What a better way to show your love for your cat than by providing it with nourishing and great-tasting cat food. We understand that making a choice is not as easy considering all the available brands in the market today. And, that is exactly the reason why we are here, to help you choose the right cat food for your pet. Not only that, but we will help you select cat treats by identifying which are safe and which are not. For example, can cats eat cheese? Can cats eat bread?
We hope that after reading this article, you will have a clearer perspective on how you can make your feline pet healthy through right cat food choices.
What Should You Look For in Cat Food?
There are six (6) nutrient groups that are essential for your cat’s health. These are proteins, carbohydrates, fats & oils, vitamins, minerals, and water.
The right cat food must contain a correct balance of those six nutrient groups. There are exemptions though, say, for example, your cat is pregnant or has special dietary medical needs.
As a rule, look for cat food that lists meat as its first major ingredient (protein source). The lesser the number of other ingredients, the healthier the cat food is. This only indicates that there is also a low level of food processing.
This is the most important ingredient in your cat’s food. The protein could come from chicken, from beef, from fish, to name a few. You may ask, ‘what types of fish are good for my cat?’
Can Cats Eat Tuna?
Since tuna is a good source of protein, then absolutely yes, your cat can eat tuna, but in the right quantity.
As a cat lover, you know how much cats are attracted to the taste of fish. Without over-indulging, tuna is a healthy treat for your cat. Not only is tuna high in protein but it is also low in carbs. Plus, tuna can provide your pet with healthy omega fatty acids.
Given those health benefits of tuna, it is no wonder that a lot of cat food contains the appropriate amount of tuna.
The problem sets in if you give tuna in huge quantities. This can lead to mercury poisoning. Plus, since tuna tastes so delectable, by giving this treat all the time can make your pet a picky eater.
What Kind of Tuna Is Good for Cats?
You can give your pet canned or fresh tuna. When opting for the canned, it is best to choose the one packed with water instead of oil. But if you opt to give fresh tuna as a treat, do not serve it sashimi-style. Be sure to cook the tuna very well before giving it to your pet.
Another excellent source of protein is cheese. You may be asking ‘if cheese is safe for your feline pet?’ Let’s find out…
Can Cats Eat Cheese?
Dairy products may be good for you but may not be for your feline pet. Perhaps you’ve seen those ads that portray cats enjoying a bowl of milk, and why wouldn’t they? The fat and protein contents make dairy products delicious.
But, beware because cheese, along with other dairy products can upset your pet’s digestive system. Here’s why…
While they are still kittens, they have the lactase enzyme in their systems. This enzyme is necessary since their mother’s milk is the only thing that they can have during the first few weeks of their lives. Having said that…
Can Kittens Eat Cheese?
We wouldn’t recommend that because kittens have specific nutritional requirements. Their growing bodies need the right proportion of nutrients to make them strong and healthy. Feeding kittens with something that they do not need like cheese may result in permanently damaging their sensitive intestines.
Moreover, by feeding your kittens cheese, you may think that the side-effects are due to lactose intolerance when in fact, these may already be signs of more complex health issues. Here’s an example, your kittens, after a few hours of eating cheese, suffer from vomiting. You blame the cheese for that but when in reality, vomiting may be due to parasitic infections or a case of a serious health problem like feline panleukopenia.
As they get older, the production of lactase enzyme slows down and the only food group they require is protein. Hence, a great majority of cats are lactose intolerant.
Can Adult Cats Eat Cheese?
Unlike you, your adult feline pet does not produce the lactase enzyme responsible for breaking down lactose from dairy products. As a result, it is harder for is tummy to process cheese. Thus, it is not uncommon to see cats vomit or go through a bout of severe diarrhea after eating cheese and other types of dairy products.
But, you may argue that cheese is a good source of protein. Since your cat is behaving well, you just want to share a tiny bit of that great-tasting cheese to your pet as a treat, can cats eat cheese in small quantities? Okay, cheese in a very small amount can be given as a rare treat for your feline pet.
Aside from giving it as a rare treat, when can cats eat cheese? Cheese is also helpful in times of sickness. You can entice your cat to take its meds along with a very small slice of tasty cheese. Just don’t indulge it with too much cheese, lest, it can only worsen its medical issues. As we’ve said a while ago, cats are lactose intolerant, thus, too much cheese can cause diarrhea and vomiting.
You may now be asking, ‘how small is the safe amount of cheese for cats?’ We’d say the size of the dice is enough.
Which Type of Cheese Is the better Choice for Your Cat?
