What’s different about feeding male cats? The sex of your pet—along with their age, breed, activity level, behavior, environment, and metabolism—can determine certain food and nutrition guidelines.
Here are some important things to know right up front about food and nutrition for male felines.
The Basics of Male Cat Nutrition
Unlike people and dogs, who are omnivores, cats are carnivores. Their nutrition must come from animal-based sources for their survival. Felines have evolved a diet that is protein-heavy, moderate in fat, and low to moderate in carbohydrates. Water is the most important part of your cat’s diet. But be careful, because cats have a low drive to drink it. You’ll want to leave plenty of water in multiple sources across your cat’s stomping grounds. Wet canned food is high in water content and can also help.
Store-bought cat food should consist of all the key nutrients necessary for your guy, including the right mix of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. As long as the food is labeled “complete and balanced nutrition,” “meets the nutritional requirements of cats established by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO),” or “complete and balanced nutrition for cats based on AAFCO feeding trials,” it’s approved for daily nutrition for your pet.
Follow the guidelines on the packaging for approximate portions to serve your pet based on his body type. If you want to make your animal’s food yourself, seek the guidance of a veterinarian or board certified veterinary nutritionist.
Neutered Male Cats
Some research indicates that the appetite of felines that have been fixed can increase following their procedures. To protect against weight gain and obesity during this time, feeding your cat portion-controlled meals—rather than allowing him to graze as he pleases—is encouraged.
Diabetes in Male Cats
All male cats—including both neutered and non-neutered—are twice as likely as females to have diabetes. The most at risk felines are neutered male cats who are over 10 years old and have an overweight to obese body condition status. In addition to diabetes medications, diet is key in managing your cat’s condition. If obesity plays a role in your pet’s disease, implementing a weight-loss plan consisting of a high-fiber, complex-carbohydrate, and high-protein diet is critical.
Signs of this health problem include an increase inthirst, weight loss, appetite, and urination. Speak to your vet if you spot these symptoms.
Blocked Urethra in Male Cats
An obstructed urethra, one of the most serious outcomes of a collection of conditions known as feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), is more likely to occur in male cats, both neutered and non-neutered, than in female cats, who are very rarely affected. The very narrow urethra of male cats, when partially or fully blocked, can make urinating very difficult. FLUTD can potentially be fatal if not treated quickly—from bladder rupture, or from kidney damage, which can result in electrolyte imbalances that lead to fatal heart arrhythmias.
Treatment typically includes dietary changes, medications, an increase in water intake, and even surgery. Speak to your vet right away if you spot any signs of the condition, which include straining to urinate and frequent—and often failed—attempts to urinate.
Mom’s milk includes all the good stuff her babies need until they are about 4 weeks old, at which point the mother, or “queen,” can start weaning her babes off her milk. If a mother’s milk is unavailable, talk to a vet about potential replacements. By 6 to 8 weeks of age, your growing pet should be transitioning to store-bought pet food. Learn more about food and nutrition for kittens.
If your big kitty is older than 10 to 12 months, it’s time to start him on the adult cat diet.
Cats are usually considered seniors around 7 to 12 years and that’s the time you can start them on a diet for aging cats. If your cat is carrying extra weight, obesity can become a real problem as he gets older, but dietary changes can help. Learn more about the proper food and nutrition for overweight senior cats.
More on Feeding Pets
What to Feed A Cat: Female Cats
Food to Treat Liver Disease in Pets
Ash in Pet Food: Filler or Nutrient?
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. It has however been reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Joe, a board certified veterinary nutritionist and graduate of Cornell University's program for Veterinary Medicine.