The Major Foods (Cat - Diet)

A well-thought-out diet is welcomed

So many different foods are available that the suitable combinations are numberless. I shall therefore deal only with the main kinds.

Canned food
These products consist of meat and/or fish, salts, jellying agents, vitamins, colouring chemicals, preservatives, sugar, water, and sometimes cereals. The advantages of canned food is that it is very nutritious. Its disadvantages is that it is relatively expensive.

Canned food is popular and nourishing. It is also practical, stores well and is sterile. The brands available today cater to finicky cats – and their owners.

To all cats, water is both an essential and fascinating element.

You are buying a fair quantity of water, particularly where the “jelly” is much in evidence. Also, the canning and storage time may result in a drastic reduction of the vitamin level, particularly heat-unstable vitamins such as vitamin B.

Soft-moist products
There look good, taste not quite so good and contain meat, soya bean, fats, vitamins, preservatives, colouring chemicals and often thickening agents and sugar.
Advantages: Like canned foods, they are usually very nutritious and can make up a large proportion of the diet; you are buying less hidden water than is often the case with canned food, and they can be stored reasonably well.
Disadvantages: They are expensive, do not store as well as canned or dry food, and are generally too low in fat.

Soft-moist products are nutritious but low in fat

Dry food
There mini-biscuits contain cereals, fish, meat, yeast, vitamins, fats, and colouring agents.
Advantages: Many kinds are fairly well balanced, they are cheaper and contain less water than canned or soft-moist food, store well and are pleasant to handle. They combat tartar.
Disadvantages: They are frequently much too low in fat content for cats and if fed as the only food have been suspected of causing bladder problems and difficulty in passing urine. Their low water content, with the salt analysis of some brands, may produce “sludge” in the cat’s urine, which can block up the animal’s waterworks. Where much dry food is fed, adequate fresh water must be available at all times and, best of all, the pellets may be moistened with gravy, milk or water. Use dry foods sparingly if at all for cats with a history of urinary troubles. Probably the best rule is to give some dry food all cats but as part of a varied menu.

Most cats like these mini-biscuits

This may be beef, lamb, or pig. Except for pork, which must be cooked, it is good to give minced raw meat occasionally. Get it from the butchers, not from the knacker’s yard where it is likely to be cheap but teeming with bacteria. Cooked meats should be baked or grilled rater than boiled, to retain nutrients and taste juices. If meat is boiled, however, the water should be seasoned and used as a gravy on some drier item of food. Offal (lungs, tripe, udder, etc.) should always be cooked. All cooked meat should be cut into small cubes.

Scraps of cooked birds left over from the family table provide food pickings for puss. Few humans pick a chicken clean of such parts as the kidneys or person’s nose, which are greatly prized by cats. Most bird bones are very splintery and should on no account be fed to your pet.

The same holds true for rabbit as for poultry.

Eggs are a good source of protein, but are better fed cooked and chopped rather than raw. Egg white should never be fed raw, since it contains a chemical which neutralizes an essential B vitamin. A total of two eggs per week is the maximum for a cat. Separated egg yolks can be given more often if you wish.

Not all cats like milk. If yours does not drink milk, why worry? Water is always necessary for cats, but milk is not. Some cats cannot digest the milk sugar (lactose) in cow’s milk and get diarrhea after drinking it.

This is an excellent source of protein, either raw, in which case it should be grated or cubed, or cooked with some other item.

Fres food, a little and often, is best

Fresh fish, chopped and boned if from a species larger than a herring, is admirable up to once or twice a week. In Britain fist is often fed raw, but in America it is generally cooked. Cooked fist is better steamed or baked rather than boiled, again to retain maximum nutrients. Canned fish such as sardines can be given whether in oil or tomato sauce. The oil has a beneficial effect on the bowels and helps to dispel stomach fur balls that sometime accumulate particularly in longhaired cats. Diets composed of nothing but fish are unbalanced and tend eventually to produce problem as the gat grows older. However, it is not true to say, as some books do and as folklore sometimes has it, that too much fish releases poisons or causes the disease named “fish eczema”.

Boiled potato can be added to meat or fish, forming up to about one-third of a meal. Start a cat early on such things as cooked greens, boiled young spinach, scrapped raw carrot, peas, etc.

Starchy foods
Crumbled, toasted bread can be used like potato and mixed with gravy or fish stock, as can pasta such as macaroni, spaghetti, or noodles. Cereals can also be fed to cats. Cornflakes, wheat flakes, porridge or baby cereal can all be used with milk, particularly for the first meal of the day and for kittens.

If your cat fancies the occasional segment of tangerine or slice of apple (and it is surprising how many do – particularly Siamese), good for it! It is thought, incidentally, that seventy-five percent of al cats are partial to the odd sweet grape.

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