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Cat-Feeding Tips


“You are what you eat” is a solid piece of common sense that is just as true for your cat as it is for you. Feed your cat a quality diet, and you’re more likely to have a healthy cat.

The pet food industry is big business — and with good reason. There are well over 100 million dogs and cats living in American homes, plus who-knows-how-many more in shelters, catteries, and kennels across the country. To top it all off, you have thousands of people feeding strays. If you figure a single cat can go through some 90 pounds or more of cat food in a year, we’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars being spent annually, just to feed the kitty.


Just like human food, there are some tasty feline treats that are good for cats and some things that are basically junk food. An occasional snack of the not-so-healthy stuff shouldn’t do any permanent harm but don’t make it a regular part of your cat’s diet.


Water, Water Everywhere


Your cat needs about an ounce of water per pound of body weight every day. That doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up: An average-size cat would need two quarts of water every week.


Of course, cats get water by drinking. But there’s another important source of water for your cat: the food she eats. The more water there is in her food, the less she needs to drink. Canned cat food is more expensive because you’re buying water along with the food (up to 75 percent of wet cat food is water) and paying a little more for the container. Dry cat food has much less water (perhaps 10 percent by weight), which means a cat whose diet consists of only dry food has to drink a lot more.


Dehydration (not enough water in the body) is a serious problem for any living creature, and cats are especially prone to it. A cat can go without food for days, losing up to 40 percent of her body weight, and still survive. But a loss of body water of only 10 to 15 percent can kill her. Other liquids — like milk, if it doesn’t make your cat sick — are a good source of water, but nothing beats the real thing. Be sure your cat has plenty of clean, fresh water available at all times.


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