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Ever wondered if popcorn harmful to your cat? Read our article to find out…

Can Cats Eat Popcorn?

Ever wondered if popcorn harmful to your cat? Read our article to find out…

Years ago I had a cat that would go bananas over popcorn. She would cry and mew until I gave in and tossed her a few kernels of the crunchy stuff. But was I doing her a favor, or worse yet, actually causing her harm?

Can cats eat popcorn? The answer isn’t clear-cut.

Read on for some facts about feeding popcorn to our feline friends.

Cats and Popcorn

As a general rule-of-paw, feeding young kittens or senior cats popcorn is not recommended as it can pose a choking hazard. However, for those adult felines, popcorn may not be harmful (in its purest form), but it also doesn’t provide any nutritional benefits.

Yes, you may add corn as an additive in your pet’s daily kibble, but this is used by manufacturers as a cheap way to “bulk up” the food. Too much corn (or filler) in a cat’s diet can lead to skin conditions, a dry coat and flaky skin. Your cat may also pack on those unwanted pounds as corn is a carb that is quickly converted to sugar in the body.

That being said, corn isn’t all “evil.” It does contain small amounts of fiber, B vitamins, iron and protein, just not enough to sustain a healthy body.

Watch Out For Toxic Additives

Plain popcorn isn’t bad for our felines (in small amounts) it’s the additives that can be dangerous and even toxic. These include brands that add in onion and garlic powders. Too much salt and butter and especially those artificial kinds of butter that the microwavable varieties tend to add can also cause stomach upset.

You will also want to avoid gourmet popcorn that uses chocolate, candy coatings, caramel or heavy process cheeses. These can all be harmful to your feline friend.

Cats and Popcorn in a Nutshell

The aroma of corn turning in the microwave was all it took for my fur baby to start her popcorn “dance.” Fortunately, she never suffered any adverse effects from her mooching. If you have a popcorn kitty, limit her to a few pieces and be sure it doesn’t have any potentially harmful additives.

And even though popcorn may be alright for cats on occasion, be sure to inspect the kernel to ensure it is fully popped before you toss it onto the floor for Fluffy. Half-popped corn can be difficult for your cat to chew and pass through her intestinal system.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is your cat can enjoy popcorn. Make it plain, fully popped and only a few at a time to ensure her treat stays safe and fun.

Ever wondered if pizza is harmful to your cat? Read our article to find out…

Can Cats Eat Pizza?

Ever wondered if pizza is harmful to your cat? Read our article to find out…

There’s nothing quite like a pizza dripping with hot cheese and meaty toppings. But despite those YouTube videos that have been getting the “clicks,” is allowing our feline friends to indulge in the “za” a good thing?

Can cats eat pizza? Read on…

Cats and Pizza

As a general rule-of-paw, pizza is one of those foods that if your cat were to steal a nibble, it probably wouldn’t do any harm. However, that being said, pizza, in general, is not a healthy snack for a cat.

First off, most animals are lactose intolerant, meaning they lack the ability to break down this ingredient found in all dairy products, including cheese. Too much cheese (and dairy) can lead to stomach upset, diarrhea and vomiting.

Second, the yeast found in pizza dough is another ingredient that most cats have a hard time digesting. Although the occasional tidbit of bread is okay for your pet, the raw dough can cause serious health issues. Even the tiniest bit of raw dough will continue to rise in your cat’s stomach which will cause bloating and a possible blockage.

Third, the sauce itself is a big no-no, in fact, all plants from the nightshade family (including tomatoes) can cause death to a family pet.

And these are just the beginning…

Watch Out for Those Added Toxins

Whether you add it to the pizza itself or it’s in the sauce, both garlic and onions can be toxic to cats. When eaten in large enough quantities your feline could experience damage to his red blood cells which can lead to anemia.

Another unhealthy pizza additive is the processed meats such as pepperoni and bacon. These are high in fat, salt, and grease which could give your pet an upset stomach. Too much of this type of meat could also lead to weight gain and eventual obesity. This, in turn, increases your cat’s chances of getting diabetes and heart disease.

