You have brought your Siamese cat home, and she seems hungry. You brought some cat food, but now you are having a second thought. Was it the right kind? Should I feed her now? What do Siamese cats prefer—dry or wet food? What kind of recommendations do veterinarians have about what type of food to feed them and how often?
What is the ideal diet for Siamese cats? Providing a cat with proper nutrition requires knowing that the intake of a Siamese cat should consist of a large amount of protein, as well as a variety of minerals. You will want to consider the source of the protein, whether to feed her wet or dry food and what kind of supplements to provide.
To prevent cat obesity, it is vital to set a feeding schedule and stick to it. Finally, you will want to know the signs that indicate that her diet needs to be adjusted.
If you haven’t noticed it yet, your new cat is not going to spend most of her day napping. Siamese cats are active cats. So steal yourself a few minutes, grab a cup of coffee or beverage of your choice, and read on to learn everything you need to know to make sure your new cat stays healthy.
The Most Important Ingredient is Protein
The key to a cat’s health is protein. To understand why let’s review the ancestry of your Siamese and all cats.
Domestic cats, including your Siamese, are ancestors of wild cats. Unlike dogs, which are considered fully domesticated, cats are considered semi-domesticated. Genome sequencing has taught us that your Siamese, like all house cats, shares over 90 percent of the same DNA, so it makes sense that they would want a similar diet.
The table lists some similarities between domestic and wild cats that will become important as we continue to discuss your cat’s diet.
|Smell||Both have great senses of smell and will open their mouths to smell better.
|Food||Both are carnivores. They are better able to digest meat protein over plant materials, so both rely on protein as their primary food source.
|Stalking||Cats naturally stalk their prey. They have their preferred times for hunting—dusk, nighttime, and dawn.
|Catnip||About half of all domestic and wild cats enjoy catnip.
|Food games||Both domestic and wild cats play with their food. Feral cats hide their food by moving it somewhere else to save it for another meal. Maybe that instinct is why domestic cats often hide mice they catch.
These similarities can guide us in making good choices when we feed them. It will also help explain some of their food-related behavior.
Choosing Protein Sources
Remember that cats have difficulty digesting plant-based food, so even plants high in protein, such as legumes, are not a good choice. Some people point out that cats will ingest plant food which their prey has eaten. Although this is true, the amounts are small.
Certain amino acids can be found only in meat sources. Humans and dogs can get essential amino acids from a mixture of plant and meat sources, or even plant-based diets only. Cats cannot.
Cats, like your Siamese, are obligate (which means strict) carnivores. Because cats do not have some specific enzymes, they cannot efficiently digest and utilize plant proteins. If they are getting plant-based proteins. The effect of eating plant-based protein is that cats will be missing particular amino acids that can only be found in animal protein.
One of those acids is taurine. A deficiency of this amino acid can cause heart problems and even blindness in cats. So it is crucial to examine cat food not just for protein content, but also for the source of protein. A product can have high protein content, but if that protein is from an animal source (such as soy), its nutritional value is lower than a product that has less protein, but all of it is sourced from meat.
Ensuring a Balanced Diet For A Siamese Cat
Regardless of what kind of food you choose, make sure it has the correct balance of these ingredients:
Let’s examine these in a little more detail
As stated earlier, cats need protein and lots of it. These are some familiar protein sources in cat food.
Chicken means a combination of flesh and skin, as well as any bone a manufacturer uses. The manufacturer can use any or all parts of a chicken, except its head, feet, feathers, and entrail. If the label lists chicken first, you should consider it premium-quality food for cats. Keep in mind, however, that the use of bone and skin can affect the quality of the protein.
Poultry By-product Meal
Producers can use parts of a carcass such as necks, feet, and intestines. They have to be cleaned, ground, and rendered—a process that turns them into a dry meal. Although cats in the wild eat these parts of their prey, the rendering process changes the protein and moisture content. If poultry meal is the first ingredient, the food is not as healthy.
When the tissue of cattle is rendered, it is sometimes an added protein. Because the fat in beef tallow is saturated, it is not a good source of protein. Manufacturers typically add it for flavor.
When whole fish or fish cuttings are cleaned, dried, and ground, it becomes a fish meal. Some fish oil may be extracted from the fish. The thing to watch out for is salt—anything over 3 % salt has to be listed. If it contains less, then a manufacturer does not have to register it.
Eggs have to be free of shells and must follow labeling guidelines set forth by USDA regulations. The eggs can be liquid, frozen, or dehydrated.
Cats need their diets to contain at least 30% fat. This sounds like a lot, especially to humans. We’ve been told that we should limit how many fats we should take. Cats, as we have already learned, require specific sources for their protein. The same is true for fats. They need fats from animals to aid in digestion.
There are many benefits cats derive from fats. Here are a few:
- As an energy source, fats provide twice the amount of energy as protein
- Fats help cats produce hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone
- They help create the feeling of being full, thereby helping in the fight against obesity
- Metabolites, which can help inflammation, are produced by fats
- Nutrients are better transported across cell membranes because fats make up part of a cat’s cell membranes
- Fats create a barrier against viral and bacterial invasions
- Fat-soluble vitamins—A, D, E, and K—can be better absorbed with fats
Some sources list fats that provide specific benefits; it is essential to remember that cats are carnivores. If you see a list of fats that includes fats that come from plant sources, ask yourself if a cat would partake of that source in its natural environment.
