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The Very Best Diet for Cats, According to Vets

Though you wouldn't necessarily think so, a cat's diet is actually very particular. They're what's referred to as "obligate carnivores," which means they must eat high amounts of meat in order to nourish their bodies and live happy healthy lives. To help you navigate the world of cat diets, we asked experts to weigh in.

Young cat eating at home from its bowl. Female hand adding foodMilles Studio/Shutterstock

When and how you feed your cat matters

"Aside from the kind of food you're feeding your feline friend, knowing how much you feed them and when are important factors, as well," says Carey. "While it's popular to 'free-feed' cats and let them graze throughout the day, most veterinarians recommend feeding set quantities at the same times daily. Free-feeding can easily lead to obesity which in turn can lead to more severe health issues like joint disease and diabetes." Find out the things you do that your cat secretly hates.

cat treatsKoldunov Alexey/Shutterstock

Treats are exactly that—treats!

Cat treats, like human treats, are generally higher in calories and therefore ought to be given sparingly. The VCA website recommends using them strategically when training or curbing behaviors, or even as part of a bonding activity. If your cat ends up eating treats too often, it can disrupt their nutritional balance, impede their appetite for the food they really need, and can even cause them to become picky eaters.

cat overheadPixieMe/Shutterstock

Try making eating time more fun

In addition to needing meat, cats also do well when digging into their ancestral tendency to hunt for their food. There are a number of toys available that make eating feel like a game, like the Trixie Activity Strategy Game Tunnel Feeder Cat Toy and Doc & Phoebe's Cat Co. Indoor Hunting Cat Feeder Kit. These are more tech gadgets every pet owner needs.

Cropped image of beautiful female doctor veterinarian with stethoscope is examining cute grey cat at vet clinic.4 PM production/Shutterstock

Your vet can help you figure out the best food for your cat

"We all know how fickle and opinionated cats can be, which can make finding the right food even more difficult," says Carey. "Your best bet is consulting with your veterinarian to find the right balance of nutrients for your pet's unique needs." Not eating is one of the 15 signs your kitty is secretly mad at you.

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