Cats have a reputation for being particular, especially when it comes to what they eat. Our vet expert Dr. Leslie has the answer on how to feed your feline friend’s needs.

Wet food

Cats have a low thirst drive, so they may not drink as much water as they need. According to Dr. Leslie, wet food can “provide easy portion control and increase water intake, but cannot be left out for long periods of time.” Supplement your kitty’s diet with wet food, but make sure to toss it if it stays in the bowl past its prime.

Dry food

Your cat probably loves this crunchy cuisine, but did you know dry food can actually help his teeth? “Dry food can help promote oral health,” says Dr. Leslie, because the act of chewing harder food helps remove plaque from cats’ teeth.

A word on treats

Kitties flip for tasty treats, but these snacks should never be confused for a meal. Dr. Leslie advises thinking of treats as “appetizers,” adding, “While they may look like food, many snacks are not intended to be fed as meals and may lead to nutrient imbalances over time.”

Dr. Leslie says, “The best food for your cat is the one he or she eats happily that helps maintain a good body weight and normal activity level.” She also says you can check if a food is providing balanced nutrition by looking up the food’s nutritional adequacy in the Association of American Feed Control Officials' Pet Food Labeling Guide. This will tell you if the food is for intermittent snacking or for a real meal.