Conclusion

With all the choices we have when it comes to feeding our cats there’s really no need to take the chance with pizza. The cheese, sauce, and meats can all be potentially dangerous and even toxic to a feline’s system, so stick to the kitty kibble to ensure your fur baby stays happy and healthy.

Ever wondered if peanuts are harmful to your cat? Read our article to find out…

Can Cats Eat Peanuts?

Ever wondered if peanuts are harmful to your cat? Read our article to find out…

When we think of foods that our cats may enjoy, peanuts probably aren’t the first thing to pop into our mind. But what happens if a peanut is dropped on the floor and gobbled up by a curious pet?

Although the peanut is not toxic to the feline species, there are some things to consider when answering the question of can cats eat peanuts?

Cats and Peanuts

Even though the peanut is technically not a nut, but rather a legume (as it is harvested from just beneath the ground), it’s by far the most popular “nut” consumed worldwide  For humans, the peanut is an extremely healthy and convenient snack food. It is loaded with protein and the “good fats” we always hear about.

However, when it comes to cats and peanuts, the protein and healthy fats don’t count for much. The feline species is not built to break down plant matter as they are considered to be carnivores so that an odd peanut will have no health benefits.

That being stated, if one were to be eaten by your cat, he or she will most likely suffer no adverse effects.

Watch Out For…

Of course, like all foreign foods that we introduce to our pets, we must be deliberate in how the food is prepared and presented to the cat. Never give your feline friend peanuts that have been coated in seasonings, especially those that contain onion or garlic powders. These can cause damage to the red blood cells, which could lead to anemia.

Another no-no is candy-coated and chocolate covered peanuts. Candy is high in sugar and chocolate contains theobromine a compound that can cause a number of health issues.

You will also want to avoid giving your cat any part of the peanut’s shell. This tough outer layer can pose a choking hazard.

Cats and Peanuts in a Nutshell

Cats and peanuts in a nutshell (no pun intended) could be considered an okay snack occasionally. If you choose to give your cat a peanut, be sure it is plain and unsalted. You may also want to dice it or chop it up for easy chewing.

If your cat experiences vomiting or diarrhea from eating a peanut, it could be an inability to digest it properly, and you will want to steer clear of giving your feline any more.

The one thing I have found my cats doing is playing with the peanuts when they are still in the shell; they make excellent “chasers,” and my felines are happy just to bat them around until something else becomes more interesting.

The Bottom Line

Although the bottom line is that peanuts are not toxic to cats, there is really no benefit to feeding them this handy snack food. If your feline munches on the occasional stray peanut, he will most likely be satisfied with just the one. However, be sure to pick up all dropped peanuts that have seasoning, candy or chocolate coatings, as these can be toxic.

Ever wondered if bread harmful to your cat? Read our article to find out…

Can Cats Eat Bread?

Ever wondered if bread harmful to your cat? Read our article to find out…

Bread. It may be a big or small part of your daily diet (depending on how many carbs you are consuming). It comes in a variety of flavors and consistencies and can be baked fresh or bought pre-packaged. But is this tasty staple good for our pets? In particular, can cats eat bread?

Read on for the answer and some facts about feeding it to our feline friends.

Bread is made up of flour in one form or another, with white being the most common. Commercially produced white bread contains, on average, 80% carbohydrates, 10% fats, and 10% protein, which is okay for humans. However, since our cats are carnivores, that low percentage of “meat” is not going to benefit them in any way, shape or form. In fact, too much carbs (whether for cats or humans) can pack on those unwanted pounds.

Watch Out For Toxic Additives

Giving our fur baby a nibble of plain bread every now-and-again won’t do him any harm, but watch out for toxic additives such as;

  • Onions – this veggie contains a chemical known as thiosulphate, which can cause damage to your cat’s red blood cells. This condition is called hemolytic anemia.
  • Garlic – can cause the same damage to your cat’s red blood cells as the onion.
  • Raisins – although more toxic to the canine species, both raisins and grapes may lead to kidney failure.
  • Cheese – most cats are lactose intolerant which could lead to vomiting and diarrhea.

Another danger to cats is eating raw dough. This is because the yeast that makes the dough rise will still be active in your cat’s stomach. As it continues to swell, it can cause a blockage, which could lead to death if left untreated.

