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Matching Food to Your Feline

By Darcy Lockman

Matching Food to Your Feline

With so many commercial specialty foods on the market, choosing the right one for your furry friend can be a challenge. Bernadine Cruz, DVM, a specialist in feline nutrition, can help you take some of the guesswork and time-consuming research out of feeding your feline. Read on to discover the ideal food for your cat.

If your cat is like Freddy, a middle-aged American shorthair with an eye for the ladies and a big appetite…
Freddy is 3 pounds overweight. When not eating or flirting, Freddy is usually found draped over the family room sofa, enjoying a snooze.

…then you need to feed indoor weight and hairball care.
Cats like Freddy should first undergo a medical exam to ensure there are no underlying health issues. The best thing to do for the chunky kitty is offer portion control and increased exercise as well as feed a weight loss formula with hairball control. The extra fiber in this type of food catches the hair and moves it through the digestive tract. In Freddy’s case, the fiber will help him to feel fuller. The weight control formulas have L-carnitine, which will help Freddy to burn fat.

If your cat is like Sasha, a 4-month-old tabby and a ball of energy with two speeds, fast forward and fast asleep…
She barely has time to finish a meal before she’s either a) in motion or b) in dreamland.

…then you need to feed kitten formula.
Kittens are constantly growing and need a high-quality, calorie-dense food so that every bite has a lot of nutrition. At the same time, you want to be careful not to overfeed. Fat kittens will have weight issues into adulthood. You want to be able to feel your kitten’s ribs with slight pressure on the body and see a little waistline. Metabolism slows down once a kitten is spayed or neutered, so stop feeding kitten formula at that time.

If your cat is like Bernard, a 6-year-old calico who often spends time guarding his home, including his feline housemate Stella…
Stella, who is younger than Bernard, is usually too busy doing her own thing to bother paying much mind to Bernard’s preoccupation with the front door.

…then you need to feed multi-cat food.
This is great for any household with more than one cat. It has enough nutrients for adult cats of all weights and L-carnitine to burn fat in case any of the cats have a weight problem. Multi-cat food will also manage hairball issues, which arise from grooming -- something cats in multi-cat households may end up doing more of. The crunch of the kibble will also keep tartar and bad breath at bay.

If your cat is like Pouncer, a 9-year-old mixed breed whose stomach has become increasingly sensitive with age as evidenced by a whole host of litter box problems…
She eats slowly and sleeps soundly.

…then you need to feed a digestive care formula or a veterinary formula.
First, try a digestive care formula from your local pet store. If that does not solve the problem, a veterinary formula may be in order. Veterinary formulas treat a host of issues, from inflammatory bowel disease to allergies. These formulas have to be purchased at the doctor’s office. It may take some trial and error to find the right food, but your cat’s veterinarian will work with you to do this.

If your cat is like 2-year-old Rose, a pregnant mixed breed still relatively active, stalking the halls of the home each night…
She won’t say who the father is.

…then you need to feed kitten formula.
Kitten food is good for pregnant cats because they need the extra calories, fat and protein to maintain a healthy body condition throughout pregnancy and while  nursing. As her kittens grow and are weaned, mom should go back to her regular food, as we don’t want her to become rotund.

“I’ve been a veterinarian for over 20 years, and I’m always amazed at the effect that feeding the right nutrition can have on your pet,” says Dr. Cruz. If you keep her advice in mind, the next time you shop for cat food, selecting the right one for your pet can be as easy as lamb and rice pie.

Darcy Lockman is a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based freelance writer and frequent contributor to The Daily Cat. Her work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times and Rolling Stone.

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Posted on June 8, 2012

Fernanda says: I always feed any knitets we have Purina Kitten Chow up to a year old. My veternarian explained to me that knitets need all the nutrients in kitten food until adult age, right around 1. Then I've started mine on various foods. Cat Chow (blue bag) is a very good one but we use Purina One Urinary Tract Formula because we have a cat who has urinary problems. And they're all fine with that food. I don't use Iams. Too many recalls on some of their food so I just flat out don't trust it. We've used Pro-Plan foods as well.

Posted on June 8, 2012

Kinga says: It's not advised but I ssoppue it's okay if you intend on her being a house cat. If she's going outside, then she needs to be spayed and have the correct shots otherwise you'll be facing bigger health concerns and much larger bills.Just do it and get it over with. You'll be thankful in the long run.

Posted on June 8, 2012

Dje says: The best thing you can do is ask your vet, who knows your cat's medical hroisty and needs. The best foods for your cat honestly are the best ones. You should take a stroll down the cat food shelf and see what's available. Just for the record, I have a cat who will be 2 in September, and I give her Nutroae Natural Choiceae which is one of the higher-end brands but it's only about $9 a bag. That brand has indoor cat formulas, outdoor cat formulas, senior cat, kitten, etc ..specifically tailored to meet the needs of all different kinds of cats. It has an Overall Rating of 4.8 (out of 5) and a Pet Rating of 4.7 (out of 5) so apparently it's meeting everybody's needs!

Posted on March 18, 2012

Ilmer says: Kitten food does not harm adult cats, but it contains pertty much more> of everything that gives cats energy, mostly fat and protein. Giving> kitten food all the time will lead to a very fat cat. Long-term, there> may be problems with kidney failure, diabetes, etc because it is not> balanced for adult cats, especially ones that are 5-9 yrs old. I suggest> giving it only as a treat, as your cat should be eating an adult food> everyday as his main source of food. Also, try to make sure that he eats> more dry food than moist food, or he will end up like the cat I saw last> week who had to have all her teeth pulled due to rot at age 3. Poor> thing. When your cat reaches 9 or starts to become less active, make> sure he is eating a less-active or senior formula cat food to keep his> health up and his obesity down. I know from experience that my cat loves> having canned food as a treat, especially when we buy a new brand; it> tastes different so they like it. I know I would if I ate the same stuff> day in and day out! Anyhow, keep up the good work with your 20yrs of cat> experience. I'm sure this one will live a happy healthy life whether he> eats kitten food or not. Good luck. I just resorted to mixing the kitten kibble with my almost 1-yearold'snormal cat chow because I couldn't keep her out of it and she'dchase our kitty away from his bowl to get at his food. Since doingthis I've had no problems feeding them both and she has left hisdish alone in favor for hers which makes me breathe a little easierknowing he's now getting the food that he needs. I also supplementwith a little bit of canned food which they both share from the sameplate it's so cute to see them eat together

Posted on June 15, 2009

ellie sennit says: i do not think she eats enough

Posted on July 5, 2009

Rose Marie Jackson says: My tabby gets fed three times a day - 1/4 cup in the morning, 1/4 cup at 4:30p and 1/4 cup at 9pm before I go to bed. He has no problem finishing the bowl within 10minutes. I feed him Science diet - indoor cat formula, Eukanuba - indoor food and one other kind which I just finished the bag so I don't have the name. The vet we see likes to have him stay at an ideal weight for his age but I find I can't get my tabby content after finishing eating. Is there a trick to doing this or is there a brand of food that will keep him full till the next feeding. Please let me know. Thanks

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