Cats: What To Feed Them

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

Last Updated: 01 October 2014

Confounded by what to feed your cat? First-time furry friend owner? Luckily, cats are pretty easy to cater for.

Cats are animals that are ‘obligate carnivores’. This means that their body needs the nutrients that are found in animal tissue in order to stay healthy. They also need a supply of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients so they stay satisfied and strong. Not to mention fresh water, which should be available to them at all times.

The vast majority of commercially available cat foods (Friskies, Whiskas, Supercoat) all take these essential nutrient levels into consideration, having fed many a healthy cat for years!

The main difference is the form that the food comes in. Here are the primary food options you can buy for your cats.

Kittens eat the same types of food as older cats, with slight differences

1. Dry Food

Dry food puts the essential meat, vitamins and minerals into dried pieces.


-This kind of cat food is cheaper than other forms,

-Dried food is good to leave out for the cat to graze on at their convenience.


- Can be hard for cats to digest

- Isn’t as palatable as other forms of food to cats, so they may be hesitant to eat it.

2. Semi-moist canned food

Semi-moist canned food has a higher water content and a wetter consistency, which cats like better than dried biscuits.


- More palatable and appealing than dry pellets

- Mid-range price, an affordable option

- Can be left out for the cats to eat at their own convenience


- Spoils faster after opening

- Palatability to the cat decreases after opening

3. Canned Food

Canned food is very moist, and has a high water level so it’s good for keeping cats hydrated as well as full. Plus, it’s the kind cats love to eat the most!


- Good source of water, as well as food, because of the moisture levels

- More appetising to cats


- Spoils faster, and unused food must be refrigerated

- Some brands might not have enough nutrients in it, so check the label

- More expensive

Cats are obligate carnivores, and need to eat meat to get the right nutrients

4. What Not To Feed Your Cats

There are certain things you should definitely not feed your cats (not even as a treat) as it definitely doesn’t agree with their stomachs!

Things to avoid are:

- Raw meat (can cause infections and diseases)

- Canned fish

- Milk for adult cats (can cause stomach upsets)

- Fat trimmings

- Spoiled food of any kind

- Onions and garlic

- Chocolate

Cats are easy to cater for and keep satisfied, as long as they're getting the right level of nutrients. If you’re a first time cat keeper, probably best to stick to the well known commercial brands of food that are tried and tested. A mix of dried and moist foods a couple of times a day will be more than enough for your feline friends.

If you're looking for a cat enclosure to let your cat play outside safely, look no further!

Sources and further reading