Mistakes People Make in Feeding Cats (cont.)

Cat Feeding Mistakes: Creating Nutrient Deficiencies

The interest in homemade food for cats (and dogs) is on the rise, say the pros. It is important to realize however that homemade does not always mean healthy.

"A mistake that I often see well-meaning people make is the feeding of unbalanced homemade diets," Pierson says.

That's because when making cat food from scratch, some people fail to balance the meat with the correct amount of calcium, forgetting "that a cat would be eating both the meat and bones of their prey, which provides a proper calcium-to-phosphorus ratio."

A cat diet too heavy in tuna, liver, or liver oil (such as cod liver oil), can lead to vitamin A toxicosis, resulting in bone and joint pain, brittle bones, and dry skin. A diet too rich in raw fish can destroy vitamin B1, causing muscle weakness, seizures, or brain damage. "If a feline caregiver wishes to make their pet's food, they need to follow a properly balanced recipe," Pierson says.

One way to do that is to start by talking to your veterinarian, who can guide you away from food fads and steer you toward a balanced, healthy eating plan for your cat.

SOURCES: Linda P. Case, MS, adjunct assistant professor, University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine; Author "The Cat: Its Behavior, Nutrition, and Health," Co-author of "Canine and Feline Nutrition."

Joe Bartges, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, DACVN, professor of medicine and nutrition, the Acree Endowed Chair of Small Animal Research,College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee.

Susan G. Wynn, DVM, nutritionist, Georgia Veterinary Specialists, Atlanta.

Author, Manual of Natural Veterinary Medicine.

Lisa A. Pierson, DVM, California, CatInfo.org.

Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook, by Delbert G. Carlson, DVM, James M. Griffin MD and Liisa D. Carlson DVM Howell Book House, New York, 1995.

The Veterinarians' Guide to Natural Remedies for Cats, by Martin Zucker, Three Rivers Press, New York 1999.

National Academy of Sciences, "Your Cat's Nutritional Needs."

ASPCA, "Nutrients Your Cat Needs," "Feeding Your Adult Cat," "Worms."

Veterinary College of Medicine at the University of Illinois, "Don't Feed Your Cat That Dog Food."

Reviewed on May 01, 2010

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