Guide to Feeding Your Cat Wet Food While Away
As a cat owner, it’s critical to understand your feline friend’s nutritional needs and the impact of a caregiver’s absence on their feeding routine. Diet plays a pivotal role in the wellbeing of cats, with wet food emerging as one of the most beneficial options because of its high moisture content and nutrition density. However, the sheer responsibility of ensuring the cat is well-fed in our absence might seem daunting but with a few tricks and modern technology, you will be amazed at how simple it is. From an in-depth understanding of cat’s nutritional needs and the advantages of wet food, to the magic of automatic pet feeders and the correct means of handling and storing wet cat food, this guide carries everything a dedicated cat owner needs to know.
Understanding Cat’s Nutritional Needs
Cats, being carnivores, require a diet that is rich in animal proteins. Wet cat food is considered beneficial for cats because it usually contains high-quality proteins from animals. It can include poultry, meat, or fish, which fulfill the essential amino acid requirement of cats. Wet cat food also contains taurine, another vital amino acid that particularly contributes to your cat’s eye, heart, and brain health.
Cats have a naturally low thirst drive as they’ve evolved from desert-dwelling animals. Wet food, being high in moisture content (about 70-80%), helps compensate for this and ensures they receive much-needed hydration. This is especially helpful in preventing urinary tract conditions, which cats are prone to.
Additionally, wet food is lower in carbohydrates than dry food. This can be beneficial as cats do not require a high carbohydrate diet, and excess carbs may contribute to obesity and other health problems in cats.
Feeding Frequency Based on Age, Size, and Health
Cat owners typically question how often they need to feed their little buddies. It depends mainly on the cat’s age, size, and health conditions.
Kittens, being in their growth stage, require more calories per pound than adult cats. Hence, it is generally recommended that kittens are fed wet food about three to four times a day.
Adult cats maintain their weight rather than grow, so fewer feedings are required – typically two or three times per day should suffice. The exact portion size though depends on the specific brand of food, so it’s best to check the instructions on the label.
The case is different for cats with health issues. Cats suffering from illnesses like diabetes need a regulated diet with accurately timed feedings. Consulting with a vet is the best course of action to ensure your ill cat gets the right nutritional care.
Feeding Cats Wet Food While Away
When you’re away, it might seem difficult to ensure your cat gets its wet food at the correct frequencies. However, there are few strategies to tackle the situation.
One practical way is to use an automatic cat feeder that is designed for wet food. These feeders come with ice packs to keep the food fresh, and you can set times for it to dispense meals. However, they can usually only do this for up to two days.
Alternatively, if you’re going to be away for more than two days, arranging for someone to come in and feed your cat is another option. This person could be a trusted neighbor, friend, or professional cat sitter. Besides feeding, they can also provide your cat with some much-needed social interaction.
Lastly, for longer absences, consider boarding your cat at a reputable kennel or vet’s office. The staff should be able to attend to your cat’s dietary needs.
Remember that each cat is unique and may require alterations to these general guidelines. Always observe your cat’s behavior and condition and meet with a vet if you notice anything unusual.
Automatic Pet Feeders
When you need to feed your cat wet food while away, automatic pet feeders come in handy. Various high-quality automatic feeders with an array of features are available in the market, making the process of selecting the right one a bit challenging. However, understanding the major features of these devices beforehand can assist in making the right purchase.
Major Features of Automatic Pet Feeders
Here are some major features of automatic pet feeders:
- Programmable Feeding Schedule: Automatic pet feeders allow you to set a specific feeding schedule for your pet. You can determine the timing and portion size of each meal, ensuring your pet is fed consistently.
- Portion Control: Many automatic pet feeders have adjustable servings to control your pet’s portion sizes. This is especially useful for pets on specific diets or those prone to overeating.
- Food Storage: Automatic feeders often come with a built-in food storage compartment, keeping the food fresh and protected from moisture and pests. This eliminates the need for additional food containers and ensures your pet always has access to fresh food.
- Voice Recording: Some automatic feeders feature a voice recording option, allowing you to record a personalized message for your pet. This can be helpful in training or reassuring your pet during mealtime.
