While rare roast beef or roast turkey are your all-time favorite foods, would you consider eating them every day, 365 days a year? I think that ultimately we would be “fed up” by them (pardon the pun).
If we prefer dining on a wide variety of foods to tempt our palates, isn’t it possible that our beloved kitties would totally get bored when we offer them the identical cat food at each and every meal. In fact feeding our cats the same food all the time can lead to that problemsome “finicky cat” syndrome. Not only is feeding the same food day in and day out not appealing to our kitties, this feeding method can lead to certain medical problems.
In her article in which she dispels ten of the more popular myths about pet food and nutrition, Holistic veterinarian Jean Hofve, an expert in feline nutrition, writes:
“Holistically minded guardians and veterinarians know that variety is important for several reasons, the most important being to avoid the development of sensitivities to any particular food or protein type.
When the same food is fed for many months or years at a time, animals can develop allergies or sensitivities to specific ingredients in the food. Plus, many holistic veterinarians believe that feeding the same food for many years is a contributing factor to inflammatory bowel disease.”
Dr. Hofve further explains it is not necessary that every meal must be perfectly balanced because over time diverse diets will meet cats’ nutritional needs since as long as the diet is balanced over the course of a week.
What about feeding cats “human” food? Is that a good idea? Unfortunately, there is feline nutrition websites claiming that feeding human food to cats is not a good idea, because it can lead to unwillingness for them to eat cat food.
However, we can easily add healthy foods to their cat food to provide our cats with the diversity they crave and to also keep their appetites perked. From time to time consider adding healthy species appropriate table scraps in with their food. Of course, constantly feeding table scraps as a sole diet is not appropriate, but mixing in some tempting, succulent left over roast beef and other yummy delights can whet a bored kitty’s appetite. Just make sure that the calorie count of these tasty tidbits is taken into account to prevent ending up with a plump kitty.
In the same article Dr. Hofve explains that,
“Most holistically trained veterinarians encourage the practice of feeding “people food” to our pets. Healthy leftovers are an excellent supplement to your companion’s regular fare.”
However these “treats” must be healthy and species appropriate. It goes without saying that meat is totally essential, but adding to their regular diet some finely chopped steamed vegetables, fruits, rice, oatmeal and baked sweet potatoes can be enticing. Care must be taken that any meat table scraps do not contain any onions, garlic, raisins or grapes since they are toxic to felines.
While raw chicken neck bones are safe and many kitties love to chew on and play with them, cooked bones must never be fed to cats since they easily splinter and can cause major internal damage.
Cooking for your cat is another idea. While this can be somewhat labor intensive and requires research to ensure that your cat’s nutrition needs are met, this option has become popular for several cat guardians. One thing about cooking for cats is that you know exactly what is going into their diet. If you might consider cooking for your cats, Dr. Hofve’s article Homemade vs. Commercial Food for Cats and Dogs! is an excellent resource.
Rotating their diets, adding table scraps to their food, or even cooking for your cat are all ways in which you can enrich the ways you feed your cats and help prevent them from getting bored at meal times.
What are other ways that you feed your cats that keep them interested in their food? Please share them in a comment.
Photo Credit: Flickr User: Shannon McGee