How to properly feed sterilized cats
Before I tell you what to feed a neutered cat and a spayed cat, I suggest you understand a little bit of terminology.
During sterilization, females have their fallopian tubes tied and males have their seminal ducts tied, but during castration, females have their uterus and ovaries removed and males have their testes removed. ¹
Many owners are used to saying "spayed cat" (meaning the total removal of the uterus and ovaries). We'll leave it that way in our article for easy reference, but now you know the difference.
So, it was decided to have the pet castrated/neutered-spayed. The procedure was done, everything went well. What do we feed the pet now?
If the operation went smoothly, without complications, then you can leave your furry friend on his usual diet, which it ate before surgery. If complications arise, which is extremely rare, the diet is tailored to health condition and symptoms.
But there's a catch: castrated animals tend to become less active than they used to be. This means that by continuing to eat regular adult cat food, the pet will begin to gain weight. The activity has decreased, but the caloric intake has not, and this will lead to excessive fat accumulation in the body.
Let's talk about obesity
Obesity is one of the most common problems after spaying and neutering.
To find out if your pet is overweight, you can use the Conditioning Test (tables are freely available on the Internet). ²
Normally, you should be able to feel your pet's ribs and spine with ease, and they don't have to be visible. When viewed from above, the pet's waist should be recognizable. When viewed from the side, the abdomen in normal condition should be taut. It is also acceptable to have a crease in the lower abdomen if it is not filled with fat. However, if you can feel fat on the inside, you should consider losing weight.
If necessary, a veterinarian can be consulted to determine the pets body condition.
And to prevent such a problem, after neutering, we advise adhering to the following recommendations:
- switch your pet to a special food for sterilized animals;
- feed at an ideal weight (you can always find the feeding rate per day on the food package);
- consider treats in a daily caloric intake;
- play with the cat, increasing its activity.
What about urolithiasis?
Owners are often fearful that cats have a higher risk of developing this ailment after castration. But in fact, at the moment the connection between castration and urolithiasis has not been established.
How to feed a spayed cat and a neutered cat correctly
Let's now identify the key factors in feeding the animal after surgery.
- An important point is water consumption. Cats do not drink enough by nature, and this leads to increased urine density and subsequently to urolithiasis. Keep an eye on your pet's water consumption. A cat should drink 20-55 ml per kilogram of weight per day, or as many calories per day as it consumes. A cat weighing 4 kg, for example, need 250 kcal per day, which implies it should drink approximately 250 ml of water every 24 hours. You can try drinking fountains, bowls of different sizes and materials, and use wet food in addition to dry food.
- Cats eat often and in small portions and may eat up to 20 meals a day. Therefore, when feeding dry commercial feed, you can use an auto-feeder.
- Keep an eye on the weight. Feed at the rate of the ideal weight of the animal. If your cat is overweight, cut out all treats and increase the amount of vigorous play. If the weight still does not go away, you should see a veterinarian to rule out pathologies that may be contributing to the weight gain as well as to increase activity.
- Age-appropriate food selection is made; older animals and kittens require different diets. So you should not, for example, feed an adult or, even more so, an elderly cat food for kittens because they have very different needs for energy, minerals, and vitamins.
- The food should be a complete diet and provide all nutrient requirements. You can read the information on the package: if the manufacturer specifies that the food is a complete feed, then it is suitable for daily feeding.
So what's the difference between standard adult cat food and adult cat food for spayed cats?
Calorie content is the most important difference. There are no breed-specific nutrition guidelines for cats. Just as there is no difference between feeding males and females.