Minerals are also essential to cats. Nearly every biological function involves minerals. Oxygen transportation, enzyme formation, and the utilization of nutrients—minerals contribute to all of them. Bone and muscle tissue store minerals. Just like vitamins, minerals work together to provide their benefits best.
The following table shows some of the most common minerals and what role they play in providing proper bodily functions.
|Minerals||What they help maintain|
|Acid and fluid balance|
Because all the significant minerals play important roles, it is difficult to pick which are the most important. Which of the bodily functions listed above are not important?
We all know that all life needs water. Your Siamese body consists of approximately 70% water, and their prey would contain a similar amount. Dry cat food has a water content that hovers around 10%, so obviously, you would need to provide your cat additional water.
If you feed your cat only wet food, it will get most of its water from the wet food (which typically contains 75% water). However, it should still have access to water. If you feed your Siamese a combination of wet and dry foods, you will need to provide additional water.
The bottom line is that you need to give your cat access to water.
Choosing the Correct Water Container
Here are several considerations you need to keep in mind when you are selecting a water container:
- Use a water bowl that is an appropriate size for your cat, or a day’s worth of water
- Give the cat fresh water daily to avoid stale, dirty, or contaminated water
- Wash the bowl with soap and thoroughly rinse it or the water won’t taste good and can still become contaminated
- Before purchasing one of those trendy gravity-fed water bowls, remember that the water in them will even become stale and need to be changed
- Cleaning a bowl is much simpler than cleaning the dispenser and reservoir of a gravity-fed dispenser
Placement of the Container is Important
Cats generally don’t want their water source too close to their food source. Because cats have a strong sense of smell, they prefer to have water smell like water, not food. If you notice your cat is not drinking water, consider moving her water bowl to a separate location. Double feeder bowls present another potential problem. Food particles that fall in the water make the water not taste as good and can cause contamination.
What Type of Cat Food Should You Use
Now that we have discussed the essentials of any cat’s diet, it is time to wade into the more controversial aspects of cat food: what kind of food to feed your Siamese.
There are primarily three types of food available for cats:
- Dry Food
- Wet Food
- Homemade food (including raw food)
Choosing the best source can be difficult. Cat food manufacturers have a vested interest in selling their food. Not all veterinarians agree on which kinds of food are best for cats! As someone who loves cats and loves researching, my goal is to present you with the options so that you can make an informed decision.
Dry Cat Food Has Many Detractors
Dry food is convenient both to purchase and to feed. At one time, veterinarians would recommend dry food as a suitable and healthy substitute for wet food. However, as cats began to develop more urinary tract health problems, veterinarians realized that cats are better off eating wet foods.
According to Veterinarian Patty Khuly
“The only solid studies we have to go on do, however, demonstrate that wet diets can help manage the symptoms related to urinary tract diseases and even obesity in cats.”
Wet diets provide help with many digestive diseases, including
- Kidney disease
- Urinary tract formation
- Bladder stones
- Idiopathic cystitis (the condition that causes frequent urination and bloody urine)
Wet diets also help fight obesity. Recent studies have shown that cats who eat wet food are more active than those that eat only kibbles. No one knows why that is, but we all know that being productive results in burning more calories.
Suggestions If You Must Use Dry Cat Food
If you do choose to feed your Siamese dry food, there are several things to keep in mind. One thing is that cats have different nutrient requirements depending on their age.
|Kittens||· Need food that contains high levels of protein and fats to help them grow.
· Make sure that their food has high levels of vitamins and calcium
· Introducing dry food at this stage will make it more challenging to switch to wet food later
|Adults||· Provide them with a well-balanced feed that has high levels of Omega-3 and -6
· Look for food that has at least 25% protein and up to 40% fat
· Make sure that fiber and vitamins are present
· Feed cats that have been neutered cat food labeled explicitly for them to help prevent obesity
|Older cats||· Provide older cats food that does not contain high amounts of protein and fat|
Make sure that the first ingredient listed is the protein source. There may be secondary protein sources, followed by carbohydrate fillers, fats, vitamins, and minerals that have been added. Typically, dried food includes added preservatives and the amino acid taurine.
Cat foods that are labeled “premium” may not be premium. Be sure to read the label. Imagine if the ingredients listed chicken, brewers rice, corn gluten meal, poultry by-product meal, wheat flour, beef tallow, and whole-grain corn. This should not be labeled as a “premium” cat food since it contains too many grain-based proteins.
