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So you have decided to share your life with a feline and in my opinion, they are one of the best animals ever and you’re now wondering ”What type of food to give your indoor cat”?
It’s a very common question and if you haven’t shared your life with a cat before, you don’t always know the answer. In this post, I share with you what choices you have and some more related information surrounding cat feeding.
In general, indoor cats may need less food due to their generally lower activity levels. Some owners choose a purely wet food diet while others may use a mixture of both dry and wet. Wet food contains a higher moisture content while dry food can be higher in calories but more affordable for the owner.
In the rest of this post, we look at the benefits of both dry and wet food for your little furry friend, the three main ways of feeding your cat and I also conducted an independent poll to find out how other people feed their cat’s to help YOU decide how to feed your indoor cat so they live the healthiest, happiest life that you can give them.
So let’s begin!
Best Type of Cat Food for Indoor Cats – With Poll Results
First of all congratulations on owning one of the best animals ever.
I guarantee they will bring you lots of love, laughs and cuddles. I would never choose to live my life without having a cat around, they truly are the loves of my life (They don’t call me the crazy cat man for nothing)
As cat owners, we care about our little friends and want to provide them with the best diet possible so they are the happiest they can be.
Indoor cats exercise a lot less than their outdoor counterparts so their diet must be adjusted accordingly.
I did a Poll on good old Facebook, I wanted to examine and present to you a graph that shows what type of diet fellow cat owners provide for their companions, this may play a part in helping you decide what the best diet is for your cat.
When conducting the poll 169 people responded in the Facebook group and here are the results!
|Wet Food only
|Dry Food only
|A mixture of dry and wet
|Raw food diet
So a whopping 71% of people fed their cats a mixture of dry and wet food!
I can’t say I am too surprised at the results to be fair, my cats eat a variety of wet and dry food. I tend to feed wet twice a day and free-feed the cats with dry food throughout the day, this is called combination feeding as we will learn below.
A lot of cat owners said that the reason they give both wet and dry is to get the benefits of both types of foods, we will explore the benefits later in this post.
The cat mummies and daddies that fed their cats dry food only did this for a variety of reasons some being allergies to wet food ingredients and recommendations from vets.
One thing we do know is that cat’s need protein in their diet as their main source of food so it makes sense in my opinion to include lots of wet food!
One thing, most professionals and vets agree with though is to never feed your cats a vegetarian or worse vegan diet!
Your food choices are your food choices but you must understand that cats need protein for muscle development, growth and to maintain a healthy weight, they are natural carnivores!
The ideal macronutrient composition for cats is about 50-60% protein, 30-40% fat, and less than 10% carbohydrates.preventitvet
We do know that cats require a variety of nutrients to stay healthy and to maintain a glossy healthy coat!
- Indigestible fiber – This helps cats keep a healthy digestive system and helps pass furballs through the digestive track rather than the furballs ending up all over your lovely carpet!
- Fermentable fiber – This helps there tummy and helps to provide benefical bacteria for their gut and to prevent really smelly poo’s.
- Taurine – taurine is an essential amino acid thats cats need for normal vision, immune function, digestion and heart muscle function
- Essential fats – cats need a variety of fats in their diet, mainly the good fats found in fish such as omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, just like humans these healthy fats provide many benefits such has being able to absorb vital vitamins.
You may wish to look at this article by redbarn.com to find out more about the nutrients cats need! As always consult a qualified vet if needed!
Benefits of Wet Food for Indoor Cats
There are so many brands of wet food for indoor cats! Some people and cats like the lower cost pouches and that is fine if your cat enjoys them.
My cats are very snobby (either that or they have been spoiled) they prefer the more expensive food because they like to see Daddy spending his money on them!
So let’s have a look at the benefits of wet food for cats!
Cats need lots of water and one thing I know is that cats don’t always like to drink still water, they will drink it when needed but a lot of their moisture comes from wet food.
Cats come from the desert and their kidneys are very good at concentrating urine but male cats are especially at risk of urinary tract problems so moisture is vital!
According to PetMD– ”Dry cat food contains approximately 10% of water, and the other 90% consists of dry matter such as carbohydrates, fats and vitamins. Canned food contains much more water—approximately 70%—compared to dry matter.”
Some cats can be prone to water infections and kidney issues so they may benefit from more wet food to get that essential moisture they require to keep them healthy!
This again comes down to the water content in wet wood, constipation isn’t nice and you will hear Kitty meowing in pain if they are constipated while using the litter tray, adding wet food and more moisture to the diet can help prevent this!
