Every cat is unique and some have special dietary requirements, either because they have a medical condition which can be helped by changing their diet, or because their lifestyle or specific metabolism necessitates a particular blend of nutrients will help them maintain optimal health. Types of special diets for cats range from weight loss and sensitive digestion recipes, to foods specifically created to help manage conditions such as diabetes or urinary or skin problems.
Huge amounts of research have been done to formulate a wide range of cat foods specifically designed to help manage several different health problems in cats. Each diet provides an optimal balance of total nutrients whilst also satisfying special dietary requirements needed by cats with each condition. Diets are available to help manage cats with renal failure, lower urinary tract disease, gastrointestinal problems, diabetes mellitus and skin disease such as food allergies. Some of these can only be prescribed by your veterinary surgeon so your cat can be closely monitored while on the special diet.
Approximately one in three adult cats in the UK are overweight or obese. In most cases the cause is simple –too many calories being consumed but not enough exercise to burn them off.
Providing less food is not a simple solution as cats become hungry and irritable and may not receive enough vitamins and other nutrients in the smaller quantity of regular food. Instead, use a specially formulated weight loss diet to make sure your cat is both well fed and healthy, but also losing weight. These diets are also designed to reduce hunger pangs- helping your cart feel fuller for longer. Using only healthy, low calorie treats such as kibbles taken from her daily allowance is also very important as is encouraging your cat to exercise. Help and support from your vet or veterinary nurse is invaluable when following a weight loss programme with your cat. Talk to them about regular weight ins and whether they hold a clinic specially for cats who are losing weight.
Any cat living in a restricted space will have less opportunity for exercise. It is therefore vital to ensure your cat optimises all chances to exercise, so get involved.
Without sufficient exercise the consequence can be increased difficulty for indoor cats to maintain an ideal body condition.Specially formulated diets specifically designed for indoor cats are generally higher in protein and lower in fat, with additional nutrient adjustments designed to help keep indoor cats in peak condition.
Indoor cats also seem to suffer more from troublesome hairballs than their outdoor counterparts. This may be due to increased grooming or may simply be that because they live indoors all the time we are more aware of the hairballs that are produced. Many specially formulated indoor cat foods also include additional fibre along with both pre and probiotics to promote a healthy gut and help ease the movement of hairballs through the digestive system.
Allergies are a rare phenomenon in cats; the incidence of dietary allergies or food intolerances in pets is rare, thought to be around 0.1 percent for dogs and cats combined.
However, allergies when they do occur can be distressing, traumatic and sometimes even life-threatening.
The only accurate way to diagnose a true food allergy or dietary intolerance is by conducting a food elimination trial supervised by your vet. Many allergies are triggered by proteins within a food, so it is the protein culprit that needs to be determined in a food elimination trial.