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What Do Cats Eat?

Cats enjoy eating a variety of foods that offer everything from protein to carbohydrate. If you’re getting ready to adopt a cat, you’re probably wondering what cats can eat. Read on to learn what you should feed your cat.

Are cats carnivores, herbivores or omnivores?

Cats are obligate carnivores, in other words, meat eaters. “Cats really thrive when part of their diet comes from animal sources,” explains Purina Senior Nutritionist Jan Dempsey. Some protein-rich foods cats like to eat are:

  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Tuna
  • Whitefish
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Pheasant
  • Beef

What can cats eat?

Cats need to eat protein. Unlike people and dogs, protein is the main energy source in cats’ diets. But that doesn’t mean cats can’t eat grains, vegetables, and fruits. Cats can eat all of these foods. Some are just easier for them to digest than others.

Why do cat foods have ingredients other than protein?

Cats can digest and use nutrients from a variety of foods. Pet nutritionists know this and create recipes with cats’ needs in mind. The ingredients they select benefit cats, taste good and are easily digestible.

How can I make my cat a less picky eater?

Is your cat picky or is she bored? Cats can get bored at mealtime. And when your cat gets bored with her meals, she may begin to reject her food. But if you keep things interesting, she may be less picky. "Cats generally like variety,” Dempsey explains. Owners can encourage that love of "new" by introducing new foods often. “An easy way cat owners can do this is feed a dry cat food that’s complete and balanced and feed a little bit of wet. Wet food tends to have a lot of variety of flavors,” Dempsey suggests.

Do cats need a feeding routine?

Some cats may like a feeding routine. But if your cat is overweight, set feeding times and amounts can help her lose weight. In general, cats are known to graze throughout the day. While you can do this with dry food, wet food isn’t safe to leave out all day, so serve it at a time when you can clean it up right away.

What can cats eat besides cat food?

There are a number of whole foods you can feed your cat. Just feed them like a treat. Some foods cats can eat include:


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