How to properly feed a cat? There are many theories about this. Finally, scientists took the floor. An interesting article with the opinion of experts (American Association of Feline Practitioners - AAFP) was published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.
With cats, there's a lot of talk about what to feed them. What diet is good, what is bad, what foods meet the nutritional requirements and what are contrary to them. In this lively discussion of the type of food, however, one issue is usually overlooked: how the food is served. This is the aspect that the researchers focused on in the work entitled: "Cat Nutrition Models: Meeting Behavioral Needs to Improve Feline Health and Wellbeing". This is because it is as important an issue as the type of selected nutrition model itself.
Meeting your cat's natural eating behavior and environmental needs can positively impact their physical and emotional well-being. Moreover - it is a prerequisite for this!
According to the researchers, medical, social and emotional problems can be directly related to the way cats are fed. Stress, boredom, overeating followed by vomiting, obesity and related diseases all lead to serious medical conditions and behavioral problems. Changing the way your cat is fed can help prevent them.
The statement describes the natural eating behavior of cats. The authors remind that cats are predators whose vast majority of their diet is meat. Cat prey are small and have a low caloric density. This makes the flies eat little, but often. Hunting is carried out several times a day and costs the cat a lot of energy, although it is mostly lurked rather than chased. The home environment does not allow cats to properly meet these nutritional needs. However, we as guardians can do a lot to help your cat live in harmony with nature.
Unfortunately, cats that do not go out in terms of nutrition depend one hundred percent on humans. They are often fed together with other cats at the same place and at the same time. They receive large amounts of food once or twice a day without taking into account their individual energy needs. This type of feeding definitely does not meet the behavioral needs of cats.
Easy access to resources means that the cat does not have to make any hunting attempts to meet its basic needs. Consequently, the cat is not challenged and has little physical activity.
The goal of a proper feeding program should be to mimic the cat's natural feeding behavior. Change the way you feed your pets - not drastically, of course. Cats love routine and find it hard to accept news. Modifications should be made gradually. So how to properly feed your cat?
A cat is a hunter who derives great satisfaction from success. Let him hunt for his dinner, or at least… he has that impression. Put the bowl in a different place than usual, let the cat smell the food and find it himself. You can also put the food (in this case dry) in a "ball-tasty" - a toy from which the cat has to draw food itself. Using this type of feeder and hiding "victims" around the house increases the cat's physical and intellectual activity. See HERE how to construct a simple cat feeder yourself.
Cats are lonely hunters - they also prefer to eat their prey in isolation. If your cats eat together, that doesn't mean they wouldn't prefer to be able to do it alone. That's just their nature! Forcing the purr to eat near another cat, which she does not like too much, disrupts the proper eating process. It causes anxiety and stress. If cats are not their fans, they may eat in a hurry and in excess, which may result in vomiting. Another option is that the dominated cat will not eat because of fear or lack of access to food.
Cats should be fed where they feel safe. Therefore, give them a little more space when feeding. One bowl for two pets is not allowed. The rivalry that continues during such a joint meal is not good for anyone. Separate pets while feeding. Have them eat in two different parts of the room.
Additionally, remember that feeding stations should not be near the litter box or bowl of water.
If you feed your cat once or twice a day, you are definitely going against its nature. Cats have small stomachs and relatively short digestive tracts. This makes them unable to fill up on stock. Portions should be small and served more often - even about 5 times a day. Also for reasons of hydration. Since cats get most of their water from their food, they should not be deprived of it for most of the day.
If a cat is bored and doesn't have much to do, eating can become an activity in itself. Even in outgoing cats, still available food can lead to excess caloric intake and obesity.
A full bowl of caloric crisps makes the cat overeat. In addition, food that has been waiting for a long time for the gourmand loses its taste and aroma. Pour in as much food as the purr should eat at once. Still available food discourages play and hunting. Why do this when the bowl is full?
Proper feeding of your cat should be based on many small meals a day. It is worth serving them in special feeders or toys that will force the animal to be active and give a substitute for hunting. The feeding place should be changed frequently and the cat should have many different points of access to drinking water at home, the article reads.
How to properly feed a cat? Scientists have repeatedly emphasized that in the case of cats, not only the type of food, but also the way it is administered, is of great importance to the health of these animals. Trying to reproduce the natural food intake strategies of cats as closely as possible will certainly have a positive effect on their condition. Allowing cats to feed according to their instincts can also eliminate many health or behavior problems.
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