Everyone has an opinion or idea of what they think they should feed their cat or kitten. Whether it is milk or fish or chicken or supermarket cat food, the options are exhaustive. In fact there is such a vast amount of information it can be overwhelming and confusing for cat owners. This article aims to demystify things it for you so you can make an informed decision.
Check out our list of the Best Cat Food and Best Kitten Food at the end of this article.
Cats are Meat Eaters
Cats are meat eaters. As carnivores they must have meat protein to maintain their health. There are cheap cat food options but to ensure you cat has a long healthy life it is important you choose a good quality food. Cat food is produced for age groups and it is important you choose the food that is for your cat’s age as it has been designed for their optimal health. Sometimes cats require special diets such as urinary tract cat food or sensitive skin. If you are not sure you can always seek advice from your vet or via our Online Vet. They can determine the health of your cat and what the best diet is for them but if they haven’t had any health concerns you can start with a diet that is designed for their age.
How much should I feed my cat?
This is a very important question to ask so you avoid having an overweight cat. Your cat’s weight, age and size are key determinants in how much food they will need. Just like humans each cat’ body works a little differently so if you are getting advice from a friend, what they feed their cat may not be the right amount for yours. Being careful to avoid having an overweight cat is extremely important to your cat living a longer life. One of the other most critical things is to ensure your cat always has plenty of clean water to drink. Checking their water daily will ensure they have sufficient water and also it is clean and fresh.
Can I feed my cat a vegan diet?
Humans can survive quite well on a vegan diet as they can consume many alternate protein sources. However, our feline friends are not able to eat the same items as we can and will perish if fed a vegan diet. As carnivores they must have meat as it will provide the nutrients they need to survive and thrive.
Meat does not mean only red meat. How many times have you heard someone refer to their tuna lunch as “cat food”? A lot of cat’s love fish but it is not something they should eat daily. High levels of fatty acids, contained in fish, can cause a deficiency in vitamin E in your cat. Moderation is warranted. We recommend focusing on a mainly dry cat food diet with some wet food and a little raw meat such as raw chicken wings.
Is Cat Milk Good for Cats?
We have grown up seeing kittens drinking milk on TV all the time so it is no wonder we all think that is what cats and kittens should be given. Let us dispel that myth as milk is not at all good for cats. It can cause stomach upsets, cramps and diarrhoea. One of the most common misconceptions is that all milk is good for cats! Milk can be high in fat, in fact one saucer of milk is the equivalent of four burgers (based on a 4.5kg cat and an average size woman) – but giving your cat ordinary cows’ milk can also cause upset tummies, cramps and even severe diarrhoea.
A relatively unknown fact is that most cats are lactose intolerant. This means that when a cat drinks milk the undigested lactose passes through their digestive system drawing water from their intestines. Cats and kittens are unable to pass lactose easily through their intestines and then into the bloodstream, so it essentially gets stuck in the intestines causing pain and discomfort. In extreme cases of diarrhea it can also be fatal for kittens.
If you really want to give your cat or kitten milk we recommend one specifically developed for felines, like this Whiskas one, and only in moderation.
The Best Cat and Kitten Food by Age
Just as with growing children it is important to give your kitten the right diet to allow them to grow strong and healthy. this includes making sure their bones and joints grow well so issues arising with age are minimized. Starting from this young age, and continuing throughout their life, kittens should be given a well balanced and good quality dry kitten food.
Our top 5 recommended best dry cat food for kittens are:
- Purina ONE Natural Dry Kitten Food
- Purina Kitten Chow Nurturing Formula Dry Cat Food
- Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Dry Food for Young Kittens
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Natural Kitten Dry Cat Food
- Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Kitten, Indoor, Chicken Recipe
It is a good idea to introduce raw chicken wings to your kitten so they learn to enjoy them. Raw meat is a good source of protein and chewing on raw bones is good for their teeth. It is important, however to wait until they are at least 20 weeks of age before introducing raw meat as their immune system is still developing. Never give your kitten cooked bones as they can break into splinters and, when swallowed, cause internal damage.