- Battery Backup: To avoid any interruptions in feeding schedules, many automatic feeders come with a battery backup option. This ensures that even during power outages or when unplugged, your pet will still receive their scheduled meals.
- Easy to Clean: Automatic feeders are designed with easy-to-clean parts, allowing you to maintain proper hygiene for your pet’s feeding area.
Remember to consider your pet’s specific needs and consult with your veterinarian to choose the automatic pet feeder that best suits your pet’s diet and lifestyle.
Operating Automatic Pet Feeders
Operating automatic pet feeders depends largely on the make and model. However, the general process involves filling the feeder with cat food, setting the feeding schedule, and then letting the feeder take care of the rest. Depending on the feeder, you may also have the option to control portion sizes, thereby ensuring your cat doesn’t overeat.
Programming Automatic Pet Feeders
Programming automatic pet feeders usually involves setting the current time, feeding times, and the number of servings per feeding. This is typically done through the feeder’s control panel, which often comes with buttons for easy control and an LCD screen for straightforward navigation. Make sure to confirm the programmed settings before you leave your cat alone with the feeder to ensure they get fed at the proper times.
While these general instructions on using automatic pet feeders are helpful, ensure you read the specific manual that comes with your feeder. The guide will provide model-specific instructions to ensure your pet is fed well while you’re away, from setting up and programming the feeder to maintaining and cleaning it.
Preparing and Storing Wet Cat Food
Understanding Cat Food
Understanding your cat’s needs and dietary requirements is essential. Cats are obligate carnivores meaning they require a diet rich in animal protein, unlike dogs that can survive healthfully on a diet with a mixture of meat and plants. Wet food, in particular, is beneficial for cat’s health as it mimics their natural diet consisting of moisture-rich food. Wet cat food also helps promote hydration, lean body mass, and healthy urinary function.
Purchasing the Right Wet Food
When purchasing cat wet food, keep in mind your cat’s age, health conditions, and dietary needs. Choose a quality brand that uses high-grade ingredients and meets the nutritive requirements established by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Look for labels saying ‘complete and balanced,’ ensuring the food has the right nutrition for your cat. You can also consult with your vet for some recommendations.
How to Store Wet Cat Food
Store unopened cans of wet cat food in a cool, dry place. After opening the cans, all leftover food should be immediately refrigerated to prevent it from getting spoiled. Purchase a can lid to ensure the food is not exposed to bacteria in the fridge and retains its taste.
Preparing for Your Absence
If you plan to be away, you could use an automatic pet feeder that separately stores multiple servings of food and dispenses it at specific times. Prior to your departure, measure portions of wet cat food and place them in the feeder. If the feeder is not refrigerated, you must freeze the food to make sure it stays fresh.
Freezing and Thawing Wet Cat Food
When freezing wet cat food, divide it into serving sizes and place it in air-tight containers suitable for freezing. Allow food to thaw in the refrigerator, and never put it back in the freezer after it has been thawed. Before serving, check if food has reached room temperature; if it hasn’t, you can briefly microwave it on a low setting. Make sure to stir the food well before serving to distribute heat evenly and avoid hotspots. Always check the temperature of the food with your finger before feeding it to your cat to ensure it has cooled down sufficiently.
Properly Cleaning Food Utensils
Clean your cat’s food and water bowls daily to reduce bacteria growth. Wash the feeding utensils with hot, soapy water or run them through a dishwasher. Storing and handling wet cat food properly can ensure your cat remains happy and healthy, even when you’re away.
Armed with the knowledge of cat’s nutritional needs, the right choice of automatic pet feeders and the know-how of cat food preparation and storage, you’re set toward a journey with less worry about feeding your feline friend while you’re away. The world of automatic pet feeders has a multitude of offerings with programmable feeding times, plus portion control which, coupled with tips for handling and maintaining the freshness of wet cat food, strives to bring convenience right into your hands. Essentially, the secret lies in the balance between technology and smart wet cat food practices that not only caters to their health needs but also stand the tests of time and distance.