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Mistakes People Make Feeding Cats

Are you making one of these blunders when you feed your precious puss?
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Cat Feeding Mistakes: Feeding Only Dry Food continued...

“When cats present with urinary tract problems, the recommendation is to get them on a water-rich diet,” Pierson says. “However, why are we closing the barn door after the horse is a mile down the road? Why not practice preventive nutrition by feeding them [moisture-rich] canned food before they end up with urinary tract problems?”

Cats are designed to get their water with their food, Pierson says. Although mice, a cat's normal food, are about 70% water, and canned food about 78%, dry food is between 5%-10% water. That's why “canned food does a much better job of keeping your cat well-hydrated,” Pierson tells WebMD. “Think of canned food as hosing down your cat's bladder several times a day.”

Cat Feeding Mistakes: Offering Too Little Water

Clearly water is vital, for cats as well as people. Essential to life, water accounts for 60% to 70% of an adult cat’s body weight, say ASPCA experts. A serious water deficiency can have critical repercussions for pets, causing serious illness or death.

Although wet foods can go far toward meeting your feline friend’s water needs, cats should also have several sources of fresh water available through the house, say the pros. “Pay attention to where the cat likes to be so that there's water there,” Case suggests. “And be aware that some cats prefer running water; others can detect the taste of chlorine in tap water so you might want to buy bottled water for them.”

Here’s a tasty tip to help encourage your cat to drink more, offered inThe Veterinarians’ Guide to Natural Remedies for Cats:

  • Locate a couple leaves of fresh catnip
  • Fill a bowl with water and crush the leaves under the water
  • Sit back and watch susceptible kitties ‘go wild’

Cat Feeding Mistakes: Adding Garlic for Tapeworms

Some of us have seen those strange wiggly white segments near our cat’s posterior. About the size of rice grains, those segments belong to a tapeworm that’s taken residence in your cat’s small intestine. Some believe the best home remedy to foil these squirmy parasites is fresh, pungent garlic added to kitty’s chow.

“This is one of the biggest misconceptions around,” Bartges tells WebMD. “There is no proof that garlic prevents any parasitic infestation, including intestinal worms or fleas.” On top of that, if given in too high of a dose, garlic can destroy a cat’s red blood cells.

The most common parasite found inside adult cats, tapeworms are usually caused by kitty swallowing a flea. Although tapeworms aren’t life-threatening, they can lead to weight loss, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, and other issues if left untreated.

So why garlic to the rescue? “I believe the origin of this is that people thought garlic prevents fleas,” Case says. “But feeding your cat garlic doesn't prevent fleas or prevent tapeworms.”

If you notice tapeworm segments in your cat’s feces or near the anus, talk to your veterinarian, who will probably prescribe an oral deworming medication. Don’t treat kitty’s worms yourself -- not all treatments work on all worms and you could end up doing more harm than good with the wrong medication.

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