You’ve just adopted Sasha, a bright-eyed, inquisitive kitten you found at your town’s animal shelter. You’ve already purchased Sasha’s bed, food and water bowls, and an almost endless supply of toys your playful kitten will love. Now it’s time to take Sasha to your Pelham veterinarian for a complete physical exam. Your vet will also develop a food plan that meets your pet’s nutritional needs.
A cat who eats a balanced, high-quality diet is more likely to avoid heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and obesity. Include the proper mix of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, certain nutrients, and sufficient fiber. While you can purchase a generic diet that saves you money over a higher-quality brand, a nutritional analysis will show that the cheap food is stuffed with fillers that have little benefit. If your cat suffers from a specific medical condition, and requires specially formulated food, your vet will likely make that food available at his practice.
Right now, Sasha’s like a little wind-up toy with one speed: blindingly fast. Her energy level is off the charts, and she’s even grown a bit since you met her two weeks ago. Clearly, Sasha needs high-quality kitten food until she stops growing at around her first birthday. Until her birthday party, feed her 3 times each day until she’s 6 to 8 weeks old. Then, switch to 1 to 2 daily feedings. Instead of following your food manufacturer’s serving advice, consult your vet, as he’s familiar with Sasha’s energy needs. If Sasha starts to get a little tubby, your vet might recommend you feed her controlled portions at certain times of the day.
Once Sasha’s an adult, she’ll probably turn into a couch kitty, and her nutritional needs will change accordingly. She’ll require a top-notch adult cat diet complete with vitamins and antioxidants, both of which help prevent disease. Because you don’t want Sasha to become one of those terribly obese cats you read about, ask your vet to alter Sasha’s portions, too.
Once Sasha turns seven, ask your vet to gradually switch her to a reduced-calorie diet that includes essential nutrients senior cats need. Don’t slip her treats when your family’s not looking, as these excess calories can dismantle your Pelham vet’s careful nutritional planning. After all, you want Sasha to keep her svelte figure into her golden years.