For 17 years I had a cat named Clyde. For most of those 17 years Clyde got premium cat kibble and an occasional can of wet food (or tuna if he got so lucky). I fed him dry cat food in a deep, hand-painted ceramic dish. I would always marvel at how he would get the level of dry kibble in his bowl precisely half empty and start to cry endlessly like he might parish from lack of enough dry food to sustain him the rest of his days. Fast forward many years later and I began to learn so many important things about best practices for feeding cats and I soon learned I had been doing it all wrong! I am a big believer in we do the best we can, and when we know better – we do better, so I figured I would share what I have learned and how I would change what I did for Clyde all those years if given the chance.
First, I would start Clyde out on an all wet diet. While dogs are scavenging carnivores (meaning they would choose to eat some plant materials), cats are obligate carnivores choosing to eat exclusively meat. Carnivores thrive on moisture and protein. Simply stated – cats should not have carbohydrates that we add into dry kibble to get it to bind together. They become addicted to it and sadly it creates many disruptions in their health later in life like diabetes and thyroid conditions. So in hindsight I do wish I had established an all wet or raw diet for Clyde to lengthen his life and protect his kidneys better.
And that bowl – I would switch to feeding on a plate or a shallow dish. Cats have very sensitive whiskers that are designed to allow them to know if they will fit through small spaces. Those same whiskers can become irritated when eating out of a deep dish causing what is commonly referred to as “whisker fatigue” – giving an illusion of crying over a dish that is half empty when in reality they cannot comfortably access the food in the remainder of the dish. And not all dishes are created equal. I highly recommend choosing a stainless steel or ceramic dish that is elevated being sure to avoid any plastic components or plastic bowls (even BPA free plastic). Plastic can easily become scratched leaving room for bacteria to grow and can cause ‘pink nose’ issues from rubbing on the scratched plastic.
At All Pets Considered we carry many options for your feline friends as well as many samples of food! Come check us out and let us help you find a better diet for your cat.