Wet food is very high in protein
Protein promotes lean body mass in cats and as already discussed is the main essential nutrient in their diet so make sure that they get enough of this vital ingredient.
Benefits of Dry Food For Indoor Cats
Dry food for cats comes in lots of varieties and flavours!
There is so much choice but choosing a good reputable brand that vets recommend is always the best option!
Dry food is often made by mixing wet food and dry carbohydrate-rich ingredients together, it is then dried out and sprayed with fats to make it appealing.
So let us have a look at the benefits!
Less expensive than wet food
Dry food tends to be a lot cheaper than wet food, again it can vary in price depending on how much you want to spend and your cat’s individual preferences.
Here in the UK I probably spend about £15 a month give or take on dry food for my two cats.
On that note, if you are interested to find out how much a cat costs because you are new to the world of cats and you want to see a full breakdown of costs including how much it will cost you monthly then I HIGHLY recommend you check out my article on how much it costs to keep a cat, for an interesting read!
Dry food will last longer
Although all food will eventually perish dry food generally lasts a lot longer especially in the summer months, wet food cannot be left out longer than about two hours before it may start to spoil and you could be left with a cat that is sick.
Believe me, there is nothing worse than coming home from work to a poorly cat with diarrhoea and sick all over the carpet!
Dry food can be used in food puzzles and toys
Dry food and dry treats are perfect for use in toys and puzzles, there are a variety of different food toys out there to buy.
I personally have a couple of small ones that are shaped like snowmen because I got them at Christmas, they have two little holes on the sides of them and when the cats claw at them the little treats fall out on the floor for them to eat.
Make them work for their treats 🙂
It is a perfect way to get your indoor cat’s activity levels up while stimulating their natural hunting instincts! They will appreciate their food a little more if you do this.
While we are on that subject, if you are looking for some really fun imaginative ways to keep your indoor cats active and entertained so they don’t get bored then you must read my blog post for 13 fun ways to keep cats entertained and active.
Dry food provides beneficial effects for cats teeth
Dry food is very good at reducing tartar build-up on cats teeth and helping remove plaque to keep their teeth healthy, you don’t want a cat to end up with painful gums and believe me brushing a cats teeth yourself is hard work!
I personally haven’t even tried but I just know they wouldn’t be too happy about it!
You can even buy special treats that help keep cats teeth healthy and they will love you even more because we all know how much they adore humans who feed them special treats.
Please make sure if you do decide to feed your cats just dry food to make sure there is a good supply of water around!
You can even buy cat water fountains to attract cats to drink more water, as we have said already they don’t always enjoy just plain still water!
One great tip to encourage cats to drink more water is: Add tuna water to their water dish! – They will lap up the water in no time!
3 Cats Feeding Methods (With Pro’s and Con’s)
There are a few methods that are available when you are considering feeding your indoor cat and it’s worth having a look into these different methods so you can decide on how you are going to feed your little bundle of joy!
There are several factors to consider with each method so let’s examine the pros and cons of each!
This feeding method means you are supplying your cat with food just at specific times in the day, so this could be 7 am followed by 7 pm for an adult cat.
- You can monitor the amount your cat is eating to make sure they do not over-eat, compared to free-feeding which is not always a good idea in multiple cat households as one cat may be eating a lot more than the others without you knowing.
- Provides stability with a routine, your cat will always know what time to expect food and will be waiting patiently for you to feed them.
- Easier to spot if your cat has a sudden change in appetite which can indicate an illness and potentially neeeding a trip to the vets.
- Your cat may begin asking for food in between meal times
- The food you leave out may not get eaten straight away and could rot if left out while you head off out for the day.
Free feeding cats
This form of feeding means the food is available to the cats throughout the day so they can pick at the food whenever they want to, perfect for a cat who likes to graze!
Some people say cats don’t like to graze and are natural hunters, I think to a degree that’s true in some cases but in my experience, some cats do like to eat little and often!
You can’t just put every cat into a box of being a certain way just the same way you cannot do that with a human.
Out of my two cats, Isis prefers this method as she likes to eat little and often unlike Lenny who will just eat whatever he is fed!
- Your cat can choose to eat when they want, although cats like routine their personalities differ so very much from cat to cat, some cats dont want to be told when to eat but much prefer to go when they choose, when they are hungry and on their terms!
- If you are the type of person that works in the daytime then you can just leave the food out all day and not have to worry about making it home for scheduled mealtimes.
- The one disadvantage with this method is that some cats will over-eat and have more food than they should
- Its difficult to monitor in a multi-cat household just how much each cat is eating
It is important when choosing this method that you weigh out the food per day that you put down.
