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In the wild, cats get most of their moisture from the animals they hunt and kill, but unless your cat is hunting mice and eating them on a regular basis, chances are it relies on you for all its food and water. An exclusive dry food diet just won't do it either, as your cat doesn't get a sufficient amount of water from the kibble.
So how do you fix this? Well, short of using a syringe to force feed your cat water, you might want to think about switching your cat to a wet food diet, or at least a partial wet food diet.
There are plenty of great canned products available, but there are also plenty of not-so-great products. The best way of telling the difference is to read the food label on the back of the can. The first ingredient should be meat. Don't worry if it doesn't have grains, as they aren’t really necessary in a cat's diet, but above all else, avoid getting canned products which contain fillers like corn and rice. These fillers are only good for bulking out the food (and your cat); it has no health benefit.
If you are still unsure about which cat food brands are of the highest quality, ask around. A recommendation from a trusted friend or a reputable veterinarian can go a long way. Your vet may even have a suggestion of a food product that is similar to your cat's current diet. We wouldn't want kitty to stop eating because of a sudden diet change.
Now, when it comes to actually feeding your cat the food, we recommend mixing a little bit of water with it. This not only helps get water into the cat's system, it also helps the food go a bit further. But don't store any leftover food in the can. Instead, place the leftover food in a plastic or glass container and store it in the fridge. (Note: Be careful with leftover food. If it's been in the fridge for awhile and smells “off” or funky, don't feed it to your cat.)
Of course, the best option is to make your own cat food. There are some bookstores that have entire sections devoted to cookbooks for pets. If your local bookstore isn't well versed in animal food literature, you can often find large inventories through online book retailers.
Another good idea is giving your cat some fresh food treats every now and then. Organ meat or some turkey or chicken chopped up. Kitty might be a little picky and prefer its meat lightly braised on each side, but remember, cats can eat raw chicken without adverse affects. Some cats even beg for it.
Don’t have time to cook your own cat food? Don't worry, you can buy frozen cat food at some larger pet stores (especially the holistic ones). It is almost as good as the homemade stuff. Remember, whatever you decide to do, always have fresh, clean water available for your cat.
So here’s to improving the health of your cat. Trust us, your cat will love you for making the change.
Image: alexyorke / via Flickr