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The best diet for your cat

The best diet for your cat
by Dr Grant Hampson

Read time: 6 min

As a hardcore cat parent, you'll know that choosing the right food for your cat is really important for them to live their best lives.

But there's a lot of misinformation out there about cat nutrition. From endless cat diets (many of which do more harm than good) to meaningless claims and hard-to-understand jargon, choosing the best diet for your cat can feel like a tricky task.

Luckily we're here to help. We've put together this guide of everything you need to know for feeding your cat, including the most popular cat diets, how often you should feed your cat and what treats to give them too. So let's get started.

Why is my cat's diet important?

A cat's diet is important for their health. Just like humans, cats need a balanced and nutritious diet for a long and healthy lifestyle. If you've noticed your cat isn't as playful or energetic, their fur is looking dull, or they're gaining weight, then it's time to switch up their diet.

Did you know that over 50% of cats in the UK are overweight or obese? And that more than 85% of cats will get a form of dental disease in their lifetime. The cause of many of these health issues is all of the junk in their food. Food filled with preservatives, fillers and mysterious 'animal derivatives' are no good for your cats.

Cats deserve better.

The best diet for your cat

The best diet for your cat doesn't need to be complicated. All they need is high-quality food that's also high in protein and moisture and grain-free. With the right diet, your cat will experience incredible health benefits such as better digestion, more energy, a thicker and shiner coat, fewer hairballs and an easy-to-maintain weight.

Below we'll explore all the popular cat diets so you can learn which is best.

What should I feed my cat?

Let's cut to the chase: fresh is best. No contest. 100% fresh meat, gently cooked in its own juices and frozen to stay fresh without preservatives, is what your cats will thrive on.

Why 100% fresh-cooked meat? Because cats are carnivores. Like their wild ancestors, they're born to eat meat. Plant matter isn't natural for them. Their bodies aren't built to process grains – which is why you've probably noticed their litter tray smells so bad on dry and wet food.

Because cats are carnivores, they also have a constant need for meat protein. Since their bodies are burning through protein non-stop every single day. They can't stop or slow down that process. And if they don't get enough protein, their body will start to break itself down instead. The only way to keep up is with an all-meat diet. And not processed, powdered 'meat derivatives', but the highest quality, 100% fresh-cooked meat.

Plus, let's not forget the added bonus that our fresh cat food is complete and balanced. That means there's no need to top up their food with anything else, like kibble or unhealthy snacks. It's high-moisture real meat, supported by the perfect mix of nutrients for cats of all ages.

Should I feed my cat home-cooked food?

Unless you're an expert cat nutritionist (what an impressive job title, right?), it's near impossible to get homemade cat food right. If you don't get the exact balance of nutrients, you could risk making your cat ill. You might also accidentally expose them to potentially toxic foods. For example, if you pop an innocent-looking chicken stock cube into your cooking, it could have garlic and onion. Both toxic ingredients for cats.

KatKin's fresh food gives you the same home-cooked experience – minus the work. And because our fresh meals are formulated by our board-certified Vet Nutritionist, you know your cat is getting the exact nutrients they need.

Can my cat be vegetarian or vegan?

No. Unlike humans, cats are born carnivores. Their sharp teeth are for tearing meat, not grinding plants. A cat's saliva and liver also doesn't break down plants like herbivores and omnivores do either. And their digestive tract is shorter because it's built to break down meat.

There are also certain nutrients that cats can only get from meat. For example, they need taurine for a healthy heart and immune system. But they can't make it from plants like herbivores do. So they have to eat the herbivores. (Sorry, herbivores.)

Cats have a constant need for meat protein. Since cats don't digest plants efficiently, a vegan diet can't keep up with the demand.

While vegan and vegetarian diets can be great for humans, they, unfortunately, aren't right for carnivorous cats. But with KatKin's fresh food, you can at least rest assured that our 100% meat food is human-quality and made right here in our UK kitchen.

Should I feed my cat a raw diet?

Surprisingly, no. Raw cat food may seem natural and the obvious answer to what to feed your cat. It's pretty much what they would eat in the wild, after all. But it can be very dangerous for you. Remember that cats lick themselves. If your cat eats raw chicken, licks their fur, and then rubs on you, they could be spreading salmonella and E.coli.

A 'homemade' raw food diet is dangerous for your cat too. If you're not buying pre-made raw meals and you're just feeding any raw meat, it's not nutritionally balanced or calorie controlled. That can lead to over or under-feeding and nutrient deficiencies.