Cats and Bread In a Nutshell – the Cons

A diet high in bread is not suitable for cats. In fact, the cons of feeding it to our feline friends far outweigh the pros including:

  1. It is high in sugar and salt
  2. Eating large quantities can lead to obesity
  3. Store-bought bread contains a lot of preservatives
  4. It does not contain taurine a vital amino acid which helps prevent tooth decay, blindness and even heart failure in the feline species.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is your cat can’t live on bread as it lacks the proper protein, vitamins, and minerals to sustain a healthy life. However, giving Fluffy a nibble of plain bread once-in-awhile is perfectly fine, just be sure to watch out for any of those toxic additives. If you’re a baker that loves fresh bread, put the rising dough well out of reach of your curious cat to avoid a trip to the vet’s office.

How to tell if your cat is drinking enough and what to do about it.

Cat Not Drinking Water

How to tell if your cat is drinking enough and what to do about it.

It may be difficult to tell on a day-to-day basis if your cat is drinking enough water until dehydration sets in. If your cat is not drinking water it is most likely being caused by a serious underlying health issue and should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

In this post we are going to cover dehydration in cats, the symptoms and some preventive measures to keep a healthy cat drinking water.

What is Dehydration?

According to WebMD, dehydration is defined as an imbalance of water and electrolytes (or minerals) in an animal or person’s body.

The cat’s body is made up of 80% water, which is responsible for keeping it’s circulatory system, cell processes,
digestion and waste elimination in a healthy state. Dehydration sets in when your cat’s normal levels of water drops below the 80% mark.

What Causes Dehydration in Cats?

There are a number of reasons why your cat may become dehydrated. These include;

  • Increased urination
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive heat/perspiration

If your cat has experienced any of these symptoms, it could become dehydrated very quickly.

What Are the Symptoms of Dehydration in Cats

If you’re concerned about dehydration in your cat, check for these symptoms;

  • Loss of appetite
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Depression
  • Lehargy
  • Decreased skin elasticity
  • Increased heart rate
  • Panting

How Much Water Does My Cat Need?

A general rule to judging your cat’s water intake is an adult feline should be drinking the same amount of water in milliliters as the number of kilocalories consumed each day.

If your cat is on a dry-only kibble diet it will need more water to process the food through its digestive tract – most dry kibbles only offer from 7% to 12% water. Wet food, on-the-other paw, usually contains around of 80% moisture so your cat will be getting more water intake by simply eating a quality wet cat food.

What Cats Are More Likely to Dehydrate?

Any cat can suffer from dehydration if they’ve gone through any of the above circumstances. However, senior cats, those that suffer from diabetes, kidney disease, cancer or hyperthyroidism and nursing females are more prone to becoming dehydrated.

How Can I Prevent Dehydration in My Cat?

Cats should have fresh clean water available to them at all times. Some cats can get very picky about their water bowls, so daily changing of the water and cleaning of the bowl should be maintained.

If you notice your cat is pawing at the water in the dish, it may be because he can’t judge the level it’s at. Cat’s have great peripheral vision but lack somewhat on the straight forward. If this describes your feline, try a water fountain that continues to circulate the water. Sometimes the movement of the water will be all he needs. Plus, most of these units come with filters to take out the “chemical junk” that can be found in most tap water.

Did your cat recently have diarrhea or vomiting? It may be difficult to get Kitty back to the bowls, so try an ice cube to encourage her to lap up the moisture, then small amounts of water at regular intervals during the day.

Travelling with a cat is generally stressful on your feline and could lead to motion sickness (vomiting, legarthy etc.) Even if this occurs, make sure your cat has access to water, especially after the trip has been completed.

A Cat Not Drinking Water Can Be Serious

If your cat is taking in less water or has stopped drinking completely, be sure to call your veterinarian. Catching dehydration in it’s beginning stages could mean the difference between the life and the demise of your feline friend.

Is your cat underweight – 6 ways to find out and tips to get some fat on the cat.

Why Is My Cat So Skinny?

Why Is My Cat So Skinny?

It can be difficult to determine what a “normal” weight for a cat should be due to varying breed specifications; however, if you can see your cat’s ribs or hip bones he is probably too thin.

