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It’s that time of year again; the time when most people make resolutions to eat healthier, among other things. When it comes to healthy eating, many people try to increase their fruit and veggie intake while lowering carbs and boosting the lean meats.
These are all great for the good health of you, but what about your cat? Is a change in order? Should you switch to a healthier diet, or go with a natural cat food? What you need to know about fruits, veggies, whole grains, and meat for your fabulous feline.
Fabulous Fruits And Vegetables
It’s true: fruits and vegetables are not only good for you, they are good for your cat. Adding a few of these items to her daily meal is a great way to give her a nutrition boost, especially if she’s a picky eater. It is important to remember that cats are carnivores; this means that her diet needs to be primarily based on meat. Putting your cat on a strict vegetarian diet will do her more harm than good unless she has trouble with meat and the veterinarian specifically alters her diet because of it.
There are certain fruits and veggies that you should never feed your cat, such as grapes, raisins, and onions. But the best fruits and veggies to feed your cat are:
- Carrots. Cook them until they are soft and cut them up so that they are easy to swallow and digest. Carrots are an excellent source of beta-carotene and other antioxidant vitamins and minerals.
- Broccoli. These little green powerhouses are great for satisfying your kitty’s plant-eating curiosity. Plus, they are full of antioxidants that can boost her health.
- Squash. Winter squash especially is good for your cat’s digestion, as it contains a bacteria that can regulate stools.
- Apples. You know what they say about having one-a-day! Apples provide an excellent source of pectin, a water- soluble fiber.
- Cranberries. These berries are known to kill bacteria that cause urinary tract infections, as well as bacteria that causes tooth decay. They are also high in vitamin C, vitamin E, and fiber.
- Blueberries. Your cat can benefit from the antioxidant power in blueberries that has been known to fight heart disease, cancer, and dementia.
A few of the brands out there who lean toward a natural cat food approach contain plenty of these fruits and vegetables, including (but not limited to):
- Natural Balance Trout Salmon Meal and Whitefish
- Solid Gold Indigo Moon All Life Stages
- Artemis Fresh Mix Weight Management
- Blue Buffalo Indoor Health Adult Salmon
The Truth About Grains And Other Carbohydrates
When it comes to whole grains and carbohydrates in your cat’s diet, you should try to educate yourself on the good, the bad, and the ugly. Are grains bad for your cat? Some are, some are not, and some could be. Are carbohydrates bad for your cat? Some are okay because they digest easier, while others are difficult to digest and can lead to weight gain. For example:
- Whole wheat. This is an energy-filled carbohydrate with very little nutritional value. It is mainly used as a filler. However, it can also cause trouble with your cat’s digestion.
- Sweet potatoes. A carbohydrate that actually provides plenty of potassium, vitamin B, and beta carotene.
White potatoes. This is a complex carb, so it is easier to digest than simple carbs. It is often found in grain-free cat food as a filler. Too much can lead to weight gain.
- Barley. This is a starchy carbohydrate that is full of fiber, which is good for your cat. It can also assist with stabilizing blood sugar and is easy for most cats to digest.
- Brown rice. This is a great source of Omega-6, manganese, and selenium. It is more nutritious than white rice and has easier digestibility.
No matter what kind of carb you have in your kitty’s diet, we all know that since a cat’s main source of energy comes from meat, they need to consume higher amounts of proteins than carbohydrates. Studies have shown that when cats are restricted to a high-carb diet, they don’t get enough protein to meet their daily needs, which leads us to our next section.
The Real Natural Cat Food; A Carnivore’s Dream
There is no question that meat should be the main source of your cat’s diet. When we say meat, we also mean fish and poultry. Cats are born and bred to love meat and their bodies need it for optimum functioning. This is why we feel that meat is the real-deal when it comes to natural cat food. It should be the first ingredient on your cat food bag, can, box, or whatever the packaging your cat’s meal comes in. In fact, you should see a few forms of meat within the first 5 ingredients on your list. Whole meats, such as chicken or fish, and products made of “meal” are wonderful to see. Don’t be afraid of “meal” (such as chicken meal or salmon meal); these are excellent sources of meat protein. Meat meal means the moisture was removed prior to cooking, so meal actually has a higher protein percentage and provides more beneficial nutrients to your cat than whole cuts.
Some meat-filled brands to try would be:
- By Nature 95% Salmon, Mackerel & Sardines
- Addiction Safari Buffalo Meatloaf
- Nature’s Variety Duck Meal & Turkey Meal
- Orijen Six Fish
Word to the wise: stay away from any kind of meat by-product. Though it provides a very high amount of meat protein, by-products are made from carcasses and parts of carcasses from slaughterhouses, animal shelters, zoos and veterinarians that are unfit for human consumption. If you do see a by-product, be sure it comes from a reputable company.
Have a happy and healthy new year for you and your cat by feeding her the best and most natural cat food you can find.