It's important to keep our pets healthy all year round, so over-indulging them in the festive season might do more harm than good. The Cats’ Protection charity, which helps over 205,000 cats every year through its network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 31 adoption centres, says it’s important cats are not overfed during the festivities and advise the following for those concerned about the weight of their felines friends.
- Keep a check on treats and tit-bits – It is a good idea to measure food daily in accordance with the packaging guidelines, so you know how much your cat should be eating. Remember that any treats will add calories onto this daily ration. If you like to give your cat treats throughout the day, it is much better to put a small amount of the daily portion aside so that you don’t increase the total amount of food consumed.
- If you wish to give additional treats, it is best to stick to specially-produced cat food treats and avoid food intended for humans, such as chocolate.
- Stick to cat food – While cooked fish or chicken is sometimes used to stimulate a cat’s appetite, other human foods should be avoided. Food containing onions, or onion powder, can be potentially toxic and life threatening if ingested by a cat. Avoid giving cow’s milk – around a third of cats can’t tolerate it and it can lead to sickness and diarrhoea. It is best to stick to cat food treats rather than leftovers or raw meat, although a little bit of well-cooked fresh chicken or fish is okay.
- Be strict with puss, and yourself – If you’re tempted to give extra treats, remember that cats often appreciate attention or playtime with their owner more than food treats and it can strengthen your bond with your cat.
- Be aware of non-food items your cat may nibble on holly, ivy and mistletoe are all potentially toxic to cats so, if you choose to have them in the home, place them well away from your cat’s reach. If you receive any plants as Christmas gifts, check that they are safe for cats. A full list of potentially harmful plants can be found on the International Cat Care website here
Cats Protection will be NEC Birmingham from 26-29 November, to offer advice about healthy eating for cats during the most indulgent time of year. For more information on the Cats Protection, go to Cats Protection website.
For more advice, pick up this week's Yours magazine