with Your Cat

Cats can gain and lose weight just as humans do.

For cats this can happen in cycles that last for several months and it is wise to keep an eye on the condition of your cat to ensure that it is not getting overweight, which could result in diabetes or losing too much weight due to some unforeseen illness.

It is wise to weigh your cat on a regular basis and keep an account of its weight to ensure that there haven't been any big changes.

If its belly begins to hang down when it walks, and in some cases sway from side to side, then it is obviously becoming overweight.

You should also be able to feel its rib cage by running your hands along the sides of its body.

You should also look for other signs of ill health such as listlessness or the fact that it is putting on weight without eating additional food. If your cat appears to be gaining weight with no noticeable change in its diet then it is time to see the vet to determine if there is any illness that is causing this weight gain.

If the weight increase is just from the consumption of more food then put a little less down each time to control its intake until the cats weight comes back to a normal level. While a cat might continue to ask for more food, you need to think of its best interests and that is to stop it from over eating and maintain good health.

You might need to change the food that you are feeding your cat with one that has fewer calories.

It's a Cat's Life

General Health Care For Your Healthy Cat

General Health Care For Your Healthy Cat

You can help your cat remain a lot healthier and happier by doing many of the things that can improve their condition.

By eating meat and poultry and tearing the food off, they help to keep their teeth clean.

Cats should be brushed or combed every day as they are constantly shedding hair and much of that will end up in the digestive system causing fur balls that can lead to constipation or vomiting. By removing much of this excess fur you reduce a lot of problems that this can cause.

Using a brush also gives the skin a light massage which helps to maintain good condition. If the hair is not kept well brushed on a regular basis it can become matted and create uncomfortable knotted balls of fur that need to be cut out. You can also assist by clipping them on a regular basis using the proper clippers that are available through pet stores.

Regular maintenance is a lot simpler and easier solution and one of the benefits of combing and brushing a cat is it will reduce your stress levels considerably. So both you and your cat benefit from this action.

For cats that are unable to get outside as often as necessary you should provide them with a scratching pole so they can maintain the condition of their claws.

It is wise to talk to your veterinarian about vaccination for your cat to keep it healthy and free of parasites.

Inoculations can help to prevent health problems and keep your cat in top shape and free of any diseases.

Diseases such as feline leukemia are easily detectable by your vet and well worth testing for. Feline leukemia can be transmitted from one cat to another so you need to be aware of this if you take your cat to visit other cats or if it is to be left in a cattery while you are away on holiday.

One of the most common illnesses that cats can suffer from is feline respiratory disease. Cats can become very ill with feline respiratory disease and while it is still possible for a vaccinated cat to become ill it will not be as serious as those cats that have been vaccinated so talk to your vet if you have any concerns in that area.

There are contagious viral infections such as Panleukopenia that can be transmitted to your pet from various different sources including the shoes that you have been wearing out and about during the day.

Worming is something that most people administer to their kittens and cats, however many people are unaware that by doing so too frequently you can cause other problems by upsetting their intestinal membranes. If there are no signs of worms in the cats stool, and this can be tested by a veterinarian, then it is unnecessary to give your cat any worming treatments. If you have an indoor cat that does not associate with other cats and is living in good conditions with good nutrition and has been wormed in the past, then it is unlikely that it will need worming.

Fleas and ticks are another area that can cause your cat a lot of discomfort and can easily be eradicated with regular grooming and drops, powders, or flea collars. Check regularly for fleas when brushing and combing and also look for mites that can get into their ears and be very uncomfortable. If there are mites it will be necessary to get treatment from the vet.

Problems With Cats Taking Pills

Cats have approximately 19 million nerve endings in their nose that makes them especially sensitive to smell.

This sense of smell helps the cat to determine whether food is suitable for eating as the nitrogen given off by the chemicals of rancid food is picked up by their highly developed sense of smell, stopping them from eating the food.

This is also one of the reasons why it can be quite difficult sometimes to give your cat pills or tablets.

Due to their highly developed sense of smell they are aware of anything that has been added to their food and if they think it is something that they shouldn't be eating they will leave that food entirely and the tablets that you've attempted to hide in it.

Often it is a lot easier to give the cat an injection of meditation rather than trying to get it to swallow a pill or tablet.

If there is no alternative but to give it a pill, then you will need to tip its head back and get the pill as far back in it's throat as possible then stroke it under the chin to help it swallow the pill.

If you don't do this they will often hold it in the mouth until they have been released then spit it out.

If you do need to give your cat medication by pills then follow it around for a short while after you think they have had the pill, because they can hold it in their mouth for a while, until they believe you are not looking before spitting it out resulting in them not getting the required meditation.

Please Add Any Tips You Have

Submit a Comment

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    I think it's just a bad idea all the way around under most circumstances to give your pet people food. I've found it to be harsh on their stomachs and upsets them.

  • profile image

    Cordial Cat 

    7 years ago

    Well, I don't think anyone would "feed" their pet fly spray or car coolant. Still, very, very bad for them. I guess it's just good not to leave car coolant out because pets can get into it.

  • PetMemorialWorld profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago from New Zealand

    Great tip Compu-smart !

    I wondered where the saying "something fishy about that" came from LOL

  • compu-smart profile image


    10 years ago from London UK

    Great hub!

    My kitty i had problems with giving pills, so i would give my kitty food later than normal and break down pill to powder and mix thoughly with food, but ill make sure i buy food that the cats not used to, usually something really fishy and expensive so kittys new to taste and wont smell or taste weird:)

  • PetMemorialWorld profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago from New Zealand

    Thanks SweetiePie - You wouldn't think dog food would harm your cat if you didn't know.

  • SweetiePie profile image


    10 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Good tips about keeping the dog food away from cats. Once our cats snuck into some dog food and became very sick. Very informative and well researched topic!


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