Choosing a good diet can be an intimidating process. A multitude of commercial cat foods fills the shelves of pet supply, grocery and discount stores. There are foods for young cats, old cats, fit cats, active cats, couch cats, sick cats, well cats; you name it.
Or if you prefer to whip up a homemade diet for your cat, you can find recipes and diet plans galore in books, magazines and on the Internet. But how can you be sure that your cat's diet is healthful and the best that you can give her in her senior years? Knowledge, as the say, is power, so let's scratch out some facts about feline nutrition to help you decide.
Food is the nutritional fuel that powers your cat's internal engine. Food is made up of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, other nutrients, and water, and for optimum health, these nutrients must come from high quality sources and must be present in your cat's diet in specific proportions. Each nutrient supports specific bodily functions that contribute to physical and mental health.
What are proteins? Proteins, made up of amino acids, are found in high concentrations in meat, fish, poultry, milk, cheese, yogurt, fish meal and eggs. Plants also contain proteins but lack certain amino acids found in meat sources.
The protein content listed on a cat food container indicates the total protein, but that can be misleading because the value of that protein to your cat depends on the quality of the ingredients and on the digestibility of the food.
Sharing in pet care duties can help children learn about responsibility, but do not leave your cat's diet entirely in the hands of a child. Your feline need to eat every day regardless of the child's other activities, and pressure to follow through can make a child resent the cat.
In addition, children often overfed pets or forget to feed them. Also, a child may not notice or tell you about changes in your cat's eating habits, which often indicate a medical problem. So, for everyone's well being, let your child help feed your cat, but have a responsible adult supervise.
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