Cheeses come in different kinds, from soft to hard and strong-tasting cheese. Since cats can eat cheese once in a while, let us now find out which are the best kinds of cheese for your feline pet:
Those soft-white cheeses that are flavored with herbs like chives and garlic are a no-no for your cat. Plus, the soft cheeses usually have more lactose in them than the hard cheese like cheddar.
The vegan cheese that is made out of soy is a good alternative but check the reaction of your cat. It could be allergic to soy.
Cheese made from goat’s milk is more digestible, so you may want to opt for a cheese made with this type of milk. Be sure though that it is pasteurized. This is because unpasteurized goat’s milk can cause the parasite Toxoplasma gondii to be passed on to your pet.
Mozzarella cheese, cream cheese, and cottage cheese are low in sodium but these are high in lactose.
American cheese is low in lactose but it has higher levels of sodium and fat.
The verdict: The white and soft cheeses contain higher amounts of lactose, thus, opt for the hard cheese and the aged varieties. Both the extra sharp cheddar and the Swiss cheese varieties are good choices for your cat since these have lower levels of lactose.
Can Cats Eat Cheese if They Are Not Lactose Intolerant?
You are lucky if your cat is not lactose intolerant. It doesn’t mean though that you can let it eat all the cheese it wants.
Cheese is high in sodium. Feeding too much of it can result in increased water intake and abnormal urination. And, if you keep on giving your cat slices of cheese, eventually it will suffer from hypertension and kidney problems.
Cheese is also high in fat, therefore, too much of this delectable treat may lead to a host of medical problems like diabetes and joint problems.
Effects of Cheese on Lactose-Intolerant Cats:
-Loss of appetite
-Nausea and vomiting
-Gas and bloating
-Constipation or diarrhea
If you see any of the above symptoms after giving your cat some cheese, observe it. The more cheese that your cat has eaten, the more likely it will be bothered by lactose and all the more the severe the symptoms will be.
Since cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they can survive even without carbohydrates and just thrive on proteins alone.
Cats have a problem digesting loads of carbs, as a result, they suffer from upset tummies and skin allergies. For this reason, we recommend that you look for grain-free cat food. Instead of grains, these grain-free cat food use potatoes and green peas as better sources of carbohydrates.
What about bread? What happens if you share a slice of baguette or wheat bread to your feline pet?
Can Cats Eat Bread?
Yes, your cat can eat bread but in a very small amount only. Bread should not be fed to your cat daily. Reserve it as an occasional treat only. Bread provides no nutritional value at all to your pet.
But, bread comes in handy if your cat is sick. You can place the pill inside a soft-baked bread to trick your cat into swallowing the bitter pill.
However, avoid giving those pieces of bread that are flavored with aromatics like chives and garlic.
Rice is another type of carbohydrate that we, humans consume. The question is if this type of grain is safe for your feline pet. Let’s find the answer…
Can Cats Eat Rice?
We cannot emphasize enough how sensitive the digestive system of cats. So, if your pet is healthy, then, yes, you can give it a small serving of rice, occasionally only.
Veterinarians agree that rice helps in regulating upset stomach among cats because this kind of grain is easy to digest. Unlike other kinds of carbohydrates like pasta noodles, rice is the better choice if your feline pet has tummy discomforts. But, to be safe, you have to cook the rice (white or brown) very well and do not add flavorings like garlic and salt.
If your cat is sick, you can mix cooked rice with its regular food to help treat diarrhea. This grain is known to firm-up the cat’s stool and stops dehydration.
Your cat requires 20 to 25% of fat daily. Fats are needed in maintaining the body temperature, provide cats with energy, and help in the absorption of vitamins and minerals.
When choosing the right cat food, look for those that add chicken fat or sunflower oil, and those that have Omega 3 and 6.
Here’s a list of the vitamins that are needed by your cat to stay healthy:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- Vitamins B1and B2
- Vitamins B3 and B6
Like vitamins, choosing the right cat food should also contain the correct proportion of minerals. These help in the important functions of oxygen transportation, maintaining the right pH balance, enzyme formation, and nutrient absorption and utilization. These minerals are:
Water is the most important compound in all living things, but did you know that cats do not consume enough water? In the past, they used to live in natural habitats where there were limited amounts of clean water. As a result, they have adapted to this kind of situation and get a majority of the water that they need through the food they eat.
That being said, choosing wet food is a good choice. You may also mix it with the dry kibble if you wish.
Can cats eat cheese? We found out that yes, they can but very minimal only. But, if given the choice, it is still best not to let your feline pet eat this type of dairy product. Your pet is an omnivore and as such, does not need to include cheese in its diet. There are other protein sources other than cheese that are healthier and wouldn’t have any negative effects on the digestive system of your pet. When choosing the right cat food, bear in mind that safety should be your main concern.