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How to Choose the Right Cat Food

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Nutritional Needs for Your Cat

Good nutrition is as important to your cat as it is to you, but her nutritional needs are quite different! Unlike humans, a cat needs a high-fat diet with less fibre. Even if you prefer a vegetarian diet, you should understand that cats are carnivores. They need nutrients from animal protein and fat for optimal health, and they benefit from fibre for a healthy digestive tract and carbohydrates for energy.

 

Life Stage and Lifestyle

With thousands of pet foods available, how do you pick the one that's right for your cat?
 

Start by identifying the cat's life stage and lifestyle. Kittens, nursing mothers, and mature/senior pets are examples of life stages, and each has different nutritional requirements. All cat foods should state which life stage they are recommended for.
 

Nutritional needs also vary depending on lifestyle. A cat whose primary activity is guarding the couch doesn't need as much energy as one who likes to spend time roaming outside.
 

Finally, it is important to take into account any special medical condition your cat may have, including food allergies that might require a special diet recommended by your veterinarian.

 

Dry or Wet Cat Food?

Once you've determined your cat's life stage and lifestyle needs, decide whether to feed dry or wet food. Most cats thrive on only dry food. This type of food promotes oral hygiene and health through abrasive action. Some cats, especially finicky eaters, enjoy the smooth and wet texture of canned or pouch foods.
 

Remember that, while dry food can be left in a bowl all day, wet food should be thrown away after 30 minutes if not eaten. Dry food is the best choice for busy people who are not normally home during the day.
 

Once you know your pet's nutritional needs and your pet's preference, you are ready to go shopping.

 

Comparing Labels

Because cats need the nutrients found in animal sources, it’s best to pick a food in which a primary ingredient (one of the first ones listed) is an animal-based protein source such as chicken, lamb, fish, egg, or one of their by-products. These ingredients contain all the essential amino acids, including taurine, which isn’t found in a vegetable-based protein source.
 

Using a combination of carbohydrates in a diet, such as corn meal or barley and grain sorghum, ensures efficient absorption and helps maintain energy levels. And beet pulp is an excellent fibre source that promotes a healthy digestive tract.
 

For a soft, thick coat and healthy skin, your pet needs fatty acids like those found in vitamin-rich fish oils and quality fat sources such as chicken.

 

Quality

Cat food labels provide limited information on the nutritional value of your pet's food because labeling regulations do not allow manufacturers to describe the quality of ingredients on the package. A reputable pet food manufacturer can explain to you how they evaluate and assure the quality of their products.

 

Price Comparison

When choosing food, the price on the bag, while important, is usually not the best consideration. A low price may indicate cheap ingredients, or ingredients that change as manufacturer costs fluctuate.
 

In addition, many lower-priced products have higher daily portions to provide the same amount of nutrition found in a high-quality diet. To get a better idea of cost, it is the cost per feeding, not the total cost, that counts.
 

To figure cost per feeding, divide the total cost by the number of days the product lasts. For example, a 20-lb bag of food that costs $18.99 and lasts 30 days is $0.63 per day. A 20-lb bag that costs $15.99 and lasts 20 days costs $0.80 per day. When compared closely, high-quality pet foods are quite favourable to other brands.

  • How to Cut a Cat's Nails: A Comprehensive Guide to Understand and Manage Cat Clawing
    How to Cut a Cat's Nails: A Comprehensive Guide to Understand and Manage Cat Clawing
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    How to Cut a Cat's Nails: A Comprehensive Guide to Understand and Manage Cat Clawing

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    If you share your living space with a feline friend, you’ve likely experienced the fascinating yet perplexing world of cat nails. From the loud, rhythmic sound of scratching that greets your early morning to those tiny prods every now and then, the claws of cats are as intricate as they are functional. Let's take a journey together to understand why cats scratch and learn how to cut a cat's nails. 
     

    Why do cats scratch?

    First and foremost, let's understand why your cat is a passionate ‘cat clawing expert’. Cats scratch for various reasons, including claw maintenance, exercise, marking territory, and even attention-seeking. Scratching enables them to remove the outer husk of their claws, revealing a sharp new surface underneath. Additionally, scent and sweat glands in their feet produce a unique smell, which is deposited when they scratch, marking their territory - a clever, multi-purpose act, isn't it?
     

    Identifying normal cat clawing

    If you're wondering, 'how much cat clawing is too much?', you're not alone. Many cats scratch indoors due to limited outdoor access, comfort, or safety concerns. If you find your cat scratching extensively, especially around doorways and windows, it could be a sign of insecurity or anxiety. 
     

    How to determine if your cat's nails are too long

    Spotting when your cat's nails are too long is crucial. Overgrown cat nails can cause injuries to their paw pads, lead to changes in gait which can affect their joints, and cause damage to your furniture. Generally, indoor cats require nail trims every couple of weeks, whereas outdoor cats may need them less frequently. 
     

    Cutting cat nails: A step-by-step guide
     

    1. Establishing a calm environment for cat nail trimming

      When it comes to cutting cat nails, creating a calm environment is key. Choose a quiet spot and find a comfortable position for you and your cat. You could try trimming their nails when they're sleepy or relaxed, like after a meal. Avoiding distractions such as windows or other pets can also make the process smoother.

    2. Building trust through paw handling

      Get your cat used to paw handling. Gently hold and rub their paw daily for a few seconds. If they're comfortable, extend a nail and reward them with a treat. This slow, rewarding process will make them more amenable to cat nail trimming.

    3. Familiarizing your cat with the nail clipper

      When learning how to cut a cat's nails, it's important to familiarize your cat with the nail clipper. Let them see and sniff it to reduce anxiety. You could also familiarize them with the sound of the clipper by cutting a piece of dry spaghetti near their paw. Always remember to reward their calm behavior.

    4. The process of trimming cat nails 

      Now it's time to clip. Carefully isolate the nail to cut and note where the quick is -- a vein that can cause pain and bleeding if cut. Cut the nail at a 45-degree angle, starting with the very tip. Be patient and careful not to cut the quick. 

    5. Importance of patience in clipping cat nails

      This isn't a race, so take your time when clipping cat nails. If your cat becomes agitated after a few nails, stop the session, and try again later. Forcing the process can cause stress and erode trust.

    6. Cat nail trimming schedule

      Maintaining a consistent cat nail trimming schedule is vital. As a rule of thumb, trim their nails once every one and a half to two weeks. But remember, every cat is different, so adjust as necessary. If you struggle with the process, seek advice from a professional groomer or veterinarian. 
       

    How to stop your cat from clawing furniture: Enter the scratching post 

    To keep your beloved furniture intact, providing an acceptable alternative to your cat's claws is crucial. A cat scratching post, sturdy and tall enough for the cat to stretch fully, is an excellent solution. These scratching posts mimic the texture and orientation (horizontal or vertical) of their preferred scratching area, redirecting their cat clawing behavior. 
     

    Caring for kitten nails: The basics

    Kitten nail trimming is similar to adult cat nail trimming, but with a few modifications. Firstly, begin the process of desensitizing their paws early. Show them the nail clipper and make sure it's not a source of fear. When cutting kitten nails, remember they're smaller and softer, so be extra cautious. And, don't forget the kitten scratching post. It's never too early to provide alternatives for their clawing needs.

    With these steps, you're now well-equipped to take care of your cat's claws. Remember to stay patient and calm during the process, and always reward your cat for their cooperation. In no time, you'll become a pro at handling your feline friend's claws, ensuring their comfort and wellbeing.