There are many reasons which could be causing your feline to be underweight. Read on to discover some of the common issues to help you answer the question of, ‘why is my cat so skinny?’ Also read our article on how to fatten up a cat for tips on putting some weight on the kitty.

1. Finicky for Cleanliness

Cats are known to be finicky, especially when it comes to their dietary choices. One day they will gobble up their food, while the next day they may leave us pet parents scratching our heads while we watch Kitty turn her nose up in disdain. Sure, a change in food could be the culprit, but sometimes your cat’s fussiness could simply be due to its propensity to eat out of a freshly cleaned dish.

Before each meal, especially is wet food is involved, give your cat’s dish a quick rinse to remove any old stuck on food. This may be all it takes to give Kitty back her appetite.

In addition, the ASPCA recommends never putting your cat’s food and water dish near the litter box. We most likely wouldn’t want to eat near a bathroom and neither do our cats.

2. Stress and Anxiety

If there’s been a lot of commotion in your home or the addition of a new family member (animal or human) this could be affecting your cat’s stress levels. If this describes your situation, be sure to give your furbaby a private place to unwind and to eat without interruption.

Cats can also develop anorexia (refusal to eat). But unlike the human condition that is usually started by a body-image issue, cats can become anorexic due to underlying health issues such as diabetes, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism or even asthma. If you think your cat may be suffering from any of these conditions, be sure to seek veterinary attention.

3. Gastrointestinal Issues/Parasites

If you’ve recently changed your cat’s food or she has gotten into something she shouldn’t have, these can lead to gastrointestinal upset, which is usually accompanied by vomiting and/or diarrhea.

However, if everything has been fine with Kitty’s appetite and she’s still dropping those pounds, she may have a case of intestinal parasites. This can include the commonly found roundworm or even a tapeworm. Both of these parasites will require you to bring a fresh stool sample to your veterinarian for testing (see our article on the cost to deworm a cat). If worms are present, your cat will be given a medication to rid her body of these nutrient-sucking parasites.

4. Dental Issues

If you’ve ever had a toothache then you know how difficult it is to eat or to even muster up an appetite. Cats that develop gum or teeth issues will refuse to eat, plus they may be drooling and rubbing at their mouth area. Take Kitty to the vet to see if there is a tooth-issue that needs to be taken care of.

5. Senior Cats

Just like some senior humans, as cats age their appetites can change. This may be due to a decrease in their sense of smell, dental issues or the lack of movement which results in a lower caloric intake. Some senior cats can also suffer from constipation making it more difficult to have an appetite. Talk with your veterinarian about having your senior cat checked over for health issues and perhaps a change in his diet.

6. Cancer

A steady decline in your cat’s weight could mean there is a serious health issue like cancer. The best thing you can do is catch this ailment early and follow a treatment plan laid out by your cat’s vet.

Is My Cat Underweight?

If you’re not sure if your cat is underweight, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and visit your veterinarian for a diagnosis and a plan to get Kitty back on track. Her skinniness could be rectified as easily as a dietary change, but if there is something more serious going on, it’s always best to have caught it early.

Is your cat too thin? Read on to find some simple solutions to Kitty's supermodel-slender situation and how to help your cat gain weight

How to Fatten Up a Cat

How to Fatten Up a Cat

Is your cat too thin? Does she need to put a little “plump on her rump?” Then read on to find some simple solutions to Kitty’s supermodel-slender situation and how to help your cat gain weight.

Before we go through the different options, the first thing to try in most cases is protein-rich wet cat food. A good option is the Purina Fancy Feast (see prices and customer reviews).

Why is Your Cat Thin?

The first thing you should do is find out why your cat is so thin? If your feline is older he may be suffering from hyperthyroidism. According to WebMD this condition is characterised by an excessive concentration of the thyroid hormone known as thyroxine-a. Another health issue, diabetes, can also cause excessive weight loss in cats. A simple blood test by your veterinarian can determine if your cat is suffering from either of these conditions.

Does your cat spend time outdoors? Then she may have picked up an intestinal parasite that is leaching the nutrients from her digestive tract. Again, a visit to your veterinarian (with a fresh stool sample from your feline for testing) can determine if she has worms.

