To keep your cat healthy, their diet should include the right balance of these major nutrients: protein, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins, and water. Their food can be canned, dry or a mixture of both.

A well-balanced diet is beneficial to a cat as it improves your cat's health, minimizes the risk of infections, makes him less prone to diseases and gives him a longer life span.

• Canned Food (Wet)

Canned food is a good source of nutrients for cats. Water content is high which is extremely suitable for cats with health problems and require more water in their diet. Your cat will tend to eat more in one sitting instead of going back and forth. Stools will also be softer.

It is important to serve canned food at room temperature so your cat can smell and taste it better. The downside is, canned food is slightly more expensive and spoils easily. Tartar build-up and bad breath may also occur.

• Dry Food

Many people like to feed their cats with a diet of dry food as their main staple as it is relatively affordable and cheap. Cats also like to have dry food ready on hand where they can get a few bites throughout the day.

However, dry food contains mainly carbohydrates which are not a cat's main nutrition needs. Cats by nature, in the wild, are meat eaters that consume small quantities of grain. Too many carbohydrates may lead to certain health conditions.

• Treats

Cat treats are great as rewards for good behaviour, taking medicine, training or simply just dotting on your beloved pet. Try to not use treats too often as it might disrupt your cat's normal eating routine.

Treats such as dried fish slices and liver are not well-balanced food and should be used in moderation.

• Milk

Contrary to popular belief, cow's milk is not necessary for cats as long as there are sufficient nutrients in their diet. Most cats are also lactose intolerant and will have diarrhoea.

Always give your cat fresh drinking water, making sure to change them daily.

*This article was updated on 26 Jul 2020. It first appeared in on 2 Oct 2015.