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Feeding Guidelines for Your Cat
Feeding Guidelines for Your Cat

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Feeding Guidelines for Your Cat

How can you make sure you’re feeding your cat the right food, at the right time and in the right quantities? If you’re choosing a new cat food, deciding on a feeding schedule or wondering about supplements or treats, check out our feeding guidelines for cats.

 

Feed My Cat

 

How Do I Decide Which Food to Feed My Cat?

Life stage, lifestyle and overall condition all factor in to deciding which pet food is right for your cat. Life stage refers to whether your pet is a kitten, an adult or a senior. Lifestyle refers to how active or inactive your cat normally is. Condition refers to the cat’s overall health and body weight.

 

How Often Should I Feed My Cat?

A practical guideline is that kittens should be fed three times a day from weaning (3 to 6 weeks) to 4 months of age. After 4 months, they should be fed twice a day. Most cats should continue to be fed twice a day throughout their life, although some pets do well with one feeding.

 

How Much Should I Give My Cat to Eat?

The amount to feed your cat depends on her age, size and activity level. Feeding guidelines, which list the daily-recommended portion, are included on all IAMS™ packages. Start feeding with this amount and adjust according to your pet’s needs. Remember to divide the portion accordingly if you feed more than once a day.

 

What Is the Best Way to Introduce a New Diet to My Cat?

When changing your cat’s diet, it’s important to introduce the new food slowly. Start by offering your cat’s daily portion in a ratio of 25% new food to 75% old food. During the next three days, gradually increase the amount of new food and decrease the amount of old.

 

Is It Necessary to Feed Both Wet and Dry Food?

Wet food is an excellent treat that can be fed alone or mixed with dry food. Although our wet cat foods are nutritionally complete and balanced, it is not necessary to offer wet food at every feeding. Our dry foods are formulated with high-quality protein sources such as chicken, lamb or fish and contain all the essential nutrients pets need. The crunchy texture of dry food also promotes healthy teeth and gums, and provides overall good oral hygiene.

 

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Will My Cat Be Bored Eating the Same Food All the Time?

No — boredom with food is a human trait. Cats are creatures of habit and usually are content with just one food. Cats generally eat to meet their energy or nutritional needs. They have very short digestive systems, and if their diet is abruptly or constantly changed, digestive disturbances can occur. Also, constant changes can make your pet a finicky eater.

 

Is It OK to Moisten Dry Food?

Adding water will not change the nutritional value of dry cat food. However, once moisture is added the food should be eaten relatively soon, and any uneaten portion should be discarded to avoid spoilage. Feeding your cat dry food is usually encouraged because of the benefit to your cat’s dental health.

 

Will It Hurt Cats or Dogs If They Eat Each Other’s Food?

Cats and dogs have different nutritional requirements and should not eat each other’s food. For example, cats require a much higher level of taurine in their diet. An occasional venture into each other’s bowls will not be harmful, but is not recommended on a regular basis.

 

Can I Supplement Your Pet Foods with Vitamins, Minerals, Oils, etc.?

Our foods are nutritionally complete and balanced. Adding vitamins, minerals or oils can offset the balance the food provides. One of the benefits of feeding a high-quality product is that it has been carefully balanced in proper ratios to provide optimal nutrition, so nothing needs to be added.

 

How Can I Learn More about Pet Nutrition?

Contact the IAMS Pet Care and Nutrition Specialists toll-free at 1-800-675-3849.

  • Why Antioxidants Are Good For Your Cat
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    Why Antioxidants Are Good For Your Cat

    Antioxidants are good for your cat because they play a key role in minimizing damage to cells, including cells of the immune system.
     

    These important, naturally occurring nutrients help maintain health by slowing the destructive oxidative process of cellular molecules. They also can be important in supporting immune responses and vaccine recognition in cats. This may be especially critical for kittens that are being vaccinated while their immune system is still developing.
     

    Additionally, antioxidants can reverse decreases in immune-cell function for senior cats, increasing them back to healthy adult levels.

     

    Antioxidants in IAMS™ Cat Foods

    Antioxidants are nutrients found naturally in the body and in plants such as fruits and vegetables. Common antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin E and certain compounds called carotenoids (including lutein and beta-carotene). A blend of several antioxidants in moderate amounts may be more effective than high levels of one antioxidant.

     

    How Antioxidants Work

    As cells function normally in the body, they produce damaged molecules called free radicals. These free radicals are highly unstable and steal components from other cellular molecules, such as fat, protein or DNA, thereby spreading the damage.
     

    This damage continues in a chain reaction, and entire cells soon become damaged and die in a process called peroxidation. Peroxidation is useful because it helps the body destroy cells that have outlived their usefulness and kills germs and parasites. However, when left unchecked, peroxidation also destroys or damages healthy cells.
     

    Antioxidants help prevent widespread cellular destruction by willingly donating components to stabilize free radicals. More importantly, antioxidants return to the surface of the cell to stabilize rather than damage other cellular components.
     

    When there are not enough antioxidants to hold peroxidation in check, free radicals begin damaging healthy cells, which can lead to problems. For example, free radical damage to immune cells can lead to an increased risk of infection.

     

    Antioxidants and Your Cat’s Immune Response System

    Because antioxidants play a key role in minimizing damage to cells, such as those that make up the immune system, recent research examined the benefits of certain antioxidants on the immune response of cats. The results of these studies indicated that antioxidants are important in helping cats maintain a healthy immune system.
     

    The research also showed that each antioxidant benefits the immune system uniquely, so one antioxidant at high levels is not as effective as a group of antioxidants acting together.

    Antioxidant Source Function
    Vitamin E Plant oil extract, tocopherols Optimizes immune system’s T-cell activation
    Beta-carotene Vitamin premix, corn meal, chicken by-product meal and chicken fat Optimizes types of cells present in the blood, increases antibody levels
    in the blood and optimizes vaccine recognition

     

    Antioxidants and Aging in Cats

    Recent research also examined the effect of aging on immune responses. The findings indicate that as cats age, immune cell responses may decline. Including antioxidants in your cat’s diet can help reverse the age-related decrease in immune cell function, returning it to healthy adult levels.

    Why Antioxidants Are Good For Your Cat
    Why Antioxidants Are Good For Your Cat

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