Wet Versus Homemade Cat Food
One of the most significant disputes is between you should give your Siamese wet food that you buy in a can or pouch or whether you make their food. The key differences between the two are listed in the table below.
|Homemade Food Advantages|
|Homemade food might be lacking in essential nutrients.||You know exactly what is in the food.|
|Wet food requires practically no time to prepare. Clean up is also minimal.||It is cheaper than canned wet food (unless you feed your cat the best cuts of meat).|
|Weaning cats is an important and timely step—cats cannot go cold turkey.||It will have no fillers or additives.|
|Processed wet food is less likely to host harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella and Listeria||The food will be fresher.|
Commercially-made Food Considerations
If you purchase wet cat food (and we suggest you should) remember that the first thing listed will be the protein source. Chicken, turkey, fish, or lean beef are ideal.
- Look for key ingredients—those that are closest to how they would be found in nature. If it says chicken—that’s found in nature. If it says “chicken by-products,” the chicken is processed, perhaps by drying it, in a way it would never be found in nature.
- Look for the moisture content. It should be a minimum of 78%.
- Look to ensure it is AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials). AAFCO requires the label to have the “phrase complete and balanced.” The first ingredient listed should be animal protein. Make sure the label indicates the product meets or exceeds whatever nutrient levels AAFCO has established.
- Look for preservatives. Canned, wet foods need some preservatives. Vitamin E is often used as a preservative. Although the food has a preservative, it should still be refrigerated and eaten within several days of opening.
- Look for ingredients that should be avoided. If the container or pouch contains corn, soy, colorings, or artificial flavors, put it back and select one that does not have them. “Bone Meal” and “cornmeal” should be avoided, as well as chemical-sounding preservatives. More than 8% of grain indicates an inferior product.
Consider Making Your Own Cat Food
Raw Food Is Not as Dangerous as it Sounds
Homemade cat food can be served fully cooked, half-cooked or raw. Even though you might have an adverse reaction to feeding your Siamese raw meat, remind yourself this is what she was designed to eat in the wild. She didn’t cook her meat on a grill, nor did she always eat her prey at once. I bring this up because many people advise against a raw food diet because the meat will not be fresh unless eaten right away.
Another factor that many critics of raw food forget is that food travels through a cat’s intestinal tract in 12-16 hours. Compare that to the 35-55 hours; it takes food to travel through a human’s intestinal tract. The more time bacteria remain in the intestines, the more they multiply.
If you are going to use raw meat, do not use pre-ground meat. Buy whole cuts of meat so that you can rinse it thoroughly before grinding it. You can also bake entire cuts of meat enough to kill surface bacteria.
Raw Food Needs to Be Balanced
Remember that in the wild, cats eat more of their prey than just the meat. People often think that a cat only needs meat. However, meat is missing a vital ingredient: calcium.
Calcium is not optional. Calcium is found in the bones of animals, not the flesh. If you don’t provide calcium, your cat will become unhealthy. If you don’t want to grind the bones, or don’t have access to a food grinder, add some bone meal.
Preparing Raw Cat Food Need Not Be Overwhelming
There are two additional myths people have about raw cat food. The first is that it is time-consuming and the second is that it is more expensive. Both are myths.
A friend of mine who feeds her cat raw food makes a batch of cat food that lasts for two months. That means she spends several hours 6 times a year making food that she has complete control over. The only label she reads is the one on the back of the bone meal (she just can’t bring herself to grind up chicken bones).
Another myth is that homemade cat food is more expensive than canned food. Because of the many variables involved in comparing food prices, you should do your research. If you wish to grind your own bones, you will need to purchase a meat grinder capable of doing so. Most meat grinders last somewhere between five and ten years. A two-hundred-dollar grinder that lasts for five years will cost you 40 dollars a year, or less than a dollar a week. Even when you add in the price of the grinder, you will find that homemade cat food is less expensive than the store-bought.
Making Home-Made Cat Food
- To ensure that your home-made raw food is balanced correctly, you will need to buy some supplements. Some people buy ingredients individually and then mix them how they see fit, but many supplements contain the nutrients required, such as this one available on Amazon.
- Many websites devoted to raw cat food exist. I recommend Feline Nutrition Awareness because it’s easy to navigate and doesn’t make the process seem overwhelming.
- This YouTube video gives a quick overview of the process of making raw cat food to provide you with a sense of the process.
Some Final Practical Feeding Suggestions
- If you have more than one cat (and since Siamese should have a companion if at all possible), feed them in separate bowls. You might need to put the cats in different rooms to avoid one of them crowding the other one out.
- Set a time limit for eating. Many experts recommend about fifteen minutes, but if your cat is still eating actively, give her a few more minutes to finish. Don’t worry if they skip a meal or two at first.
- Create a schedule for when you feed them. In nature, cats eat at dawn and at dusk. Anytime you can recreate what they would experience in the wild, do so.
- Don’t overfeed them. Although Siamese cats are active, it’s easier to prevent obesity than having to lose weight.
Keeping Your Siamese Happy and Healthy
Hopefully, this guide hasn’t been overwhelming. There is much to learn about cat nutrition, but it is worth it. This guide was designed to serve as a road map for you so that you are aware of your options.
If you take away one thing, remember that cats are not fully domesticated. They are carnivores and require a diet high in animal protein and fats. The bottom line is that in the wild cats eat a diet that is comprised mainly of meat. Provide your cat with the same, and you’ll help your cat stay happy and healthy.