If you have a younger cat or a kitten, she may be just burning off more calories that she’s taking in. However, before you make any dietary changes, be sure to consult with your veterinarian to rule out a health problem.

High Protein Cat Kibble

To help your cat gain weight you may want to consider a dry kibble dietary change. Some lower-end cat foods are loaded with inferior products such as corn and the meat has been sourced from slaughter house rejects, dead zoo animals and even road kill. These ingredients offer no nutritional support for your cat and will affect the way it looks, feels and processes its food.

To avoid these types of foods, read the label on the side of the bag for the nutritional makeup of the kibble. The first ingredient listed should be a pure protein source like beef, chicken, salmon etc. not a meat by-product or a grain. Cats also cannot manufacture taurine in their bodies, so be sure this important mineral has been added into the food.

As stated above, we recommend you try the Purina Fancy Feast to begin with.

Kitten Kibble Is an Option

You can help your cat gain weight by feeding him food made specifically for kittens. This kibble is higher in protein and calories and is traditionally used for kittens during the first year of their lives to help them grow and develop properly. But again, be sure to purchase the best quality kitten kibble you can afford. A good place to start is the Purina Pro Plan Focus Kitten Canned Cat Food.

Ad Canned Cat Food to kibble

Most cats love the flavors, smell and textures of canned cat food. To help your cat gain some much needed weight, add a tablespoon or two to her kibble. This will help finicky eaters be more enticed to indulge in meal times, which will eventually add some weight to her frame. However, just like dry kibble, be sure the canned food contains whole proteins as the main ingredient, not grain or by-product fillers. These “junky” additives will help your cat feel full, but will do nothing for her overall health.

Try Some Pantry Items

Another helpful way to help your cat gain weight is to look to your pantry items. These can include;

  • Canned sardines and mackerel (packed in water with no salt added)
  • Scrambled eggs (no butter or salt)
  • Plain yogurt (in small quantities as it can give your cat diarrhea)

All these foods provide your cat with a big protein boost and will help supplement her daily kibble diet.

Food to Avoid

We as good pet parents may want to share everything on our plates with a mooching cat, but there are some foods that should be avoided whether you have a skinny or fat cat. These include;

  • Raw Eggs. In this form eggs contain avidin (a protein) which can interfere with the absorption of Vitamin B.
  • Canned Tuna. A steady diet of canned tuna can lead to malnutrition.
  • Can give kittens and cats diarrhea.
  • Onions/Garlic/Chives. These in any form can break down your cat’s red blood cells which will cause
  • Grapes/Raisins. Can cause kidney failure.
  • Even food containing alcohol can be dangerous to a cat. In fact, just three teaspoons of whiskey can kill a five pound feline.
  • Coffee/Tea/Cola. Any beverage that contains caffeine can be detrimental to a cat’s health.
  • Contains theobromine which can lead to death in cats (and other animals).
  • Yeast Dough. Even a bit of ingested yeast dough will continue to rise in your cat’s stomach causing severe pain. In addition, the fermentation process creates alcohol which can lead to death.
  • Found in sugar-free candy, gum and toothpastes.

Too Skinny to Just Right

When you begin the process of fattening up your cat, do so with caution. You want Kitty to go from too skinny to just right, not too skinny to too fat. Monitor your cat’s daily intake of calories and when she has become pleasant plump and at a healthy weight, don’t add in any more extra indulgences. If you need help finding the right balance for your feline friend, don’t hesitate to consult with your veterinarian.

Find out how much wet food to feed a kitten per day and some other important considerations for feeding a kitten.

How Much Wet Food to Feed a Kitten Per Day?

How Much Wet Food to Feed a Kitten Per Day

One of the most important decisions you will make in the lifetime of your kitten is to decide on its nutritional needs. This may not always be a simple choice since there are so many options available to the discerning pet parent today.

In this article we are not only going to cover how much wet food to feed a kitten per day, but we will also discuss the differences in food quality and what you should look for when choosing a brand.

Protein for Taurine

According to PetEducation, there are some key ingredients your kitten will need. First of all, cats at any stage of life are carnivores, so their diets need to be filled with a good-quality protein. This can be sourced from meat, poultry or fish.

