Tips on how to Feed Cats: Are We Doing It Unsuitable?


We’re feeding our cats all mistaken. And so they’re paying a price for it. To be clear, I’m not diving into what we feed our cats; that is about easy methods to feed cats.

Most cat parents free feed their cats, which isn’t ideal. Photography ©HASLOO | Thinkstock.

How we feed cats now — and what’s so mistaken about it

Most cat caretakers feed their cats from bowls. And most of those free feed, leaving food out 24/7. The concept is that cats don’t naturally scarf down meals unexpectedly — and that’s true. They catch what they’ll once they can.

Nonetheless, given the open buffet, most cats eat unnaturally large meals unexpectedly after which return for much more. Perhaps, exasperating the difficulty is that the majority cats have little else to do but eat.

In keeping with the American Veterinary Medical Association, nearly all of individuals who have a cat even have, on average, just over two cats. With two cats or more in a house, it’s difficult to gauge which cat is eating more. Though it’s possible you’ll figure it out when eventually the veterinarian says, “My, lovely Susie here has gained 2 kilos since her last visit.”

And cats, being cats, are excellent trainers of humans; they train us to maintain filling the food dish.

Feeding exclusively moist food doesn’t solve the issue. Caretakers put down the food at prescribed times, the cats eat it and it’s over. To survive outside, cats catch somewhere around eight to 13 small prey in a day. The edible contents of the typical mouse or bird is about one to 2 tablespoons, not a heaping one-half cup at a time.

You see, cats are born with a prey drive and are hardwired to hunt, hunt and pounce. In our homes, we don’t give them the chance. Absolutely, having toys to chase or pounce is mandatory. Still, it’s not the identical as looking for a meal.

Researchers have studied how community cats and barn cats naturally spend time. In keeping with “Behaviour and ecology of free-ranging female farm cats,” International Journal Behavioural Biology Ethology, Panaman, R. 1981, outdoor cats rest or sleep lots — in any case, they’re cats, at 62 percent of the day. Much of that resting time occurs after the series of looking for, hunting and feeding, which accounts for 19 percent. (The remaining time is spent grooming or playing.) Various other studies confirm similar data.

Domestic cats, like their big cat cousins, are used to looking for their food. Photography ©Blickwinkel | Alamy Stock Photo.

Cats are used to looking for their food

Inside our homes, looking for the food is predictable and doesn’t account for time or effort; hunting isn’t mandatory, though actually there’s feeding — quite a lot of feeding. Partially, it explains why 59 percent of cats are obese or obese (Association for Pet Obesity Prevention).

I suggest that by offering food on a silver platter or bowl, we’re not allowing cats to be cats. There’s mounting evidence that demonstrates many animals would slightly work for food — contra- freeloading — than have it offered freely. To this point, studies have been limited to some zoo animals and lab rodents, but when the grizzly bears, meerkats and rats studied prefer to labor to get their meals, why not cats and dogs?

What’s more, not having the ability to get your hands on and capture a meal appears to be stressful to cats. Dr. Tony Buffington (then on the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine and now a clinical professor volunteer on the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and honorary research fellow at University of Bristol, School of Veterinary Sciences) discovered a dull, unenriched life is anxiety inducing in cats.

Feeding our cats appropriately is simply one means to counterpoint lives, but simply because a cat is scarfing down food doesn’t mean there isn’t mounting anxiety. In some cats, this chronic stress results in what has been coined idiopathic feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD). Now Buffington calls this greatly stress-induced illness Pandora’s Syndrome. Over time, numerous medications have been tried and all without much success. Nonetheless, Buffington discovered that providing structure and an enriched environment can solve the issue — or prevent it in the primary place.

When ordering the Indoor Cat Feeder, use the discount code CATSWINN to support the nonprofit Winn Feline Foundation. Photography by Casey Elise Photography.

Tips on how to feed cats: activate their prey drive

Some veterinary behaviorists and cat behavior consultants have been talking about creating ways for cats to activate their prey drive indoors. Dr. Elizabeth Bales put all of the science together and created the Indoor Cat Feeder.

The feeding system includes objects resembling mice, which kibble is deposited into. The dispensers consist of a soft outer skin to simulate prey and a BPA-free plastic inner container, which holds one-fifth of the cat’s every day ration. There are two holes on the back of every food dispenser. The concept is to separate a meal between the five dispensers and ultimately to cover them. Cats learn to hunt indoors by finding each food-filled dispenser, pouncing on it and manipulating each device to dispense the small meal. Use with kibble. The Indoor Cat Feeder isn’t the one alternative; there are numerous food puzzles available at most pet stores and online.

Puzzle feeders could make mealtime more exciting to your cat. Photography by Tierfotoagentur | Alamy Stock Photo.

Tips on how to feed cats properly — what cat parents can do:

There are methods to encourage indoor cats to be cats:

  1. Activate the prey drive, which all cats have, by fidgeting with an interactive cat toy. Make sure to let the cat “catch” the feather, fabric or whatever is at the top of fishing pole-type toys. That could be a problem with the laser light. Yes, great exercise to chase the little red bug, but all those nerve endings which go from paws on to the brain realize, “I’ve caught nothing, really.” Since that could be a frustrating feeling — to never catch — I suggest dropping a chunk of kibble or a treat on that little dot periodically. (Also be certain if children are fidgeting with the laser light that there may be adult supervision, so the kids never shine the sunshine within the cat’s eyes or their very own eyes).
  2. Want your cat to stop waking you up overnight? Stop offering him attention when he dances in your tummy at 4 a.m. But in addition feed a snack before bedtime. Similar to it’s possible you’ll loosen your belt and take a nap following a snack, the identical is true for cats. (Note: If the cat waking you up overnight is a brand new behavior, seek the advice of your veterinarian to rule out a medical cause).
  3. If you feed kibble only, offer an occasional snack of moist food. The identical is true if you happen to are a believer in moist food — occasionally offer either kibble or hard treats. Cats turn out to be accustomed to specific textures, and sometimes later in life may require a special veterinary weight loss program, which could also be a special kind of texture than whatever you’ve been feeding for a lifetime. Convincing some cats to alter their ways is difficult; they simply don’t need to try the novel-feeling product. Nonetheless, it is feasible that with prior positive experience to a special texture a minimum of some cats could also be more willing to offer it a shot.

Hopefully, I’ve given you some food for thought with regards to easy methods to feed cats.

Tell us: How do you feed your cats? What do you concentrate on this recommendation on easy methods to feed cats?

This piece was originally published on January 31, 2018.

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