You might think fat cats are cute and cuddly, but as a pet owner it’s your responsibility to understand how much, and what, you should be feeding your animal to keep them fit and well
- The most important thing to remember is that cats are carnivores, meaning that a meaty diet is biologically appropriate for them. Many of today’s pet foods are high in carbohydrates – but overconsumption of foods like this can lead to blood sugar fluctuations, insulin resistance, and are widely considered as a leading cause of obesity, diabetes and a host of other health problems in cats and dogs. You should feed your cat a diet which is low in carbohydrates and has a concentration and variety of minimally processed meats and fats from animal sources.
- Leading on from the above, always make sure you look at the ingredients in cat food. We’re used to doing it with our own food but many of us neglect to do the same with the food our pets consume. At Scampers we try and make it as easy as possible to understand the products you’re feeding your pets by displaying the ingredients clearly on the shelf – but we’re quite unique in this respect, so it’s down to you to make an effort to understand the jargon on the packaging and make an informed choice.
- Understanding the packaging on pet food can, however, be easier said than done. As with human food labelling, manufacturers need to stick to ‘minimum percentage’ guidelines, which work like this: if the packaging says ‘chicken and rice’, the named meat content is 26%, but if it says ‘rich in’, the minimum is just 14%. Be even more wary of terms such as ‘flavoured with’, or simply ‘with’, which will contain a minimum of just 4% – a pitifully small amount to be feeding a naturally carnivorous animal.
- In addition to feeding your cat properly, exercise is key, just like when we humans want to get into tip-top shape. We might think cats are lazy and enjoy nothing more than rolling around all day, but they should be active and as a pet owner, it’s your job to help them. So, play with your cat more using cat teasers, laser pointers or even just a straw. That will get them running around, pouncing, jumping and burning calories.
- Examine your cat’s body condition, which will help you to ascertain whether it is a healthy weight. Look down at your cat – you should be able to see a waist when you look down on it from the top, and feel an indentation when you run your hands from its ribs to its hips. If you put your hands on the side of its chest, you should be able to feel its ribs without a thick layer of fat over them.
- If you’re doing everything right, or your animal barely seems to be eating what you feed it and is still gaining weight, then you might have to look at other factors – might the neighbours be feeding him or her, for example?
Scampers Natural Pet Store is located on the A142 Soham By Pass, between Ely and Newmarket and only 15 miles from Cambridge.
Scampers, Your Pet’s Natural Choice.
Copy reproduced courtesy of Nicola Foley / Cambridge Edition magazine.