Cats have very specific dietary needs, but what they eat and when and where they eat it is completely dictated by you, the owner. Their food and water intake are very important! There is a wide range of cat food available on the market including everything from dry kibble, to canned foods, to pouches with chunks and gravy.
While this book won’t be delving into the exact nutritional needs of cats, it is important to choose a good quality cat food that is specific to the age of your cat. Kittens, adult cats, and ‘geriatric’ cats all have different nutritional requirements, and getting premium, commercially prepared cat food (be it wet, dry, or a mixture of both) is imperative. While it is possible to prepare your cat’s food at home, it is extremely hard to balance their diet properly, and there is a much greater chance of feeding them a diet deficient in some nutrients when doing so, all the while potentially over-saturating their diet with other nutrients in the process.
Keeping Your Cat Fed
Regardless of the diet, you choose for your cat, it is very important that you follow the feeding guidelines on the packaging as closely as you can. Indoor cats have a much higher chance of becoming overweight or obese primarily due to decreased amounts of activity and by being fed too much. As the owner, you are in control of both of these things so it is important to regularly exercise your cat via play, to follow those feeding guidelines to the letter, and not to give extra bits of food!
When and Where to Feed Your Cat
The location of the food and water bowls for the cats in your home is very important. Ideally, you need to feed each cat in a separate room if possible, as doing so helps to prevent fighting between the cats, lessens stress, and allows each cat to eat at their own pace.
Try to find a quiet space in your home where each cat can comfortably eat. While cats can be very particular with their water bowls, this generally isn’t true for food bowls. Stainless steel is ideal in that it is easy to keep clean and doesn’t degrade with time, unlike with plastic bowls. The Hepper Nomnom bowl is ideal in that it has a base with a unique and innovative crumb catcher, but you can also remove its stainless steel bowl regularly in order to clean with ease.
Keeping Your Cat Hydrated
Having an adequate number of water bowls around your home is very important for a number of reasons. With many cats on dry diets (kibbles) these days, ensuring they drink enough water is very important. Cats can be particularly fussy when it comes to water, and getting the right type of water bowls for your cat is just as important as the number of bowls in your home.
A cat’s wide water preference may include any or all of the following:
- Ceramic bowls
- Stainless steel bowls
- Glass bowls
- Plastic bowls
- Flowing water – i.e. from a tap, or a cat drinking fountain
- Water next to their food bowl
- Water well away from their food bowl
Understanding your cat’s preferences can take time and a bit of observation. Start with a few of the above options and then continue with the ones your cat visits most frequently. Generally the bigger the water bowl the better, but choose one that isn’t too deep since cats do not like it when their whiskers touch the sides of a bowl. The Hepper NomNom bowl is the perfect choice for this reason, as it is wide but shallow. We call it “Whisker Friendly”! The Hepper NomNom bowl has two stainless steel bowls, which affords you the flexibility of choosing to keep the bowls full of food only or to have food and water, on your cat’s preferences.
Ideally, there should be at least two water bowls available per cat in your household. These need to be refilled every day and washed out once or twice per week. For many cats, having the water bowl adjacent to their food bowl is acceptable, but for others, this may be an issue. You might need to move their food and water bowls to separate places in the house.
How To Feed Multiple Cats
If you have more than one cat, you have probably experienced the irritation of trying to stop them from eating each other’s food. In these situations, it is important to try and feed the cats in separate rooms so that they do not fight or bother each other. This may mean feeding one cat in the laundry room, and another in the dining room, for example. Allowing each cat time alone to eat in a quiet and ‘safe’ place away from their housemate ensures they don’t gobble their food down too quickly and makes for a stress-free home. Cats will typically share water bowls, so this isn’t usually a problem in households with more than one cat, but it is still important to try and have at least 2 water bowls per cat around the home, and to choose water bowls according to the preferences of each individual cat.