Feeding Adult Cats

Feeding Adult Cats

An adult cat needs two feeds daily, a light meal in the morning, and its main meal in the evening, which it may eat during the night. Don’t fill the bowl with a day’s food supply expecting the cat to come back to it. This will not only encourage flies, but discourage the cat who is a fastidious feeder and expects, and deserves, to receive his rations in a freshly washed bowl.

The cat is predominantly a flesh-eating animal whose diet should consist mainly of meat or boiled fish. Many cats prefer fish, which ideally should be boned. Not all cats share my own pet’s liking for kipper heads and tails!

Meat can be given cooked, or raw, according to preference, but start as you mean to go on. The cat weaned on cooked meat may well turn his nose up when his dinner is served raw! Whatever you do, make sure that the meat is minced, or chopped into small pieces, as cats’ teeth are designed for tearing rather than chewing; they also have a small mouth.

And if you don’t want your cat to leave home, it’s advisable to vary his menu. A weekly treat of lightly cooked liver or boiled rabbit will be appreciated; so will horse flesh, tripe and hearts. Some cats enjoy milky foods such as cereal and rice puddings and the occasional cat has a sweet tooth.

Always leave a fresh supply of water for your cat. Some enjoy a saucer of weak tea. My own Siamese is thoroughly spoilt and receives the cream from the top of the milk. If I don’t bring the milk in before he gets to it I find the bottle top deftly hooked off and the cream sunk to a questionable level! There are cat owners who say that cats need only water, others who insist that a saucerful of milk be given each day. I should leave it up to the cat!

Cat lovers will do everything for their pets, but there is one thing many of them do not know and that is how to feed them correctly. A survey by the Pedigree Petfoods Education Centre recently showed that the majority of cat keepers hadn’t a clue how much food they should give their pets, even if they knew what to feed them on. If you feed your cat on scraps from the dining table and the odd saucer of milk he may survive, but he certainly won’t be getting the balanced diet that he needs to keep him in good health.

Nowadays a very large proportion of pet owners feed their pets on specially selected canned, or dry foods, which have been scientifically prepared to contain all the nutritional requirements of the animal, proving a boon to the busy owners who may not have much time to spend in the kitchen, but still want to do the very best for their cat.

You have the choice of giving a fully grown cat a handy sized can, roughly 182-189g (6te-63/40z) of a branded meaty product; half this portion again if he’s a big cat and goes in for a lot of exertion. Or you can offer a meat and liver in gravy product, or a complete cat food containing energy food as well as meat, fish or liver. There are also convenient soft, moist cat foods which provide a balanced diet, and complete, ‘dry’ feeds which may be moistened with water, or milk, if the owner wishes. If you feed a complete, dry feed, do ensure that your cat has an ample supply of drinking water or milk.

By feeding good branded products you can be certain that your cat is getting all the minerals and vitamins – including the all-important thiamine -needed for perfect health.

These foods are better balanced and more complete diets that many human beings get. They not only meet your cat’s nutritional requirements but have been tested to meet a cat’s ‘taste’ in flavour and texture.

A question asked by many cat lovers is – can you give a cat bread and vegetables as well as cat food? Yes, you can add a little bread or breakfast cereal to meaty products, but you don’t really need to. And remember, a cat cannot take in a lot of starchy foods or roughage in the shape of green vegetables.

Water intake and the feeding of cats and dogs

While pet owners take great care over the feeding of their pets, they are possibly less conscientious about a pet’s drinking needs. ‘Should any water be given, together with the meal?’ or, ‘Doesn’t my pet drink to much if it has free access to water?’ are typical and frequent questions. They indicate a lack of knowledge not only on the amount of water needed, but also on the role of this key ingredient.

To be able to answer this type of consumer question in a serious manner, a series of tests on the water intake of cats and dogs were conducted by the Animal Studies Centre of Pedigree Petfoods Ltd. In these tests commercially available pet food products with varying moisture levels were offered to pets. The ad libitum water intake (water drunk at will) and the amount of urine produced were recorded.

Table 1 demonstrates clearly that during this test the dogs operated a careful control over their water balance. The less water they obtained with their food, the more water they drank. They did it so well that the total water intake with all five foods was very similar. The results of a similar experiment with cats were then compared to the results with the dogs (Table 2).

In contrast to the dogs, the total intake of cats decreased with a lowered level of food moisture, although the amount of fresh water they drank increased dramatically. How then, could the cats finally control their water balance when they did not take sufficient water on a dry diet? An answer to this question may be seen in table 3.

With decreasing food moisture and lowered total water intake per day the urine volume per day also decreases. This suggests that the cat, having been a desert animal originally, controls its water balance not by water intake, but by adjusting its urine output appropriately.

Fresh water should be available at all times to cats and dogs. They will not drink too much at any one time if they can drink whenever they wish.

TABLE 1. Effect of various food types on the water intake of dogs

Food type

Canned

Mixture of canned product & biscuit Semi-moist (1) Semi-moist (2) Dry

 

Mean water

Mean amount

Mean total

Moisture

intake via

of water

of water

level in %

food (ml)

drunk (ml)

intake (ml)

73-1

1353

825

2178

64-5

924

1367

2291

20-9

133

2107

2240

15-2

77

2021

2098

91

48

1894

1942

TABLE 2. Effect of various food types on the water intake of cats

Food type

Mean water Mean amount Mean total
Moisture intake via of water of water

level in % food (ml) drunk (ml) intake (ml)

Canned

83-6

240

26

266

Semi-moist

29-5

22

198

220

Dry

7-4

5

179

184

TABLE 3. Dependency of urine volume on food type in cats

Food type

Moisture Total water intake Urine volume

level in % per day (ml) per day (ml)

Canned

83-6

266

194

Semi-moist

29-5

220

162

Dry

7-4

184

132

100 ml is equivalent to 4 fl oz or 14 pint.