Feeding Pregnant Cats
Just like humans pregnant cats need a lot of food that is rich in nutrients to ensure healthy development of the kittens. The important thing to remember is that the nutrients required by cats differ from human requirements and problems can arise if this is not understood.
The following is a good feeding plan for pregnant cats, plus some things that should be avoided.
Ragdolls should be given a lot of adult food before and during the first
four weeks of pregnancy. By the fourth week, start giving her premium
kitten food as well. Gradually increase the amount every week so that on
her final week, her diet consists entirely of kitten food. This is
because foetal growth occurs mostly in the last two weeks of pregnancy,
and the mother needs time to adjust to kitten food.
Supplements to avoid
A lot of well-meaning cat owners supplement their catís diet with multivitamins meant for human consumption. While some of them may be effective, some may also be dangerous. Human dietary supplements may contain chemicals that can be toxic to cats. The following commonly used supplements are known to have adverse effects:
Alfalfa powder and sprouts
Alfalfa contains a toxic compound called cyanogenic glycoside, which is normally destroyed by the liver in humans. Cat livers are much smaller, so the toxins will remain in their system. This can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and severe indigestion. Alfalfa also increases the bodyís pH level. This can lead to the formation of urinary crystals in cats, whose normal pH is lower (acidic).
Cats cannot produce the enzymes needed to break down plant matter. Even when pureed or powdered, vegetables simply pass through the digestive tract without leaving any of their nutritional content. This alone is not harmful to your cat, but when undigested plant matter mixes with highly digestible food such as meat, indigestion and other complications may occur.
Grass is an exception, however.
Some cats compulsively eat grass when you leave them outdoors. This will cause them to regurgitate indigestible matter, including raw vegetables, meat bones, or their own hair. This can be uncomfortable for your cat, but itís much safer than expelling it through the digestive tract where it can cause blockages. Your cat may eat indoor plants when thereís no grass around, so have a regular supply of potted grass indoors.
Common spices such as onions, garlic, chives, and shallots, and chives can damage the red blood cells and lead to haemolytic anaemia. Raw garlic contains high amounts of allicin, which creates free radicals that damage the cells and make your cat prone to disease. These spices are harmful whether raw or cooked, although raw onions may cause additional damage to the oesophagus, stomach, and the rest of the digestive tract.
The catís stomach provides an ideal environment for yeast to ferment. This can cause bloating, stomach upsets, and severe allergies. Bakerís, brewerís, and nutritional yeast all have this effect in cats. Besides, the nutrients in yeast are available in other common foods such as meat, fish, and eggs.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
Vitamin C helps fight disease in humans, but cats get their protection from vitamin A. They create their own vitamin C from their small intestines, so supplemental vitamin C can lead to an overdose. This can cause oxalates to form in the urine, which can then accumulate in the catís kidneys and urinary tract. It can also enhance iron absorption, which can lead to iron overdose as well. Also, cats donít like the taste of vitamin C, so adding supplements to their food can discourage them from eating.