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CATS - NUTRITION

Content Image Factors to consider when choosing a cat food
Published 2010/12/09

When selecting an appropriate food for your cat, you should consider:

• Cat’ s Characteristics: Age, Stage of life, Level of activity and his health status (allergies, chronic diseases, etc);

• Food Characteristics (if it is adequate for your cat’s nutritional requirements): Ingredients, Energy Density, Palatability (taste) and Acceptability.

Food Types

There are different categories of food according to their processing method and moisture content; the dry foods and the canned foods.

Dry diets

Most dry adult cat foods contain 26% or more protein, 9% or more fat, less than 12% moisture. These diets deliver between 3 250 and 4 500 kilocalories (kcal) per kilogram of product. The most common type of food fed available today is Extruded.

Canned diets

Total food consumption is high because of the low caloric content and its high humidity content. These diets offer a higher palatability and a higher cost per serving when compared to the dry products. In addition, canned foods are less convenient to serve than other food types. Once a can is opened, unused food should be stored in the refrigerator.

How much to feed?

The best determinant of the amount of food to feed is the cat himself. Food intake in all animals is governed principally by energy requirements. When you give your cat a quality, balanced and complete food and base the portions on the feeding guidelines, your animal should receive all the essential elements (Protein, fat, vitamins and minerals) that he needs. That is why owners should select a quantity of food based primarily on the pet's weight and body condition.

• Cats gaining too much weight (energy surplus), the amount should be decreased.

• Cats loosing weight, an increased amount of food should be provided.

Commercial pet foods that are sold for particular life stages or lifestyles are formulated to contain the proper amount of essential nutrients that meets the cat's energy requirement when a certain quantity is fed. Balancing energy density with nutrient content ensures that when a cat's caloric needs are met, its needs for all other essential nutrients will be met by the same quantity of food. Therefore, the best way to determine how much to feed a particular cat is first to estimate the animal's energy needs, then calculate the amount of an appropriate food that must be fed to meet that need, or refer to the feeding guidelines on the bag of food, based on the ideal weight of your pet. Commercial complete and balanced foods are made to meet all of your pet’s nutritional requirements. Table scarps, extra treats and vitamins and mineral supplements are not necessary and they could even do some harm.

Click on any of the 1stChoice pet foods within our product section to see the feeding guidelines associated to it.

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