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6 Rules to Improve Your Cat's Diet

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6 Rules to Improve Your Cat's Diet
Improving the diet of your cat can be quick and easy when you follow these 6 easy rules.

1. Feed your cat at least twice a day on a regular schedule. Just like with humans, your cat will be better off eating multiple smaller meals as opposed to eating a day's worth of food in one huge sitting.

2. Feed a balanced diet. This means to feed a commercial diet or follow a recipe from a nutritionist.

3. Fill and replenish several water dishes throughout your home every day with a fresh supply. Good water intake is crucial to the health of your cat, especially as your cat starts getting older.

4. Always include wet food choices when feeding your cat.  Avoid feeding cats only dry food.

5. Don't use supplements or ingredients in homemade foods you prepare for your pets that were not included in the recipe. Follow the recipe exactly or the diet will not be balanced.

6. Watch the food quantities you serve your cat to help keep them at a healthy weight. If your cat seems pudgy, or if their belly is starting to hang lower, it may be a sign that you need to decrease the amount of food they are eating.

"Obesity is the most common nutritional disease seen in cats," says Joe Bartges, DVM, PhD at the University of Tennessee's College of Veterinary Medicine. It is a common bad habit for cat owners to feed their cats too much. Cats only need 24 to 35 calories per pound of body weight each day. This guideline is a general measure and will vary depending on your cat's activity levels, health considerations and overall nutritional needs. Smart owners will have a heart-to-heart talk with their veterinarian about Fluffy's dietary needs and work together to provide the best food choices possible.

If you're a cat owner embarking on your own vegetarian health regime and you want to include your furry friend, think again. Cats require some amino acids that are found only in meat. Depriving your domesticated cat of meat and meat products can minimize good health and create conditions or concerns with lifelong consequences. Even dog food does not contain all the amino acids that cats need. Long term feeding of dog food to cats can even cause blindness.

As an alternative to commercial cat food, a homemade diet can be prepared for your cat when you're in the kitchen. Be aware that it will be necessary to talk with your veterinarian in advance for nutritional recommendations and supplements.  It is important to feed a diet that is nutritionally balanced and this requires using a recipe developed by a veterinary nutritionist. The internet is a source of good recipes at www.balanceit.com  or www.petdiets.com. For a nominal fee a veterinary nutritionist will give you a recipe using the meat and carbohydrate of your choice. Your cat will need to maintain recommended nutritional standards for optimal health. Any discussion about your cat's diet should also address your cat's age, health considerations, activity levels and past food choices.

"The biggest mistake people make is feeding cats dry food," says Lisa A. Pierson, DVM. Manufacturers have to include a lot of unnecessary carbohydrates in order to make a cat food dry, which can contribute to weight gain and obesity. Cats need a diet that is lower in carbohydrate and higher in protein, which can be achieved by feeding your cat canned food.

Review the foods you are feeding your cat during every visit with your veterinarian. As your beloved pet ages and becomes more or less active, his or her nutritional needs can change. In order to maintain total health and wellness, your cat may need changes in their diet such as providing more or less calories each day or switching which foods are being provided. Cats may also need more or less of specific nutrients. For instance, kidney disease is common in cats, and a diet low in phosphorus and protein has been shown in studies to lengthen the time before the symptoms of renal disease worsen. In some instances, your veterinarian may suggest supplements to the foods you currently provide. Working together with your veterinarian for your pet's long term health and wellness is critical.

Always remember to talk with your veterinarian about your pet's activity levels, health considerations and nutritional needs during your regular office visits. If you have any questions about your cat's diet or well-being, or if you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians, please don't hesitate call us today!

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Testimonials

  •           8/29/2017

    I love Balboa Pet Hospital! Balboa Pet Hospital's staff is amazing! The staff is knowledgeable, caring and above all honest! I feel confident that my pets are getting the best possible care there. The staff has always taken time to answer all of my questions and if I think of something after my appointment, I can just email! I know I won’t have to wait too long for response.

    Unfortunately, this year I’ve had to make some really difficult decisions. The compassion the staff showed to both my pet and I made these unbearable times tolerable. I am indebted to both Dr. Del Rosso and (the wonderful) Dr. Ravn for their kindness, compassion and dedication.

    If you are new to the area or just looking for a new vet, please give Balboa pet Hospital a call!

  •           6/5/2017

    LOVE everything about this place!!! The people are all super nice & caring. I never feel like they’re trying to sell me stuff I don’t need. The vets (especially Dr. Alice Chan) are wonderful, I always fee; comfortable coming here whenever Walle has an issue. They even help me file the insurance claims after each visit! Would highly recommended any pet owners to see them for their fur-baby needs.

  •           6/5/2017

    My dog has been a regular patient since 7 years ago. Once in a while we visit other hospitals due to time conflicts. However, we always go back to Balboa Pet Hospital. My dog has bad allergy and the doctors and assistants always follow up with us after the treatments or visits, help us submit the insurance claims. It’s not a cheapest place to go but their patience and caring are irreplaceable.

  •           4/28/2017

    I’m glad to have found Balboa Pet Hospital near my home. It’s definitely a hidden gem! Dr. Chan saw my dog, Oreo, for her skin problem last week, and my three cats, Pepper, Tofu and Cola, today for annual check-up. She’s very patient (especially with Oreo who’s shy to strangers), knowledgeable and approachable. The front staffs are also very friendly and helpful. They are so prompt to reply my email (within a few hours when I checked back my mailbox). All my pets are about 1-year-old and I’ll definitely bring them here for their health issues/checkup in many years followed.

  •           5/4/2017

    Brought my dog here for a checkup and some minor concerns. Dr. Chan was very professional. She got my dog the treatment he needed and answered all my questions regarding my concerns. The rest of the staff were very friendly and gentle with my dog. You could tell that the staff are genuine animal lovers; definitely something you want when you entrust the health of your pet to someone.

  •           5 of 5

    Been bringing our animals to Balboa for over 25 years and will continue because they provide great advice and care. We love Dr. D and staff are really helpful and friendly. Now if I can find medical care for myself like my animals get at Balboa...

  •           5 of 5

    I have been a patron of Balboa Pet Hospital for almost 500 years now (wink). I love Everybody there and feel they are have always been a great resource and the BEST support system for everything pertaining to my pets.

  •          

    The staff is very kind and gentle, the doctors are very caring and patient when dealing with my scared cat Lulu. I appreciate the time they took to put her at ease and making this procedure as painless as possible for the both of us. Will definitely be spreading the word. Thank you Balboa Pet Hospital.
     

    Linda P.

    San Francisco, CA

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