I made this mistake with my cats and never used to weigh the dry food and my Lenny just kept getting bigger and bigger until I noticed the weight gain!
Has you will know as cat parents we just want to make sure our pussies are well fed and looked after and we often learn along the way.
I finally decided to read the instructions on the dry food packet and realised I was feeding my cats the wrong amount! Massively!
So again always follow that manufacturer’s instruction! (You must be fed up with me saying that by now) 🙂
This is my chosen method of feeding and when I conducted my Facebook poll I realised it’s the way 71% of people are also feeding their cat’s!
This method involves placing dry food out which is left all day and two set meal times with wet food!
- Variety is the spice of life – This method gives cats the chance to get the benefits of dry food and wet food. Both foods can contain different nutrients that support your cats development.
- Your including wet food so the cat is getting alot more water in their diet
- Can sometimes lead to overeating similar to free feeding but again only if the amounts of food are not measured correctly
- Can be difficult to measure which cat is eating the most similar to free feeding
If you have two cats it can be helpful to feed them in different places again going back to my two cat’s, one of them is fed on the floor and the other cat is fed on top of the fridge freezer which works for them.
I can’t always monitor exactly who is eating what because when I leave the house they probably eat each other’s food but you can put measures in place and work with your cats to make sure that they are all at least getting some food throughout the day!
See this video below by ”relax my cat” – to hear more about these feeding methods and some more tips!
How Much Should I Feed an Indoor Cat?
In general, kittens need to be fed more frequently than adult cats with small regular meals. Most cat owners decide to feed adult cats wet food twice a day and a mixture of dry food throughout the day. Please always consult a vet if you have any worries about your cat’s weight or health.
See the following information below to see what the experts said about cats protection on how cats should be fed depending on their age!
Kittens have small stomachs and high energy needs, so they need to be fed little and often. Remember to check their food and replace it four times a day. They must be fed specific kitten food which provides nutrients required for growing and is more energy-dense.
- Adult cats
Your cat is an ‘adult’ when they are between one and eight years old. Your adult cat needs to be fed once or twice a day, but some will regulate their food intake, so their daily ration can be left out, particularly if you give them dry food.
- Senior cats
Cats over eight are considered ‘senior’. As your cat grows older, their nutritional needs change and you can buy special foods that cater for them. These foods may have less protein and a balance of minerals and vitamins designed to keep them in good health.
So according to the above kittens need smaller frequent meals throughout the day 3-4 meals, this promotes a healthy digestive system but also starts to get your cat into a routine!
Cats love routine and can often feel stressed when we don’t keep to their routine, sometimes this is not always possible due to your own commitments such as when your cat sitter looks after them while you are away but when you are at home always try to keep to the routine you have set!
What about dry food?
If the cat owner is feeding a good quality dry food, that has a good quality protein, then the indoor cat needs only approximately 1/3 to 1/2 a cup of food each day. Most high-quality foods have approximately 500 calories per 8 ounces cup of foodKirkwoodvets
I think the big difference with indoor cats is using your common sense when it comes to their activity levels and monitoring their weight, if they are high energy cats who are playing more often with higher activity levels then they may require more food.
How Often Should I Give My Cat Treats?
You will know as a cat owner how much cats like treats!
All it normally takes is one shake of the bag of treats before cats will come running to you waiting patiently for you to give them their little surprise!
One thing we must remember is that cat treats are often high in calories so we need to make sure that this amounts to less than 10% of their diet.
As mentioned earlier in this post it’s a good idea to use food puzzles for treats and one thing you may wish to do is hide those little treats around the home while you are at work.
This will make sure that Kitty has a fun time sniffing them out and hunting them!
With the popular dreamy treats, they recommend feeding up to 15 pieces a day and reducing their other food accordingly – see their FAQ for more info.
Conclusion – Best Type of Food for Indoor Cats
So I hope this blog post has given you an idea of how you would like to feed your cat and answered some of your main questions.
It seems that most cat owners feed their cats a combination diet with a mix of dry and wet food, we have explored the benefits of the main three ways you can feed your cat in this post so now it’s your time to decide what works for you based on your lifestyle.
Indoor cats can be one of the best companions but please make sure that they are active and you engage in daily playtime with them!
Activity is so important to keep their weight down and make sure they are healthy and happy.
To encourage play with your indoor cats I recommend catnip, in fact, I wrote a whole blog post on catnip with some fun ways you can make your own catnip toys, you have to check it out.