Indoor Cat Food VS Regular Food – Why and What To Choose

image of a kitty eating

Does a strictly indoor cat have different nutritional needs from an indoor/outdoor cat? The strictly indoor cat does not exercise as often and so can chunk up rather easily. Then again, a cat who goes outdoors may be finding something extra to snack on, whether they had to catch it or knock over a garbage can to get it.

Which is better, indoor cat food vs regular cat food?

What’s The Difference Between Indoor Cat Food vs Regular Cat Food?

While indoor and outdoor cats have the same basic nutritional needs, indoor cats have lower activity levels and need to eat in such a way to compensate for it. Food specifically made for indoor cats tends to be low in calories. To further differentiate it from diet cat food it may be formulated to reduce hairballs as indoor cats get more of those than outdoor cats.

This food often has more fiber to help push the hair through before it can form into a ball. Indoor cat food tends to have less fillers, so that's always good. You don't want to just fill your cat' you want to nourish your cat.

On the downside, indoor formula cat food is not as high in protein as needed. In order to reduce calories, meat products are switched out for high fiber vegetables. This is great for sedentary humans who want to lose a couple of pounds, but not for the obligate carnivore that a cat is. This food is also bad news if your cat has gluten allergies. Other additives in this food include (but are not limited to) cellulose, salt, poultry byproducts and flours.

Portion control is key. If you fill up the bowl and just leave it, Kitty may gorge herself on it. The packaging should give you a recommended serving size. Keep in mind that a small cat may not need as much food as a bigger cat. Talk to your vet about what portion sizes would be best for your cat.

Should You Buy Indoor Formulas?

image of an orange kitty in home

If you have a strictly indoor cat, this might be the way to go. Fewer calories and extra fiber may be what you need to keep your sedentary friend healthy. You should, however, consult with a veterinarian. An excess of hairballs can be signs of another problem plus you might want to be sure how close your cat is to a healthy weight.

If you are concerned about carb content, you may have to calculate it yourself. Look at the guaranteed analysis panel on the label for the figures you'll need. Start with 100. Subtract the crude protein percentage. Subtract the crude fat percentage. Subtract the moisture percentage. Subtract eight. This will be the carb content. For a cat, this should be less than thirty.

How to feed your indoor cat

image of a cat laying on the floor

In order to keep from overfeeding your cat, measure out a serving size at each meal. The label on the food container should tell you how much a serving size is. If you feed several, small meals throughout the day, your cat will quickly learn to adapt. This will keep her energy up but prevent weight gain.

Do remember to consult with a vet before making any drastic changes to your cat's diet. You must also make sure she has access to plenty of clean water.

You can make up for some of the deficiencies in indoor cat food by supplementing your cat's diet. A bit of fully cooked lean meat every now and then will give her a protein boost. Talk to your vet about vitamin supplements your cat may need.

What is the best cat food?

This article on the top cat foods for your feline should help you make an informed decision about what kind of food is best for your cat. If you do all of the proper research with your unique cat in mind you may be able to come to the best conclusion on what to feed your cat.

Exercise for indoor cats

image of a kitty with a toy ball

Of course, a low calorie cat food is no excuse for a flabby tabby! You need to help Kitty burn some calories through exercise. Playing with your cat can provide her with some healthy exercise. Cats love to chase small things. You can toss some cat toys for her to chase or shine the old laser pointer for her.

If your cat is leash trained, you might take her for a walk so both of you can burn some calories. In any case, exercising your cat is an opportunity not only for burning calories but to have a chance to bond with your cat.

Conclusion

It is generally accepted that indoor cats are healthier than cats who go outdoors. While the outdoor cat gets more exercise and may supplement her diet she is also in constant danger and her dietary supplements may not be so healthy. Letting a cat out exposes them to disease, parasites, accidents, attacks from and on wildlife and poisoning.

You can give an indoor cat ample exercise and a simple diet. In fact, you should. Also, consider leash training your kitten, so that she can enjoy being outdoors while staying safe. If you are a responsible pet parent, your cat can be healthy and happy.

Resources:

What is the difference with indoor cat food?

There are other reduced-calorie cat foods that are almost identical to the 'indoor' foods, but they are labeled as a 'light' cat food. ... “The higher fiber also helps lower the number of calories per cup. Indoor formulas may also have a nutrient profile designed for slightly lower calorie intake.

What is the healthiest indoor cat food?

Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Cat Food. Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein. Fromm FourStar Cat Food Gamebird. Orijen Dry Cat Kitten Food. Organix Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food. Nulo Adult & Kitten Grain Free Dry Cat Food.

Do indoor cats need special food?

Ideal Calorie Content — Indoor cats are less active, and therefore require fewer calories to maintain a healthy weight than their outdoor counterparts. Foods that are formulated to contain an ideal calorie content for an indoor lifestyle can help indoor cats maintain a healthy weight.

How much should you feed your indoor cat?

Here's a general guideline that nutrition experts agree on: A healthy, active, 10-lb adult cat requires 270-320 calories per day.

  • Updated May 15, 2020
Mary Nielsen
 

A huge animal lover, born and raised around dogs, cats, chickens... Self-educated pet care nerd. Currently parent of three adopted cats and one small mutt. Animal adoption advocate. Loves a good book (about animals) and playing the piano.

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