14.9 C
Washington
Wednesday, July 6, 2022

You’re Feeding Your Cats All Wrong

Date:

Share:

cat waiting to be fed“Most cats have a bowl of food left out for them that’s constantly filled. And that’s a problem. Zoonar RF/Getty Images

In addition to my two dogs, I also have three cats. They range in age from 12 to 2. Calvie is the oldest and the matriarch. Next is Mike Moo, age 9, and the youngest is Farnsworth who is 2. All live indoors and eat out of the same constantly filled bowl. Yet, it seems, I’ve been feeding my cats wrong for years.

That’s according to the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AFFP). The organization released a consensus statement in late October 2018, that was published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery that addresses feline needs and health care when it comes to feeding.

According to the report, most indoor cats depend on their human to feed them and they’re fed "ad libitum" — meaning they eat what they want, when they want. More specifically, most cats have a bowl of food left out for them that’s constantly filled. As a result, the cats eat small meals many times a day, without consideration of each cat’s individual energy requirements.

This practice, it seems, goes against cat evolution and could have negative health consequences. You see, cats are hunters and foragers, and feeding them in this way gives no "environmental stimulation." The AFFP warns that it also allows cats to become sedentary and fat, since eating itself becomes an activity. When that happens, all sorts of problems can bubble to the surface, including anxiety, stress and other health problems.

On the other hand, in a multi-cat household, some cats may not get enough food because their brothers and sisters are monopolizing the dinner dish. "In these homes, cats may be restricted or self-restrict to certain areas or rooms because of their social relationships, personalities and genetics," the statement says. "Some cats go into all rooms and others have rather small spaces in which they feel comfortable and safe."

So how should you feed your cats if you’re not supposed to just fill the bowl and leave it for them? The AFFP suggests feeding them in a more natural way. Try using a puzzle feeder, or leaving bowls of food in new and different locations around the house to sate their desires to forage. It’s also a good way to encourage them to exercise.

The AAFP recommends giving cats small amounts of food several times a day rather than leaving large amounts of food for them to graze. Cats in multi-cat households should also be fed alone, which will help reduce anxiety and associated health problems. And keep those feeding stations away from the litter box. You wouldn’t want to eat where you relieve yourself would you?

So, here’s what you should do, according to the AAFP. Set a clear goal, such as "Mike Moo needs to lose weight," or "I want to make sure my cats are getting the proper nutrition." Then talk to your vet to figure out the best way of accomplishing these tasks.

Now That’s Interesting

Cats should eat between 24 to 35 calories a day for every pound they weigh. And don’t let those cat treats exceed 10 percent of your cat’s daily caloric intake.

Subscribe to our magazine

━ more like this

Be a Hero this Halloween

Be a Hero this HalloweenBeing a hero goes beyond dressing up in a costume this Halloween season. Children, families and schools across the country can channel their own superpowers to help deliver lif

Get Away Without Going Away

Get Away Without Going Away5 family staycation ideas that won’t break your budgetFamily vacations are a great way to bond and take a step back from the hectic schedules that accompany everyday life, b

5 Common Questions for Memorializing a Loved One

5 Common Questions for Memorializing a Loved OneOne of the most difficult conversations in a person’s life typically takes place near the end of that life. Planning for a funeral can put an emotional

Top Tips to Transition Back to Work After Baby

Top Tips to Transition Back to Work After BabyMany new parents spend hours preparing for the arrival of a new baby – reading books, seeking professional advice and consulting friends and family. Howev

Making the Back-to-School Transition Easy from Kindergarten to College

Making the Back-to-School Transition Easy from Kindergarten to CollegeIt’s time to get your household organized for another school year and all that comes with it. Whether your child is headed off to
spot_img

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here