Whether you’ve rescued an older cat or added a new kitten to the family, it’s important to their health to consider their dietary needs before grabbing a random bag of cat food from the grocery store shelf and leaving a big bowl out for them to feed on as they please. Let’s take a closer look at how to determine the best feeding schedule for your furry friend.
Hard vs. Soft Cat Food
The type of food that’s best for your cat will depend on their dental and gastrointestinal health. Some cats have an easier time chewing and digesting soft foods, while others are better suited with hard food. If your cat is missing any teeth or has declining oral health due to old age or disease, it’s likely safer to go with a soft food that will be easier on their teeth and gums.
Special Dietary Needs
Cats, like humans, can have sensitivities to certain ingredients, so it’s important to watch your cat or kitten when you begin feeding them a new diet. If you notice any of the following behavioral changes in your feline friend within the first few days or the week you introduce different food, share your concerns with your local veterinarian so that you can determine a more tummy-friendly diet:
- Change in bowel habits (frequency, consistency, etc.)
- Frequent meowing
- Avoiding feedings or meals
- Excessive thirst
Having a Feeding Schedule for Your Cat vs. Letting Them Roam
Because cats are often very independent creatures, many owners opt to leave hard food out for their furry companions in an open container. This allows their cat to graze and eat when they get hungry, rather than making them wait for set feeding times throughout the day. This might work perfectly for your cat, but it also can cause overeating and lead to an overweight cat, so it’s important to ensure your cat is in good health if you choose this feeding option.
With soft food, it’s not advisable to leave it out in a dish for your cat for long periods of time, as soft food items tend to collect bacteria quicker than hard pellets. Softer foods often require refrigeration when not in use, so letting them sit at room temperature can cause them to change consistency as well, which may be unappetizing to your cat and lead them to avoid their food.
Get Expert Help with Your Cat’s Diet and Digestive Health
Here at Catonsville Cat Clinic, we are experts in feline health and can work with you to figure out the best diet and feeding schedule that will suit your cat specifically. Give us a call today to schedule a wellness check-up and find out your cat or kitten’s health condition in order to set up the perfect feeding regimen for your companion.