Cats require a balanced diet to stay healthy. They are carnivorous creatures so their diet should include plenty of meat. They need a mixture of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins and of course water.
Cats prefer to eat small frequent meals so it can be a good idea to feed your cat a mixture of wet food at meal times and leave a bowl of dry food for them to snack on. Since cats can become dehydrated and suffer liver problems if they don't get enough liquids it is a good idea to give them some wet food rather than a completely dry food diet.
Cat obesity is becoming a problem and the recommendations from cat food suppliers about how much to feed you cats are often excessive. The amount of exercise they get is a big factor and while a cat that plays outdoors will burn off a lot of calories an indoor cat will not be getting as much exercise and may put on weight more easily. Overweight cats can suffer from a number of problems in later life including diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and respiratory problems.
If your cat is overweight try to feed them less, don't let them badger you for snacks between meals. Most owners will be familiar with the pleading rub at your feet every time you enter the kitchen or worse the pained begging meow but you have to avoid giving in to your cat every time they ask for food.
Exercise is the best way to ensure that your cat doesn't pile on the pounds so make sure they have plenty of toys to stimulate them and try to find time to engage them in a bout of play every day, especially if they don't get outside to run around.
If you have real concerns about your cat's weight talk to the vet about a prescription diet, you can get food which is low in calories and high in fibre which will help your cat lose that unsightly wobbling tummy.
You should always provide a bowl of water for your cat and try to make sure you keep it fairly fresh. If you find your cat often pokes their head into your drink glasses it may be a sign that they are thirsty but like us they won't drink water if it has been sitting out for a long time.
Although it is traditionally thought that cats like a saucer of milk it can actually be bad for them. Most cats are lactose intolerant and giving them milk, which they are unable to digest, will lead to diarrhoea. You can buy specially formulated milk for cats and if your cat does develop a taste for milk this is the route to go but there is nothing wrong with only providing water to drink. Cats do not require milk as part of their diet.
It's nice to give your cat the occasional treat but avoid giving them milk, cheese, yoghurt and especially chocolate. Most human food especially processed food is not suitable for cats and will give them a stomach upset. If you want to give your cat a treat they will love fresh fish or tinned tuna and chicken always goes down well.
Loki's favourite is tuna and he is so in love with it that he will have to investigate every can that is opened in the kitchen as he associates the sound with tuna cans. Seti has more expensive tastes and prefers salmon, ideally fresh salmon.