Feline Foods: 4 Tips To Fuel
By Christine A. Bournias
Fuel. Food. And Felines.
Cats are self sufficient, but they still rely on us to feed them well. For good health, our feline friends need food that fuels them for stamina and contentment. These companions are primarily carnivores and need animal-based proteins that contain essential amino acids.
Taurine is an amino acid found in protein and is an essential nutrient for cats. Most other mammals can manufacture enough taurine from other amino acid sources to meet their nutritional requirements.
Not cats. They need essential nutrients in their diet.
Taurine isn’t stored in large quantities in their body, but it must be consumed by cats on a regular basis. Cat food must contain animal-based proteins with this amino acid.
“Taurine is a type of amino acid, which are the building blocks of all proteins.Taurine is exclusively found in animal-based proteins. It is critical for normal vision, digestion, heart muscle function, to maintain normal pregnancy and fetal development, and to maintain a healthy immune system. Taurine is an essential amino acid in the cat.” — VCA
With the vast majority of dry pet foods that contain little or no real meat, cats suffer from cheaper substitutes like meat by-products, bone meal, and grain proteins such corn gluten, wheat gluten, or soy protein.
There just isn’t enough real meat in pet foods.
Cats have limited ability to manufacture taurine but can be supplemented by a healthy diet.
Pets Deserve Proper Fuel
1. Nutritional Value
Look for quality pet food by reading the first three (3) to five (5) ingredients on the label. Manufacturers often change their size bags and their contents. Therefore, it’s advised to cut the ingredient label, write the date on it, and place it safe in a drawer. Six (6) months later, revisit the ingredients in the new bag of food to assure that key ingredients don’t make a drastic change.
“With a fur family of multiple cats, I look closely at what I feed all of them. Until I found food with quality ingredients that work for all stages of my cat’s life, I used to have to feed them all different foods—all different times. I actually found dry cat food for every stage of my cat’s life! There really are many high quality options available.” —Eric D., Store Team Leader Pet Supplies Plus
Find pet food with meat as the number one ingredient. A pet food brand that’s free or limited in corn, soy, or wheat is ideal. Several brands will promote food for all life stages and will support brain development with DHA. Look for foods that are made in the United States and/or those that are responsibly sourced by USA imported ingredients.
2. Feed Cats Like Family
Your cat is an integral part of the family, but that doesn’t mean that they should consume table scraps from humans. Make sure that any and all food and treats are safe for your pet.
Human Foods To Avoid
- Coffee, Energy Drinks, Tea
- Grapes or Raisins
- Table Scraps (fat trimmings, raw meat, eggs or fish)
Cat friendly foods with a variety of wholesome ingredients, like cheese, salmon, tuna—and yes, catnip. These food items are terrific for your cat.
Plenty of fresh water served in clean bowls is crucial too. In fact, cats need to have a lot of moisture in meat-based food and treats. Grain-based foods aren’t ideal for a cat’s primal needs and optimum health.
“It’s tempting to give your cats human treats. Avoid overdoing snack consumption.” —Genia P.
Even though cats aren’t as excited for treats as dogs are, it’s nice to have feline treats in your arsenal for special occasions—or for those times when a stubborn cat needs motivation. But, it’s important to understand your cat’s favorite eats before you start cooking up treats.
Homemade Cat Treats
1 can tuna in oil, drained
1 1/4 cups of flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 cup water
dash of parsley (or dried catnip)
Bottle cap (or favorite holiday, fun shaped cookie cutter)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- In a food processor mix tuna, egg, flour, water and parsley until a dough forms. (If dough looks too sticky, add a bit more flour.)
- Dust a surface with flour and roll out dough to 1/2 inch thick
- Use a bottle cap (or cookie cutter) to cut out treats from the dough
- Bake for 20 minutes on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
- Let cool and serve your cat!
Cat treats will keep for a few weeks in a sealed container or mason jar.
Recipe by: Mess For Less
3. Dog Food Is Not Cat Food
While both species love the same kind of food, it’s vital that your cat eats their own food.
Cat food is much higher in meat-based protein than dog food, making cat food appealing to dogs. The meat smell and flavor are strong. Dogs crave it, but shouldn’t eat it.
Cats must eat meat as a biological necessity. It’s their primal instinct. In contrast, dogs are omnivores, meaning they can eat meat and vegetables. Your canine companions need this varied diet in order to meet their nutritional requirements.
Did You Know?
