Food for Meow?

It may not cross the minds of pet lovers, but cats have a particular diet and are also often termed as fussy eaters. However, all cats eat meat by necessity and therefore are categorised as ‘obligate carnivores’, which means they must have meat in their diet or they will not be able to survive.

Cats need lots of animal-based protein

Cats require a higher protein diet compared to other mammals in order to meet their blood glucose requirements to sustain themselves. This ancestral diet are just based on their anatomy similar to tigers and other wild cats. Similarly, this is also because of their shorter digestive tracts which cannot process the nutrients contained in plant matter.

Never try to implement a vegetarian diet for your cat because they will not be getting the correct nutrients and this will cause them to lose energy, and damage their muscles and organs.

Meat and fish are so necessary to the feline diet that a cat’s body will begin to break down without these proteins. A 2011 study showed that cats tend to self-select a diet that suits them. They were given access to foods of different protein, fat, and carbohydrate concentrations and they chose food that contained around 52% of calories from protein, 36% from fat, and 12% from carbohydrates.

Age definitely matters

In each different life stage, your cat will experience different activity levels and they will have different nutritional and dietary needs. For your feline’s various life stages, it is very important to choose the right cat food.

For example, kittens and young cats are generally far more active and burn calories rapidly. They will need additional amounts of protein to ensure proper, healthy development during their quick growing process.

Regardless of your cat’s life stage, it’s important to feed a high-quality, natural food with the proper balance of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, and vitamins and minerals.

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Nutritional and dietary needs can change over time

Besides getting nutritional food depending on when and how your cat undergoes changes in life stage and lifestyle, it’s vital to consider and pay attention to other potential signs a change in diet is needed. Cats may acquire different ailments and sensitivities over time.

Some common signs that may occur include allergies, weakness or lethargy, dull and flaky coats, obesity and ‘senioritis’.

Cats tend to also become more vulnerable to age-related health conditions like arthritis and diabetes so it is just as important that they continue getting a lot of protein as they age.

Wet Food vs. Dry Food?

Wet food or dry food? So, they both have their own benefits and wet food usually comes with pre-measured portions that cats love. It also all boils down to quality ingredients.

However, depending on your cat’s condition, wet food might just be a better option. If your cat has other health problems, wet cat food may also be a good way to help your cat stay hydrated.

Another good thing is that wet food is highly digestible. It contains all the same essential nutrients as dry food, including vitamins and minerals like biotin, zinc and iron which supports good skin, healthy growth and immune system for your cat.

We would advise you to thoroughly clean your cat’s feeding bowl in between every wet food portion as it can harbour bacteria.

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Cats should cool it on the carbs

As mentioned, cats are obligate carnivores that naturally adapt to High Protein/Low Carbohydrate foods. Nonetheless, they are able to readily and efficiently use carbohydrates despite having different carbohydrate metabolisms.

While there is no minimum carbohydrate requirement in a healthy adult cat’s diet, there is a minimum glucose requirement that is necessary to supply energy for the body’s tissues and critical organs like the intestine and the brain. However, a simple carbohydrate like glucose, is metabolically essential. Research suggests that a better range of feeding your cat carbohydrates would probably be between 15% and 35%.

Carbohydrates are mainly found in dry food, which is more affordable and convenient. Having said that, too much carbohydrates consumed may result to your cat having significant health symptoms like bloating, flatulence, diarrhea and bacteria overgrowth that will lead to severe illness like diabetes and obesity.

When and how you feed your cat matters

We might want our feline friends to be well-fed and not be hungry most of the time, but it is not recommended to constantly keep the feeding bowl filled and allow them to graze. It is advised that cats should eat at least two meals each day, about 12 hours apart.

Taking the above factors into consideration like age and if there are other cats in the household, establishing a regular feeding routine and a measured portion for the day would be a better option.

While feeding your cats too little or with the incorrect kind of food, their health might not be maintained. But, feeding them too much and they will become fat and lead to other health issues.

Consult your vet for the recommended cat advice

The healthiest game plan for you to decide and understand your cat(s)’ needs is that your veterinarian remains the best source of nutritional and health guidance.

WhatsDoc has experienced and qualified veterinary professionals that could assist! Find out more information and advice for your pets, download WhatsDoc app now.

References:

1. Geometric analysis of macronutrient selection in the adult domestic cat, Felis catus

2. Feeding your cat well: An overview 

3. Association of American Feed Control Official 

4. Cat nutrition tips 

5. Cats Are Different: How a Cat’s Nutritional Needs are Different from a Dog’s