When on the topic of nutrition, you may have heard about a bland diet for cats before. But what is a bland diet, and why are they very useful in certain situations?
What is a bland diet?
A bland diet usually consist of easily digestible foods with a very soft texture. They are low on fat, protein, and fiber. A bland diet often contains a single source of carbohydrates and a single source of lean protein.
Why use a bland diet?
These properties make bland diet for cats relatively easy on the stomach. When your cat has an upset stomach, this type of diet will help in two distinct ways:
1. Give the stomach time to recover
Certain meats and other protein-rich foods require a lot of time and energy for the body to fully digest. In case of certain gastrointestinal issues, a diet full of soft and easily digestible foods may be just what the stomach and intestines needs in order to recover.
2. Relief from symptoms
When animals (and humans!) have gastrointestinal issues, they may vomit or experience diarrhea. This is where a bland diet can really help your cat. Since bland foods are so easily digestible, they can provide relief from these unfortunate symptoms. The low fiber content helps slow the production of stool, but certain other properties may also help prevent acid production, reflux, and further irritations to the stomach.
What ingredients to include
So what can this type of diet look like? According to Springmillsvet’s diet instructions, the best non-prescription bland diet consists of rice with plain chicken or turkey. Their advice says it’s best to use either chopped & boiled chicken, chicken broth, or turkey. You may also find that a jar of baby food with one of these meats may work.
Tip: If meat is on your cat’s menu, always be absolutely sure that you removed all the pieces of bones.
Other commonly used foods are soft boiled greens including beans, carrots, peas, and corn. Make sure to boil these long enough so that they become very soft; plant-based food is made up of cells, which will break open with sufficient heat.
Despite the name, bland diets can actually be just as tasty as regular diets. It really depends on the ingredients and the way they are prepared. For example, boiled chicken is something most cats will find very tasty.
You may be tempted to add some spices as you would for your own meals, but those could irritate the bowels even further. Keep a bland diet as simple as possible for best results.
We mentioned earlier that bland foods don’t contain a whole lot of fiber and fat (and sometimes also protein). Since these nutrients are absolutely essential to a healthy functioning body, you can not put your cat on a bland diet indefinitely.
A few days should be enough time to reduce vomitting and diarrhea and to allow the stomach to recover. After this period, it is advised to gradually reintroduce the original diet so that your cat can get all her essential micro and macro-nutrients again.