Feeding Felines for Wellness
Andrea Sobotka encourages a holistic, species-appropriate diet for best results.
To determine a holistic, species-appropriate diet, we must consider the specifics of their digestive system. For cats to flourish, a switch away from processed dry kibble is an improvement. Their natural prey comprises small mammals, birds and fish, including bones, skin and innards—even some bugs. A raw diet is ideal, but not everyone can go that route.
Dry kibble is the root cause of many pet illnesses and disease. Canned, wet food is better, but most of it is junk, with cheap, horrid ingredients. However, there are some canned food options that are much closer to whole real food, but are more expensive. Here are some healthy food suggestions.
Cats are obligate carnivores, so their diets should consist of primarily high-quality protein and natural byproducts like bone and organs. Their biological systems are in no way made to digest grains, preservatives or highly processed fillers. Always read the ingredients and look for whole protein sources listed first. Short of homemade meals, canned “meat” foods in their natural juices should be the primary meal. Adding a quarter-teaspoon of organic coconut oil to wet food will provide omegas, as well as good antimicrobial nutrient, for the digestive systems (good for mouth health, too).
Avoid large fish like tuna (high mercury levels) as a regular meal, but wild-caught canned sardines and salmon packed in olive oil or water make a great whole food supplement to the daily diet. Walmart, Sprouts, Whole Foods, Trader Joes and Costco carry some great choices. These fish are a high-quality protein source loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. A teaspoonful is a great nutritious treat to add to a cat’s diet two or three times a week. Offer it before or after they get their regular food, thus reducing the main meal by a bit.
Supplementing the diet with organic “people” food such as bits of boiled or roasted chicken (minus fatty, over-seasoned skin), beef and bits of finely chopped, cooked sweet potato and greens now and then is actually very good.
When changing food, do it gradually. Plan on a one-to-two-week period to slowly introduce the new food over the old. Don’t mix dry and wet in a single serving; offer them separately, being conscious of the overall daily serving. Each day, shift the ratio so that by the end the adjustment period it is all new food. This will prevent gastrointestinal kickback (diarrhea) and encourage a taste for the new food.
By building a solid wellness foundation with a holistic diet, the kitty will enjoy a long, healthy life.