What do cats eat?
Feeding Your New Cat or Kitten
“How do I feed my new cat or kitten?” is a common question among new cat owners. You may wonder what to feed, how much to feed, and how often to feed your cat. Cats have different needs, so having a conversation with your veterinarian about your cat’s dietary needs is an important one.
When you adopt a cat, ask the shelter what your cat has been eating. Most shelters use donated food so your cat’s diet may be varied.
If you are changing your cat’s diet, you will want to do a mix for a time with the food the cat is used to eating and the food you are going to be feeding. Lessen the amount of “old” food the cat was eating every few days, until you are only feeding the new food. This will decrease the likelihood of diarrhea.
Whether you feed your cat dry, canned, or semi-moist food, be sure to purchase a high quality product recommended by your veterinarian. You can then be assured your cat is receiving an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals. Do not add any vitamin or mineral supplements without a veterinarian’s approval. This may actually harm your cat.
Have the supplies you need for your cat or kitten before you get her, or get the supplies when you adopt her. Some animal shelters have a pet supply store inside the shelter. It contains all the supplies you need when bringing your pet home. You will need the following to make sure your kitty feels at home.
Most cats are comfortable with what we call “free feeding”. This means food is left out and available to them at all times. However, if you have an overweight cat or a cat with specific medical needs, you may need to feed a more restricted diet. This also means you will need to feed your cat at specific times during the day and evening.
Here’s some additional advice from the ASPCA about what cats eat–or shouldn’t:
- Milk should not be fed to cats as a treat or a substitute for water. Cats do not possess significant amounts of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk. Feeding milk and milk-based products to cats can actually cause them to vomit or have diarrhea.
- Many people foods are toxic for pets. To see a comprehensive list, see the ASPCS People Foods page.
- Older cats may have special dietary needs. See additional advice there on Feeding Older Cats.
Here’s a good video from Cat Chat with Arloa from CatChatTV onYouTube:
Hopefully we’ve answered your question, “What do cats eat?” Next up: other supplies you will need before you bring your new kitten or cat home.