Secret #7: Consider your cat’s life stage and activity level
A cat’s nutritional needs change throughout her life. A growing kitten needs a different food than a senior cat and a highly active outdoor cat needs a different diet than his couch potato cousin. When selecting a food, look for one that is geared towards your cat’s special needs. Healthy senior cats typically require a lower calorie food with slightly higher protein levels, and they may require more vitamins and minerals. Growing kittens require a different nutrient balance and a more energy dense food than a mature cat. While there may be some breed-based differences in needs, most kittens will do well on a regular kitten food.
Foods for adult cats should be chosen based on their lifestyle. Highly active cats or cats that have trouble keeping on weight will need a food that is more calorie dense. Quiet, inactive cats may need a light or reduced-calorie food to keep them from putting on too many extra pounds. If your cat goes outside, he may require a different diet depending on the season. If your outdoor cat is outside more often and roaming farther in the summer you may find that they need extra food or a more calorie dense food in the summer than he does when he spends more time inside during the winter. Keep an eye on your cat’s weight and body condition (Can you feel his ribs? Does he have a waist?) and use that to guide you in choosing the right type of food and how much you feed him. Overweight cats are at risk for more health problems than slim cats so keeping your cat active and at a healthy weight will go a long way to contributing to their overall good health.
Armed with these secrets to feline good health, you are ready to make an informed choice as to what to feed your cat. A healthy lifestyle—a cornerstone of which is good nutrition—is the very best thing we can do to for our cats.