Protein is essential in the development of muscles, tissues and the brain function of your feline. In addition, taurine is vital to the health and well being of the feline species. This amino acid cannot be manufactured in this animal’s body, so it must be utilized from its dietary intake. Where is taurine best utilized from? You guessed it. In meat, fish and poultry.

According to PetMD, a lack of this important amino acid could lead to a taurine deficiency in your cat which will affect its heart, eyes and brain.

How to Shop for a Wet Cat Food

When choosing any cat food, whether it be wet, dry or semi-moist, the first ingredient should be a good quality protein sourced from a real meat, not a meat by-product. Also avoid foods that contain a lot of grain or fillers as these are cheap substitutes that companies use to bulk up the food, rather than use good nutritional ingredients.

It’s recommended to feed the best food your budget will allow. Quality wet cat food will not only keep your cat fuller for longer (cutting down on the portion sizes) but will aid in its digestion, give it a healthier coat and help prevent many diseases. In addition, be sure to choose a cat food that is specifically made for kittens. Kitten food is higher in protein, providing your fur baby with the added nutrients and energy it needs to grow and be active.

How Much to Feed a Kitten Per Day

There’s no one answer to the question. This all depends on the age, size, individual cat and if it is it’s only dietary option.

Generally, growing kittens should be on a schedule. This allows you to control his dietary intake (which becomes more important later on in life) to avoid becoming overweight.

Your kitten should eat three times-per-day; morning, afternoon and evening. Read the package to determine what it recommends per-pound, per-day then divide that portion up into three equal meals.

The label is a good starting point when determining how much wet food to feed a kitten per day, but your individual cat will tell you if it’s too much or too little. For example, if he is gobbling up his food and always seems hungry with little to no weight gain, you may want to increase the amount and conversely offer less if he’s beginning to gain too much weight. Also take into account whether your kitten is too lean or perhaps even too chubby (which is very rare for kittens). If she needs a bit more weight see our tips on how to fatten up a cat.

A Final Note

Cats that eat a consistent diet of wet food should be given daily crunchy treats to help reduce the amount of tartar build up on their teeth. Some pet parents also opt to mix a wet food into the dry kibble for both moisture and an extra kick or protein.

The wet versus dry cat food debate has been going on for years, but science has discovered what cats crave and need to sustain a long healthy life.

Wet vs Dry Cat Food

Wet vs Dry Cat Food

Unlike humans and dogs, cats are purely carnivores. This means they cannot survive on a diet that isn't protein-loaded. In the wild, cats will hunt, kill and eat their prey which gives them all the nutrients they will ever need. However, once domesticated, we don't necessarily want our feline friends hunting for their dinner. This is where a good commercial brand of food enters into play.

But how do we know what type of food to feed them?

The wet versus dry cat food debate has been going on for years, but science has discovered what cats crave and need to sustain a long healthy life. In this article we are going to explore the basic dietary needs of a cat and the pros and cons of both wet and dry commercial cat foods.

What Your Cat Needs

There are five essential ingredients that every cat needs. Whether you feed your cat wet, dry or a mixture of both, these requirements should be met in your cat's daily diet.

Protein

Protein is an essential nutrient as it contains amino acids. According to the Feline Nutrition Foundation amino acids are the foundation of a healthy immune system, are responsible for the manufacturing of antibodies and tissues and helps regulate hormones in your pet's body for a healthy ph level. In addition, amino acids are also essential for the proper growth and development of all cats.

Complete proteins are found in many sources like fish, poultry, beef, meat and eggs. Avoid foods which are loaded with grain fillers such as wheat, rice, corn etc. These ingredients do not provide the necessary amino acids that cat's need, such as taurine, which can only be utilized from a complete protein source.

Fats

Although we hear a lot of bad news about fat in our diets, there are healthy fats that our feline friends need to be active and healthy. They fall under the categories of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

These fats are actually utilized in our pet's body before protein and carbohydrates and provide animals with energy, and the normal development and function of muscles, nerves, body cells and tissues. In a cat food, fatty acids may be listed as "vitamin F."

