Every cat deserves a healthy and nutritious diet. Unfortunately, outdoor or stray cats don’t have access to the same food resources that house cats have, which means that their diet is often less than perfect.
So, what food can a stray cat eat?
You can start feeding outdoor cats canned, dry food and plenty of fresh water. Cats love canned wet food, but dry food is just as nutritious. It is very important for them to have clean water as much as possible. outdoor Kittens can have small amount of wet canned food. If you have no wet food available you can take a small amount of dry food and add some hot water to it. Let it sit for 2 – 5 mins. This will make the dry food soft and easy for the kitten to eat.
What to feed stray cats besides cat food?
Stray cats are natural predators that like to hunt for mice, birds, lizards, insects, and any other animals they can find.
In simple words, Cats are meat eaters. They have to have protein from meat for a strong and healthy system. Cooked broccoli, beans with some beef, chicken, turkey, and small amounts of lean meats are a great way to add value to their nutrition.
You can incorporate boiled fish into their diet as it provides them with good doses of heart-healthy Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Never feed your cat raw fish as it can contain harmful pathogens. I like to add a pinch of turmeric powder while boiling the fish as it is a natural antibacterial agent, a disinfectant and helps with your fur buddies overall health. Before serving, always remove the fish bones as they are sharp and could hurt the cat’s throat.
Boiled Vegetables Mash
Cats don’t derive much nourishment from vegetables. But personally I believe a small amount of vegetables should be added to their diet once in a while as it provides them with roughage or fiber. You can give them small portions of pounded veggies like baked carrots, steamed asparagus or broccoli, green beans, winter squash, or chopped greens. Make sure you keep away from indigestible vegetables like uncooked carrots.
Rice, chicken, boiled potatoes
A small portion of potatoes that are mashed or cooked are perfectly safe for them. The toxins are destroyed and eliminated during the cooking process. Mashing them with rice and a small amount of boiled chicken makes for an affordable, easy-to-digest meal for any outdoor or stray cat.
Almost all cats love the smell and taste of cooked chicken. Boiled chicken makes a nutritious and wholesome meal for a stray cat. Chicken bones can splinter and hurt them so always remove the bones before feeding them. Do not add any seasoning of any kind. Plain chicken with the bones removed is just the purrfect meal your cat needs.
Chicken Broth with Rice
Cooked chicken from the night before can give your cat a completely different meal the next day. Use the chicken broth along with rice and mix them well. Chicken broth is completely safe as long as it is home cooked and does not contain any other ingredients. Do not use Store bought chicken broth as they contain onions, garlic, sodium, or other ingredients which may be toxic for cats. However, basic chicken broth is rich in calcium and phosphorus and quite beneficial for their bones and teeth. I usually make a bigger batch and then freeze it for later or make it fresh for immediate consumption.
Pumpkin Oats Mash
Fibre is an important element in your cats’ nutrition and plain pumpkin is a good source of fibre. Veterinarians usually suggest pumpkin for problems like constipation as the pumpkin’s fibre can act as a laxative.
Cooked Eggs make a great meal for cats. They are filled with protein and are very nutritious. In the wild, cats would hunt and eat eggs from bird nests. They are sure to love an eggy meal.
Will a stray cat starve if I stop feeding it?
Feral cats are used to the outdoors and are naturally capable to fend for themselves. However, the same cannot be said about stray cats.
If you are currently feeding a stray cat but need to stop for some reason, you are probably worried about its wellbeing and where it will find its next meal from or if it will even survive.
But in reality, a stray cat will not starve if you stop feeding it. Cats are natural born hunters and they will instinctively start looking for food from a different source or location.
Even the most domesticated cat will tap into their in born hunting skills when it comes to their survival.
How to take care of an outdoor cat?
When every meal is a struggle for our small furry friends, it is important to maximize the calorie and nutrition content of each meal they get. Balanced nutrition is very important for stray cats because they often feed on scraps between meals, which may not provide essential nutrients.
Let’s first try and understand the nutritional needs of outdoor or stray cats.
Protein is one of the most important nutrients for cats and it should make up at least 50% of its diet. A healthy cat should get less than 10% of carbs from its calories. They also need about 40% healthy fats for energy and to maintain healthy skin and coat.
This means you need to find a product that lists a quality protein as its main ingredient. Make sure it contains other sources of healthy nutrition such as supplemental proteins, animal-based fats (like chicken fat and salmon oil).
Try to feed them at the same location every time while ensuring the feeding area is kept clean, free of bugs & insects.
Provide the cat with clean water every day. Cats get 90% of their water from their food. If you are feeding your cat dry food it may cause severe dehydration. So, make sure you provide them with plenty of water.
During winters, using heated water bowls and shielding the bowls from winds will help maintain the water temperature and keep it fresh.
In the summertime, water is extremely important, so make sure cats have ample water at different locations, preferably away from their food.
At the end of the day when you hear their little meows filled with pure love, you realize all they want is some love and care. I completely support feeding stray or outdoor cats. Just like humans you don’t know what they have been through. So, please send some love their way and do what you can to the best of your abilities and spread the love.