Saturday, August 4, 2012

Feeding Felines

Cats are enigmatic creatures. Having an appreciation for their motivations will not only help you to develop a deeper bond, it could make your cat healthier, too. Feeding your feline optimal nutrition not only requires an understanding of your cat’s unique nutritional needs, but also of their feeding behavior. In fact, understanding the nuances of feline consumption can help combat one of the most common feeding disorders in cats - obesity. When it comes to feeding behaviors, domestic cats aren’t vastly different than their wild cousins. Felines are so fundamentally predatory that they will actually stop eating a meal to initiate a new hunt. This instinctual strategy evolved in the wild over the course of millenia to maximize food availability. This is why, if a cat even sees a mouse, she feels compelled to catch it. Domesticated cats exhibit this same hunting impulse, and sometimes pet parents mistake feline hunting behavior as an expression of hunger. However, it’s simply a manifestation of their predatory instinct.

It might amaze you to learn that cats in the wild consume 10-20 small meals per day! And 40% or more of the diet of feral domestic cats consists of small rodents, but the typical mouse only provides a tiny amount of the daily energy requirement of an adult cat. In order to obtain enough calories, a cat must hunt throughout the day and night. Generally speaking, domesticated cats demonstrate similar behavior, ‘snacking’ throughout the day on their kibble and canned food. The significant difference here is that prepared food features substantial calorie counts, especially compared to a field mouse. With many indoor kitties adopting the couch-potato lifestyle, a sizable portion of the U.S. cat population is overweight or obese. Read the entire article

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