In addition, these omega-3 fatty acids should be included in a dry cat food;

● Alpha-linolenic acid

● Eicosapentaenoic acid

● Docosahexaenoic acid

Omega-6 fatty acids that should be included in a commercial cat food are;

● Linoleic acids

● Gamma-linolenic acid

● Arachidonic acid

● Conjugated linoleic acid.

Minerals

Just like every living creature there are very specific minerals our cats need on a daily basis. These are responsible for enzyme formation, pH balance, nutrient utilization and the transportation of oxygen throughout the body. Minerals are stored in the bones and muscle tissue and depend greatly on the source from which they are from.

Minerals in cat food should include (in alphabetical order);

● Calcium

● Chloride

● Chromium

● Cobalt

● Copper

● Fluorine

● Iodine

● Iron

● Magnesium

● Manganese

● Molybdenum

● Phosphorous

● Potassium

● Selenium

● Silicon

● Sodium

● Sulfur

● Zinc

Vitamins

Along with minerals are vitamins. Vitamins fall under two categories; fat soluble and water soluble. Both types of vitamins are crucial to the normal growth of your feline, as well as to regulate metabolism.

Fat soluble vitamins are those that are stored in the body. These include vitamins A, D, E and K. Water soluble vitamins, on the other hand, pass through the animal's system during urination. These vitamins include C and B complex.

Cats being carnivores can utilize the vitamins found in a good protein source, over those found in plant sources.

Water

Every living creature needs water to survive. You should always have fresh water available at all times for your cat. If you are on well water or in a city that adds fluoride to the tap water, be sure to only use filtered or bottled water for your pets, as these additives can be dangerous to an animal's system.

Wet Food vs Dry Cat Food - How Do I Choose?

Now that we've covered the essentials of the cat's dietary needs, we find ourselves in the debate over which food is better; wet or dry?

Top-of-the-line commercial cat foods advertise that they are "complete and balanced," but are they really? And can a cat really get the full benefits of all its nutritional needs from just one type of food? Here are the basics...

Wet Cat Food

In the wild when cats consume prey it is about 70% moisture. Wet cat food, or those that are found in cans or pouches, contain about 78% moisture. Water/moisture is vitally important for your cat's urinary tract health and it's general well being. In most cases the best way to help the cat gain weight.

According to Catster, cats that consume wet food on a daily basis only need to drink about ½ cup of water for every 10 pounds of body weight during a 24 hour-period. Whereas, dry-food-only-eaters will need to double that intake daily.

Pros

Cons

● Great for cats that are reluctant to drink enough water

● Comes in a wide variety of flavors and mixtures (pate, chunks, sliced, grilled etc.)

● Excellent source of protein and is usually made from an animal-based protein

● Strong in aroma; good for cats that are sick or reluctant to eat

● Soft food is easier to digest

● Wet food is good for cats with dental problems like missing teeth

● Low in carbohydrates

● Shorter shelf life

● Needs to be refrigerated after opening

● May cause dental issues and plaque build-up

● Cat may not eat dry food once it has been fed a diet of wet food.

● May be more pricey in the long run

Dry Cat Food

Dry cat food seems to dominate the pet retailer's shelves. There are many choices of dry kibble that come in any flavor. However, before you purchase a dry kibble as your cat's only diet source, be sure to read the label. Is the food loaded with grains, fillers and by-products? If so, choose another brand that lists complete-proteins (chicken, fish, beef, turkey etc.) as it's first ingredients. Grains, which are used as cheap fillers, have no nutritional value to your cat's health, and by-products are just that, inferior product leftover from the tissue and muscle used for human consumption. Be sure to choose a brand that is listing meat as it's main source and has a minimum amount of by-products and fillers.

Pros

Cons

● Convenient to store and feed

● Has longer shelf-life

● Can be left out for free-feeding

● Cleans away plaque and tartar build-up

● More economical

● Wide variety of textures and shapes

● Low moisture content at only 10%

● May not be as palatable to picky-eaters

● Lower percentage of meat-based protein

● Tends to be higher in carbohydrates/grains

The Final Decision?