Cats can eat green beans! If your pet is overweight, then you may want to consider more vegetable treats, like green beans. Green beans provide fiber, magnesium, iron, vitamin B6, and calcium. They have plenty of protein and help strengthen their immune systems. While it’s ideal for your pet to get essential nutrients they need from their food, the vitamins in green beans are helpful if they need more strength or need to lose a little weight.
Cats And Dogs: Different Dietary Needs
Most dogs won’t be harmed if they sneak your cat’s supper every once and awhile. But, it isn’t something you should give him on a consistent basis. When it comes to pet fuel, it’s all about long-term nutritional requirements.
Unless your veterinarian recommends otherwise, the best food for your dog is dog food, not cat food. Cat food may work in a pinch, but it’s not recommended to mix the two.
If your dog consumes cat food on a regular basis, complications may arise. Cat food doesn’t have the correct balance of protein, fiber, and nutrients dogs need to stay healthy.
“Percy Prince—and my entire feline team—are particular with their food, but I don’t mind finding healthy treats that are ideal for cats. They’re all worth it.” —Suzi K., Publisher/Editor American Pet Magazine
Nutrient imbalance can lead to gastrointestinal upset, obesity, or worse—pancreatitis. Symptoms are appetite loss, vomiting, lethargy, distended abdomen or diarrhea. Seek medical advice immediately. Even if your dog suffers no obvious ill systems, high levels of protein can overtax a dog’s organs. Studies reveal that excessive protein can lead to kidney disease and too much taurine can negate any benefits it does for both your cat or dog’s ticker.
Ask your trusted Veterinarian what food is best for your own pet’s optimal health.
4. Keep It Fresh
Your cat craves fresh food and they’re selective with what they eat.
Cats have specific nutritional needs including vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids. Amino acids must come from unprocessed animal meat sources and not a vegetarian diet.
Many “natural” cat foods will contain vitamins, minerals, and trace nutrients. However, there are some grocery grade brands that spray their foods with artificial nutrients. Cats are at risk of getting diseases like kidney failure and can develop unwanted mineral crystals in their system.
“Clean, fresh water is vital for both cats and dogs. Washing your pet’s water bowl daily and keeping your pet’s food in an air-tight, pet-safe food container will avoid fats in the food from going rancid. Your pets deserve to be both hydrated and fed well.” —Mike P., Owner, Premier Pet Supply
Pet foods that contain carrageenans (preservatives) don’t have long shelf life, but will be healthier for your cat—or dog.
Did You Know?
Blueberries are safe and provide antioxidants for both cats and dogs. Blueberries are high in fiber and low in fat and calories, making them a health conscious, fuel source for pets. Loaded with vitamins and minerals, they are known for their antioxidants (substances that prevent or delay some types of cell damage) qualities.
A type of flavonoid called anthocyanin is responsible for a blueberry’s blue color and name. Flavonoids are plant compounds that offer health benefits and powerful antioxidant effects. Depending upon where they’re grown, fresh blueberries are available year round.
While certain fruits and vegetables are good for both dogs and cats, you should be aware of some greens and plants. While green beans and catnip is safe for your cat, many plant husks are a big “no-no” and can be poisonous for your cat or dangerous for your dog.
Love Your Cat. Fuel Their Souls.
Most cats are self sufficient, but why not give them an opportunity to explore other places and people to fuel their soul? While cats tend to keep themselves occupied, they enjoy being entertained by new stimuli. Cats may appreciate a different environment to play in.
Find a safe place that accommodates cats. Luxury kitty condos help keep things fresh. Look for a place that provides a clean environment and hands-on supervision. A responsible pet hotel will conduct behavioral screening and require proper feline vaccinations prior to boarding.
Seek out convenient cat boarding available in your area. Stop in, ask for a tour, and schedule your evaluation for your cat.
Refuel: Cats Welcome
As their #1 priority, reputable cat friendly pet hotels are dedicated to keeping your pet safe and sound.
These pet hotels feed your cat at your desired times and with your preferred, healthy food. Select pet hotels cater to feline families—including grooming services and pet toys and treats available in their retail collection. So, while your cat stays in a comfy kitty condo, you can pick up something special for your dog to chew on too!
Your Cat’s ‘Best Things’—With Love, From Our Cat People:
- Beautiful Coloring
- Easy Travel Arrangements
- Low maintenance
- Self Sufficient
For more cat information and other fur family fun, call or visit your local Best Friends Pet Hotel.
About The Author:
Christine A. Bournias resides in Michigan with her 2-pack; two new beautiful adopted miracles. As her “Angelwriter”, Nicodemus (1997-2010) is the wisdom behind the stories she shares. Christine champions the magnitude of building the bond between a dog and their person(s) by means of respectful communication and enduring admiration.