If you would prefer to use tinned foods occasionally here are our top 5 recommended best wet cat food for kittens:
- Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Kitten Food Variety Pack
- Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Thin Slices in Gravy Wet Kitten Food
- Purina ONE Grain Free Natural Pate Wet Kitten Food
- Iams Perfect Portions Healthy Kitten Grain Free Wet Cat Food
- Wellness Natural Grain Free Wet Cat Food for Kittens
As with kittens your adult cat needs a good quality dry cat food as the base of its diet. If your cat seems to have health issues you should consult your vet, or our Online Vet, in case your cat needs a special diet. For most cats a good quality dry food will provide them with the nutrition they need for a healthy life.
Providing your cat with some raw chicken wings will not only give them more protein but help with their teeth. If decide to provide any fresh meat products to your cat please make sure it is fit for human consumption as tht will ensure it does not contain any preservatives which may be harmful to your furry friend.
Our top 5 recommended best dry food for adult cats are:
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Natural Adult Dry Cat Food
- Iams Proactive Health Adult Dry Cat Food with Chicken
- Purina ONE Natural Dry Cat Food
- Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food Adult Perfect Weight
- Royal Canin Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food
For those preferring to add a wet food to the diet, here are our top 5 recommended best wet food for adult cats:
- Hill’s Science Diet Wet Cat Food Adult Minced Savory
- Purina Fancy Feast Wet Cat Food Variety Pack
- Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Natural Adult Flaked Wet Cat Food
- Hill’s Science Diet Wet Cat Food Adult Healthy Cuisine
- Iams Perfect Portions Healthy Adult Grain Free Wet Cat Food
Senior, or older, cats
As your cat ages you will need to adjust what they eat to make sure they maintain their health and limit issues which may arise. Age can change how your cat’s body processes their food and what type of diet they need. Unlike when your cat is younger, as a senior cat they may benefit from having more wet food than they have had previously. This will help them to maintain their fluid intake. It may be prudent to check with your vet, or our Online Vet, if you are not sure what type of diet to put your older cat on.
As with our recommendations for kittens and adult cats, whatever diet your cat is on should be good quality so it provides the nutrients they need to keep them healthy. Your older cat may become less active so being aware of the amount of food you are feeding them will be important so you don’t end up with an overweight cat. Whilst obesity is one thing to watch you need to ensure you do not underfeed your older cat as they can have equally harmful effects on their health. As they age your cat may prefer to eat more, smaller sized, meals each day so try to do that where possible. If your cat eats smaller meals more frequency it can aid in better urinary tract health. If you are ever in doubt you should consult a veterinarian.
Our top 5 recommended best dry cat food for senior cats are:
- Blue Buffalo Healthy Aging Natural Mature Dry Cat Food
- Iams Proactive Healthy Senior Dry Cat Food with Chicken
- Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food Adult 11+
- Purina ONE Natural Senior Dry Cat Food
- NUTRO Wholesome Essentials Natural Dry Cat Food
As mentioned your older cat will need more wet food to assist with fluid intake so here is our top 5 recommended best wet at food for senior cats:
- Purina Pro Plan Senior Pate Wet Cat Food
- Royal Canin Aging 12+ Thin Slices in Gravy Wet Cat Food
- Hill’s Science Diet Wet Cat Food Adult 11+
- Purina Friskies Natural Grain Free Senior Broth
- Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Natural Mature Pate
Your Cat is Not a Human
Lastly a little reminder that your cat is not human. It’s dietary needs are different to ours so it is important to make sure you feed your cat a well balanced good quality cat food plus some raw meat. If you are ever unsure whether your cat needs a different diet you should consult your vet. Most cats live healthy uncomplicated lives with the right diet for their age.