Here you will find some basic but vital starting points to start your cat dietary knowledge base off. What substances they should be avoiding, water intake, healthy diets, and dental hygiene.
Things to Avoid
If you have plants in your home, you should avoid: Lillies, daffodils, and tulips.
Some cat friendly plants that you could use for decoration include: bamboo, spider plants, and roses.
Many essential oils and liquid potpourri are harmful to cats.
They contain chemicals that can be absorbed quickly through the skin or orally.
Very young cats and kittens are especially sensitive to the effects of essential oils.
Paracetamol or other OTC human medication could be mistakenly given to cats by their owners.
If left lying about in an unsafe place, it could be something that they find their way into and accidentally ingest.
It is a mild painkiller for humans. However for cats, it is very toxic.
They can’t break it down in the same way that we can, so the toxins produced can cause serious damage to their liver.
Onions contain compounds called ‘disulfides’ and ‘thiosulphates’. If ingested this can be toxic to cats, causing damage to their red blood cells.
Raisins and also grapes can lead to rapid development of kidney failure in cats. Even a small amount can make them very ill.
It is important to keep them in a safe place (such as the fridge) where they can’t get to them.
And also maybe consider eating them in a different room, in case they try to swipe them out of your hand!
Natural and plant based cleaning products are much safer for your cat to be around. They don’t contain the harsher chemicals.
However, it is still important to be mindful that even these products might not be 100% safe for cats.
Ensure everything has been wiped down and dried, and that there are no spillages anywhere of the cleaning product.
This reduces the risk of cats licking that area and ingesting the substance.
Dry food is better for the dental health of cats. It means there is less plaque build up on the teeth.
It is also more cost effective as it has a longer shelf life. Due to the lack of water in the food, it retains more nutrients.
There are also some brands that create a special diet specifically for indoor cats that contain lower calories.
This helps them to not gain too much weight as they won’t have the same amount of space and exercise as their outdoor counterparts.
Wet food can be particularly tasty, which is ideal if you have a very fussy cat.
There is a vast range to choose from, allowing owners to ‘mix n match’ to find out which ones your cat loves the most.
Due to the water content in wet food, this will also increase their daily water intake, helping to keep them more hydrated.
Indoor, male, neutered cats are more prone to urinary crystals and blocked bladders. Which is why wet food is especially ideal for these cats to help increase the amount of liquid in their diets.
The Milk Myth
Growing up watching many cat cartoons and films, it was often depicted that their main liquid to drink was milk.
This is a myth!
Kittens need milk for the first 8-12 weeks, but this should be from the mother and not standard cows milk.
This is because cats are lactose intolerant.
Cow’s milk can cause digestive issues.
It is also very high in calories which could result in weight gain – especially if its an elderly cat who doesn’t get much exercise.
So…Balanced or Not?
Now you know some of the basic dietary knowledge! Balanced or not? Really, it is up to you (and what your cat will eat).
A lot of owners like to offer a variety. This can create a more interesting feeding time and give your cat something else to look forward to.
For example, it is quite popular for owners to feed their cats on a mainly dry food diet, with some added wet food a few times a week to create a bit more variety.
This increases the water intake as previously mentioned, and also just gives them something tastier to chomp on!
This is also a cost effective method as it means the pouches aren’t being used everyday, so not as many need to be purchased.
Some cats might also be very fussy and will turn their nose up at certain dry foods. More often than not they will probably indulge in most types of wet food.
So all in all, it is really up to you and what your budget can afford.