1. Body Condition
Cats vary in size among individuals and breeds. Observing and feeling a cat’s body are useful tools in assessing the body condition of the individual pet. Is your cat in ideal body condition?
- A cat’s body condition is considered ideal when they have a well-proportioned figure.
- You should be able to observe a “waist” behind the ribs when the cat is viewed from above.
- Any loss in muscle mass may diminish physical strength, motor coordination and result in a weakened immune system.
Digestibility is the percentage of a food’s protein and other nutrients available and utilized by your pet. Assuming your pet is in good health, digestibility can be judged by stool quality and volume. Small, firm stools are a sign that better nutrition is making a difference inside your pet and less of the food is passing through as waste. Any one of a combination of factors influence digestibility:
The digestibility of the product will vary as the ingredients vary.
The correct ratio of the nutrients in the diet helps to ensure their efficient utilization by the pet.
Poor quality ingredients can adversely affect the digestibility of a pet food.
A formula of good quality ingredients can have its digestibility reduced by over-cooking or over-processing.
3. Skin, Coat and Eyes
Healthy skin and a shiny, well-groomed coat not only enhances your pet’s appearance, it makes your pet feel more comfortable and less prone to skin irritation and external parasites.
- Normal, healthy skin color ranges from pale pink through to shades of brown to black.
- Healthy skin is smooth, pliable and free from dandruff and odors.
- Clear, bright eyes which are free of discharge are also a sign that your pet is feeling their best.
4. Immune System
Healthy pets are usually alert, curious about their environment, and anything new they might encounter. They have a good appetite and keep themselves well-groomed. Although the immune system generally functions on the inside, there are some outward signs that indicate robust good health:
- Sleek, shiny coat.
- Active and energetic.
- Clear, bright eyes.
- Alert posture.
- Normally healthy skin; supple skin.
- Healthy gums.
- Good lung capacity; easy breathing.
- Strong muscles, healthy lungs.
- Resistance to disease.
- Responds better to vaccines.
5. Dental Health
Your pet’s dental health is very important. Healthy teeth and gums are the first step in the utilization of the important nutrients your pet food provides. The ability to effectively chew food is a vital precondition for digestion.
- Chewing reduces kibbles to smaller particles that allow for the optimal digestion and utilization of nutrients.
- Feeding an appropriate diet to your pet can help to limit plaque and tartar build-up.
- Check your cat regularly for signs of plaque and tartar build-up and see your veterinarian on a routine basis for examination and cleaning, if necessary.
6. Bone and Joint Health
Bones and joints benefit from a properly balanced diet. Although we think of bones and joints as static or completely developed once adulthood is reached, they are constantly restructuring themselves. Therefore, to stay healthy, they need a constant supply of nutrients including protein, water, and minerals like calcium and phosphorous. Here are some signs that may help identify bone and joint health:
- Normal range of motion and flexibility.
- Ability to perform routine tasks or movements, i.e., climb stairs, jump up or down, or play.
- Cat exhibits the proper posture or stance.
- Continued ability and interest in play and/or exercise.