With fresh cat food, you get the benefits of raw, minus the risk. Our gentle cooking method is hot enough to kill bad bacteria and gentle enough to protect nutrients.

Is dry food/kibble good for cats?

No. It's time to kick kibble to the kerb. It may be the most common and easiest way to feed your cat, but it's a cheap meat meal filled with even cheaper grains. Kibble looks like breakfast cereal because it's similar in structure. Those shapes are made from grains and carbs. And cats struggle to digest plant matter.

Plus, kibble is overbaked. It's made through a process called extrusion. This means all the ingredients are moulded and cooked under extreme pressure and extreme heat. It destroys nutritional value, damaging sensitive vitamins that cats need for good health.

The final thing to remember (you may need to sit down for this one): dry cat food isn't necessary for good teeth. Despite what the cat food companies have told your vet, there's no independent research to back this 'fact'. The research papers are actually only written by dry food brands. For good teeth, you need a good dental hygiene routine and regular vet checkups.

Is wet food good for cats?

No, but let us clarify. Wet cat food generally means processed meat and meat meal 'chunks' in a sauce – usually artificial sugary gravy or jelly. It's different from fresh because fresh food means 100% fresh real meat cooked in its own natural juices.

Wet food is bad for some of the same reasons as dry. It's processed 'meat derivatives', bulked out with cheap vegetable extracts and grains. Though you might see words like 'chunks' and 'morsels' on the packaging, those shapes aren't natural. They're derivatives and fillers, processed and pressed to form nuggets. Not the real fresh cuts of meat cats need.

How much should I feed my cat?

Most cat food brands will have a feeding guide labelled on their products to inform you how much you should give to your cat. But every cat is different and has different needs. How much you feed your cat will depend on their weight. So, it's important to weigh your cat regularly and keep track to adjust their food intake. Generally, a healthy adult house cat will weigh around 4-5kg. Although, large cat breeds may weigh as much as 11kg. If you're worried that your cat is overweight, speak to your vet for advice.

With KatKin, we've made it easy with personalised portions. Simply tell us your cat's breed, weight, age and activity level, and we'll figure out the rest. One tray will then be 100% of your cat's daily calorie and nutritional needs.

Cat feeding by age

Your cat's age is another factor to consider when deciding how much you should feed them. As kittens are growing for up to 12 months, they often need a bit more food than adults to support their growth. Adult cats need enough food to maintain their energy levels and keep them healthy. And older cats need just the right amount to support their organs, weight and muscle.

Feeding your kitten

Kittens have specific nutritional needs that are different to adult cats. As they are busy growing, playing and exploring, it's important that their diet gives them enough energy and high-quality proteins to support and strengthen them. Our kitten food contains the perfect amount of nutrients to help your kitten develop. And, unlike most other kitten foods, KatKin is suitable for all life stages. This means you don’t need to waste time or money switching to other brands.

Feeding your adult cat

After 12 months, your kitten is officially classed as an adult cat. So some diet changes will be needed. Adult cats need a balance of nutrients that will help maintain their energy and their ideal weight. A diet of fresh-cooked meat is the best option for keeping them as healthy and happy as they should be.

Feeding your older cat

When your cat is around 7 years old, they'll be considered a senior cat. Senior cats need a diet that consists of easily digestible food that can support their immune system and give them all of the necessary nutrients to help them maintain their weight and muscle.

Feeding your cat with medical needs

If your cat has medical issues, such as skin problems, diabetes, obesity or kidney disease, then they'll need a specific diet designed to help and treat these conditions. Speak to your vet for advice about the best diet for them.

Feeding cats fresh food can have incredible benefits for both their short-term and long-term health. Whether they have a sensitive stomach, food allergies, loss of appetite or other issues, fresh is the healthiest food you can give your cats.

Treats for cats

It's no secret cats love treats. A sneaky bit of a chicken. A blueberry or two. And, of course, store-bought cat treats too. And while the occasional treat is fine, it's important not to make a habit out of it. Treats are often described as a 'complementary food' to have in addition to their regular diet. So, make sure you count the treats toward their daily calorie intake to avoid the risk of them gaining weight.

Our Chicken Nibbles and Salmon Nibbles are the perfect healthy treat for your cat or kitten, containing 100% freeze-dried meat to protect nutrients and flavour.

Take a look at our fresh cat food that puts your cats' health first.

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