Feline Nutrition and Exercise

Your Cat’s Diet

Managing your cat’s weight can improve his or her health. Obesity can cause hypertension and predispose your cat to such conditions as diabetes, hepatic lipidosis and arthritis.

People Foods: Are They Safe?

Cats require ample protein and different nutrients than dogs, such as taurine (an essential amino acid), arachidonic acid (fatty acid), and pre-formed vitamin A (rather than beta-carotene), all of which are found only in meat. However, you should refrain from feeding your cat raw or cooked meat; raw meats may contain parasites and cooked meats tend to be high in fat.

  • Milk: Although some cats may safely tolerate milk, large intakes may cause diarrhea in cats that lack the enzyme lactase, which is necessary for dairy digestion.
  • Raw fish: A raw fish diet can lead to a deficiency of the vitamin thiamine, making your cat more likely to develop a total lack of appetite, general weakness, abnormal posture, and seizures. Thiamine deficiency also can lead to death.
  • Raw eggs: A diet high in raw eggs can increase a cat’s risk of biotin deficiency. Lack of the vitamin biotin may cause loss of hair, dermatitis, and poor growth.
  • Raw liver: Liver is high in vitamin A; too much vitamin A can be toxic to cats.
  • Chocolate: A favorite treat for many humans, chocolate is anything but sweet for cats. Under any circumstances, DO NOT let your cat eat chocolate. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, both of which are toxic to cats and can produce fatal effects, even in tiny amounts.
  • Small, soft bones: Chicken or pork chop bones pose a serious choking threat and should never be given to cats.
  • Table scraps: Your dinner leftovers and discarded table scraps are not nutritionally complete or balanced foods for cats. If you can’t resist sneaking your cat an occasional bite, restrict this to less than 10 percent of your cat’s daily food intake.

Exercise and Your Cat: getting enough exercise

Although house cats tend to live long, healthy lives, these often sedentary felines are at an increased risk of obesity and other serious feline health conditions. Exercise, along with some entertaining cat toys, can help keep your pet physically fit and mentally healthy by burning calories, boosting digestive performance, and strengthening cardiovascular health.