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Food

There are probably more choices of cat foods on the market today than ever in history. The Manufacturers would have you changing foods daily to keep kitty from being bored and getting "fussy". That's because they want you to buy their food. Most cats are not terribly fussy eaters and changing foods can be dangerous if done too quickly.

If you have just gotten your cat, please continue to use the food he is accustomed to, changing to a new food gradually, if that is your plan.

There is also a lot written about raw meat diets for cats. I am not a fan of these diets for the average person. Raw supermarket hamburger is a dangerous thing as we have learned. What might give you a stomachache can kill your cat. So even though fluffly's ancestors ate raw antelope, I don't recommend trying to take him back to that state.

For the most part the pet food companies do a pretty good job of blending the right elements for today's domestic cats. I have used Royal Canin for years and find the food to be more than adequate for breeding healthy cats. Most of the people I have sold cats to have stayed with that brand. Whatever brand you choose, get the best you can afford.

Read ingredients just as you should on your own foods. In some cases the five dollars you might save buying a bargain brand food might end up costing you more in vet bills later. By the same token, just because a food costs more doesn't mean it's necessarily better. Some of the large chains have their own brands made by other companies under private label. The problem there may be that they may or may not be equal to the parent brand.

There are also a lot of gimmicks in marketing cat foods. The combination foods that claim to help with hairballs are a perfect example. While they may do that, the do so by adding ingredients that speed the transit through the digestive tract. This may not be a good trade off for the occasional hairball. If your cat does get frequent hairballs and you are doing a regular grooming on him, it would be better to add a few doses a week of laxitone, or one of the hairball gels on the market.

The cat food business is a huge business and millions if not more money is spent every year by some large conglomerates aimed at separating you from you dollars. Discuss your food choices with your breeder, or someone you trust, and read the ingredients. Visit the sites of the cat food companies, and make a decision based on your cat's needs.

Exercise

Various chasers with and without feathers are wonderful for interactive play. Interactive play gives your cat a chance to chase, and exercise. He will amaze you with his agility and accuracy. After a bit it is you who will be exhausted. One tip however, don't let him go on for more than a few minutes at a time. Cats are sprinters, not marathon runners, so that short bursts of aerobic activity is what their hearts were designed for.

A simpler game of exercise can be done with you initially throwing a ball from the top of the stairs. After a while the cat will go and fetch it and bring it back up and drop it to catch it. I know cats that will entertain themselves for quite a while with this game.

A laser pointer is another great way to get your couch potato cat off the rocker. Most cats can't resist a small moving object. It's just too tempting. It's a lot of laughs to watch him wait patiently for the "bug" to come back out from under the dresser, or leap into the air, or up the wall to catch the little light. Again, in five minute doses. Stop and let him rest, and then start again later.

Nutraceuticals (additions to your cat's diet)

Just as pet food companies spend millions to convince you that you need to buy their food, so do the pet vitamin companies. Nutraceuticals are products that claim nutritional advantage when added to the daily input of foods. This area of the shelf has become crowded with claims of better health, longer life, shiny coats etc. Just as in the human market for these products, exercise buyer beware and read the ingredients. If you can't understand what they are ask someone who knows, or don't buy them. In short, if you don't need it, don't add it. Buying cheap food and adding vitamins is not a good trade off. If your cat is in need of an addition to his diet, or is experiencing problems check with your vet first. There are also holistic practitioners for pets as well if that is your preference. Many have helped and healed cats where traditional methods have failed. Just be careful and don't try to do this at home with no training. Good holistic practitioners have for the most part gone to veterinary school and practice a combination of medical approaches and are best suited to deal with issues involving out of the box problems and solutions.

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