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Your cat needs to be fed a quality cat food and fresh water everyday. You should consult with your veterinarian to decide how often to provide food and in what quantities.

Cats are considered kittens up until they are one year old and they need dry kitten food available to them at all times. They eat little bits of food at a time and need more food than adults do. When your cat reaches one year of age, he should be put on an eating schedule. He should be provided with food two to three times a day and should consist of both dry and wet food (comes in a can or foil packet). Please read this article on why wet food is so important for cats.

If your cat tends to throw up after eating, you should not only experiment with brands but with flavors, too. One of our cats threw up a lot after eating - we finally figured out it was only after eating any type of product with beef in it. Cats can have food allergies too, not just humans. If you suspect your cat has a food allergy, watch their diet more carefully and note what you are feeding them.  If you still can't figure it out, speak with your veterinarian.

Obesity in cats should be avoided. This starts by being educated on feeding. This article from Little Big Cat does a great job of explaining feline obesity (which can lead to health problems later in life).

Food should be kept in a quiet area out of the way of household traffic so that your cat can enjoy a private meal with no interruptions.  The area should always be kept clean and bowls should be cleaned frequently.  To avoid whisker stress (pressure put on whiskers, pushing them up against the face and causing discomfort), a larger bowl with shallow sides should be chosen for both food and water dishes.  Metal or glass dishes should always be used over plastic dishes, which could result in feline acne.

Trudeau Stainless Steel Bowls
Price:  $11.99 (5") at www.epetpals.com

Similar bowls are also sold at Target and other pet stores in a variety of sizes. These are great because they are wide and shallow, bottom heavy, and some have a rubber grip around the bottom so they won't slide.

stainless_steel_bowls

Ceramic Pawprint Bowls
Price:  $6.00 (6") at Petsmart

Ceramic bowls are great because they are heavy, causing less spillage and sliding. This bowl has a wide opening and an attractive pawprint pattern, which can be paired with an attractive food mat. This particular bowl can only be hand washed but others can be put through the dishwasher. I've also seen these at Target in a variety of sizes.

pawprint_bowl

Automatic Pet Feeder, 2 Meals
Price:  $39.99 at Petsmart

There are many different varieties of automatic pet feeders, with varying prices. This particular model allows you to set up two meal times for your cat, the door on each side popping open at the correct time. This particular feeding device would be one to consider if you have a household full of busy people not home all the time, or if your cat needs to be put on a diet.

auto_pet_feeder

Drinkwell Fresh Water Fountain and Reservoir
Price:  $45.99 at Petsmart

This fountain is wonderful for any cat since they are known to enjoy drinking water that is flowing (turn on your sink and see what I mean).  An electric pump circulates water and sends it through an activated carbon filter to eliminate impurities and contaminants for water that tastes cleaner and fresher.  This type of water dispenser is said to be good for pets who are experiencing bladder or urinary tract problems.  This fountain is constructed of plastic in a neutral granite look to match all interior settings, and plugs into a standard wall outlet.  The unit holds 6 cups of water and an additional 6-cup reservoir can be added to increase capacity.  The carbon filters should be changed every 6-8 weeks, additional filters are sold in packs of 3.

fountain


Treats
There are many different types of treats available for cats - different flavors, soft and hard textures, hairball and tartar reducing benefits, etc.  Shop around and experiment to see what your cat likes. Treats should be given in moderation to prevent obesity, and can even be used to help train your cat to learn a behavior.  Read the instructions on the packaging of each product you buy for serving information, as it varies from treat to treat.


Foods to Avoid
Cats enjoy occasional table scrap from time to time, best given in a separate bowl by their food bowls so that they learn learn not to jump up on the dining room table to share with you.  However, there are some human food that cats should never be permitted.


Garlic, onion, and similar root vegetables.  Onions contain a substance that destroys red blood cells in a cat, causing a form of anemia (Heinz body anemia).  Garlic contains a similar substance but in a lesser amount.

Tomatoes, Green (raw Potatoes).  These are members of the the Solanaceae family of plants, which includes the Deadly Nightshade, and contains a bitter and poisonous alkaloid called Glycoalkaloid Solanine.  This can cause violent lower gastrointestinal symptoms.

Chocolate.  Chocolate contains Theobromine, which is toxic and sometimes deadly to cats, dogs, and other animals.

Grapes and Raisins.  Dogs who have eaten these have developed acute renal (kidney) failure, and effects have been seen in cats.  Because this is newly discovered there is little information available, but you want to keep your feline away from these.

Milk.  Milk is not toxic to cats, but not needed if your cat is getting a good diet.  Most cats are lactose-intolerant, which means that lactose in milk (and milk products) produces stomach upset, cramps, and gassiness.  If your cat does like milk, a little can be given to him every once in a while.  There is a product called CatSip, made from skim milk with an enzyme added that helps the digestion of lactose, that is safe for your cat to drink, available in grocery stores and Petsmart.

Meat containing bones.  Bones can cause serious complications in your cat's digestive tract and you should never let your cat chew meat off of small bones.  If for some reason your cat accidentally eats part or all of a bone, feed it canned pumpkin which will lube up your cat's insides, making it easier for him to pass the remains.  Keep an eye on him for 2-3 days, watching for signs of retching, pawing at his throat, or complications in the litter box (constipation or abnormal excrement) - if any of these are exhibited, contact your vet.

Please note that this list was compiled from a section of about.com - I've had questions about the content, and this is what I found. 


While all of these foods are bad for your cat, all types of meat (chicken, tuna, beef, turkey, etc.) are encouraged as tasty treats in moderation.  If you're eating any of these yourself, be prepared to make a little extra for your furry friend.  While all of these should be cooked completely when served, an occasional small serving of raw red meat is actually good for your cat and can be given in moderation.
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