Variety in your cat's diet has health benefits
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By The Buddy Foundation
Did you ever wonder if your cat gets bored eating the same food day after day? Actually, cats crave variety in their diet.
An exclusive diet of only one thing such as meat, fish etc. can result in nutrient deficiencies, so it is important to offer an assortment of different foods, allowing for allergies and other medical issues.
Choose a brand that offers complete and balanced nutrition and has a variety of ingredients, forms and textures. Your vet or pet store manager should be able to answer your questions.
• Did you ever wonder why your cat gets so crazy from catnip? Catnip is a perennial herb that is relatively easy to grow and can be found in most plant nurseries. You don't have to have a green thumb or huge yard to grow the plant and have it thrive.
The plant contains an aromatic oil that has an active ingredient called nepetalactone, which stimulates the sense of smell in all types of cats. It is not addictive or toxic to your pet, and they won't become a catnip junkie.
More than 70 percent of all domestic cats respond to the plant, while the other 30 percent lack catnip receptors found in the olfactory system.
Your cat's behavior can include rolling, jumping and running. This activity occurs in the first several minutes when your cat is introduced to the herb. The oil in the catnip often loses its effect, so you may need to replace it after a period of time.
• Did you ever wonder if your cat needs to look out the window and sit in the sun? A study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science (Vol. 8, No. 3) included interviews with 304 indoor cat caregivers. Almost all of the respondents, 84 percent, reported that their cats use windows for five hours or fewer per day.
Few caregivers indicated that this time was continuous, and no correlation was found between the number of cats in a household and the number of hours spent using windows. Only six participants reported that their cats slept or rested in the sun, and this activity may have been in response to warmth rather than sunlight.
Cats often use windows as a viewing area for birds, wildlife, other cats, or outdoor activities. Your cat may be enriched by means other than sunlight. Television, fish tanks and heated resting areas may serve as good substitutes if windows are lacking.
So if we have a dank winter or your house/apartment is small, don't despair, you can always find alternative solutions to kitty's enrichment.
Now that you know — give kitty a variety of foods, catnip to play with and sunny windows and alternative types of enrichment. By doing so, you will benefit both kitty's mind and soul. However, always remember, nothing is better than a warm lap.
• Contact The Buddy Foundation at (847) 290-5806; visit us at 65 W. Seegers Road, Arlington Heights; or online at thebuddyfoundation.org.
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