We only want what's best for our beloved furbabies, so when deciding which type of food best suits your cat's individual needs and your own lifestyle, you will want to take all this information into careful consideration. Some pet parents don't make an exclusive choice on the wet/dry issue, but rather mix in some wet food to the dry kibble, or leave out the dry food to free feed when needed, while supplementing their cat's diet with a bit of wet food once or twice a day.

Whether you decide to feed your cat wet food, dry food or a mixture of both, be sure to choose a quality product. Inferior cat foods will save you money today, but in the long run, your cat could suffer from health issues that may have been prevented with a higher-quality diet.

Iron deficiency can cause severe symptoms for your cat. Find out how to tell if your cat is suffering from this and what to do about it.

Iron Supplements for Cats

Cat eating

According to veterinary science, when your cat is iron deficient it will affect the production of red blood cells. Red blood cells naturally occur through the marrow of the bones. Without the sufficient amount of iron, these red blood cells will be too small and will lack the oxygen-carrying properties to be productive. For this reason your feline may need to have an iron supplement to help boost its red cell count.

Iron's Role in the Health of Cats

It may be a "small" mineral, but iron plays a vital role in keeping our feline's healthy. As we mentioned earlier it is the main "ingredient" that helps boost hemoglobin (blood) along with copper. But it also carries with it specific enzymes that are needed to keep the cat's body functioning on a normal level.

Iron is absorbed through the cat's small intestine. It can be found in sources like lean meats, legumes, liver, fish and whole grains. Most well-balanced, high quality cat foods have your cat's daily requirements of this mineral at a ratio of 36.4 mg of iron per pound of food eaten. However, since red blood cells only live for 110 days, they will need to be replaced on a constant basis. If your cat isn't eating well or has other underlying health issues, its iron levels and red blood cells may be affected.

What Can Cause Iron Loss?

Science has discovered that fifty percent of kittens between the ages of five and ten weeks-old are anemic. However, it is a transient condition that will rectify itself as the kitten begins to ingest a high protein solid diet, which usually begins around four to five weeks-of-age.

There are conditions in adult cats that can lead to anemia and low iron. They include;

Kidney Failure: Chronic kidney disease will reduce the production of the hormone erythropoietin, which stimulates the bone marrow to make more red blood cells.

Heinz Body Anemia: A condition in which the oxidation of the red blood cell is interfered with, creating a low blood cell count.

Blood Parasites: An infection inside the blood cell.

FeLV-infected cats: Viral cat disease.

Blood-sucking Parasites: Infestation of fleas, ticks or hookworm. Especially in kittens.

Trauma: Hit by a car etc.

Inherited Anemia Deficiency: Passed on from one or both parents.

Symptoms of Low Iron in Cats

The following symptoms in your cat may indicate that it is iron deficient and anemic;

● Weakness

● Legarthy

● Depression

● Pale gums and tongue

● Rapid breathing

● Loss of appetite

Low body weight/not growing

● Increased susceptibility to disease

If your cat is exhibiting any of these symptoms, be sure to make an appointment with your vet, as anemia and iron deficiency can be fatal if left untreated.

How is Iron Supplemented?

Once your veterinarian has run some tests to be sure your cat is indeed lacking in iron, he or she will prescribe a treatment plan depending on the severity of your cat's condition.

Injectable Iron is done through a syringe and put directly into your cat's vein or done through an IV bag over a longer period-of-time. Injectable iron will need to be done by your vet on a monthly basis until the issue is resolved.

Liquid Iron is given as an oral supplement. Along with the iron, some of these liquids contain other vitamins such as B-complex and amino acids.

A high caloric dietary supplement is not a direct iron supplement per say, but it does help increase the appetite of both cats and kittens, which may be enough to boost the iron levels through high quality nutrition alone.

Blood Transfusions are for those severely anemic cats that need an immediate boost of red blood cells or death will be imminent.

A Few Words of Caution When Using Iron Supplements

Before you supplement your cat with iron, be sure to contact your veterinarian for a diagnosis and a treatment plan. Just as too little iron is bad for your cat's health, so is too much (iron toxicity). The decision to give your cat iron must be done through the expert hands of a trained professional with weekly, bimonthly or monthly checkups and blood work to monitor your cat's condition. Never give your cat any supplement without first contacting your vet.