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A Beginner's Guide to Dry Cat Foods From the Experts

Dry food, or kibble, offers a number of advantages. It is easy to feed and store, and it does not get messy. Dry food is readily available in a wide range of qualities, prices, and ingredients.

It tends to keep your cat's teeth cleaner because particles are less likely to stick to her teeth and gums, and the hard bits tend to scrape the teeth clean as she chews. Dry food also makes for firmer, less fragrant stools.

It tends to cost less than moist and wet foods of equal quality, and it keeps longer and has a milder odor. There are, however, potential drawbacks to dry foods. First, as your cat gets older, she may find it difficult to chew.

Second,, a cat on dry food needs to drink more water. Normally that should not be a problem, but if your older cat has trouble getting around, it is essential that you make it easy for her to get to her water bowl.

Finally, the low odor level of dry food may make it less interesting to your cat as her senses become duller with age. However, if you put a little warm water or salt free broth on it to make it more fragrant, her interest will likely to increase.

Some cats enjoy fresh greens. The following cat greens are easy to grow if you are so inclines. Warning, avoid seeds treated with herbicides or insecticides.

- grass (bluegrass, fescue, ryegrass)

- Japanese barnyard millet

- oats

- rye (but beware of ergot, a hallucinogenic fungus)

- sprouts (alfalfa or bean), in small amounts

- wheat

If you are like most cat owners, you probably like to give your cat special treats once in a while. In reasonable amounts, treats are fine, but remember that they add to your cat's daily calories.

Treats are also may contain food dyes, preservatives, and other chemicals. So, follow the same basic guidelines as for foods, find nutritionally balanced treats, avoid dyes and other chemicals, and do not overdo it.

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