What do cats eat? Tips for good nutrition
Nutrition cat food
What do cats eat?. To answer this question, it is necessary to go to the ancestors of the felines, since for no one is it a mystery that cats are beings whose wild past is still very latent, so it is from there that we must leave to provide the best food for our beloved kittens.
The first thing we can learn from wild cats is that they are strictly CARNIVOR animals. This means that their main food base is ANIMAL PROTEIN, where live prey animals are their favorites, so cats eat rodents, some birds or small reptiles.
Nutrition cats needs
It is clear that for us to provide our domestic cats with live prey to eat is somewhat complicated (moreover, I could say that no one does), because for reasons of complexity, health, among others we prefer to avoid offering such food. But, don’t worry! Today, the commerce has facilitated this dilemma, offering multiple food options for our kittens. But then, how to choose the best food? Well … we already know that animal protein is the main thing when feeding your cat, so let’s start from the beginning:
FOOD MUST INCLUDE:
As we have tried to highlight, animal protein is vital for the feeding of all cats, since this is the first source of amino acids, which provides proper internal function (muscles, skin, fur, among others). For this reason, a cat MUST NOT, NOR CAN, eat a vegetarian diet, since over time it would be at risk of malnutrition and with various medical problems that this entails.
Protein is the essential basis of diets, especially because it provides satiety and the amino acids required for the accelerated metabolism that characterizes cats, and it is said that it should be between 60% to 40% of their entire diet. Despite this, the reality in concentrates and processed foods for cats to eat found in the market, very few reach the lowest percentage required, so we can not only keep the necessary quantity, but also check the quality of where said protein comes.
And how do you know which is the best ?:
- Start by reviewing the ingredients of the concentrate or the wet food you are going to offer your kitten.
- Verify that the first ingredient they name is a Complete Animal Protein !, that is, Chicken, Turkey, Salmon, Trout, etc. This means that the main thing that this food contains is real meat and of good quality.
- In accordance with the above, verify that it does NOT say as the first ingredient a processed or a by-product of the protein, for example: Chicken Meal, Fish Meal, Salmon Meal. This type of “protein” flour, are made with leftovers from butchery, not suitable for human consumption, such as picks or legs, to avoid waste, and of course there is the loss of some profit from these wastes. Therefore, they are very low quality sources of “protein”.
All living things need fatty acids in what we eat, and cats are no exception. Fats are the main source of energy that cats get from eating to maintain their overall physical function.
Cat food must contain between 17% to 35% of essential fats, including here the fatty acids of Omega 6 and Omega 3 , very important for cardiovascular health, skin, hair and wound healing. Additionally, fats are those that provide palatability in food, when it is a food rich in fats, your cat will eat with greater taste and ease.
Essential components (Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids):
It is important that in what your cat eats, it is enriched with different important components for its biological needs. Taurine , for example, important to break down lipids at the intestinal level and with it, proper digestion, cardiac, retinal function and nervous system ; The Lysine, an essential in developing and maintaining muscle; Methionine and Cysteine, allow quality in their coat, and urinary processes; Phosphorus, Calcium, Magnesium , and many more, with a particular function within feline cellular processes. The absence or excess of any of these components can generate a medical problem and weaken the well-being of your cat.
Physiologically, cats do not have a system capable of digesting and metabolizing carbohydrates. The lack of an enzyme called Glucokinase in the liver and alpha-amylase in the saliva, prevents the digestion of this nutritional group, which is why foods for your cat with a high carbohydrate level often cause health problems with the passage of years, among the most common is overweight, obesity, kidney failure, diabetes, liver problems, etc. Only 5% to 10% should be present in what your cat eats, so choose Grain Free foods , which have reduced carbohydrate sources. Like the Evolve and Acana brands, grain-free, with good sources of protein.
In addition to the basic nutritional needs of cat food, it is important to mention that the owner’s way of offering such food to cats also has a significant influence on their well-being.
CAT FEEDING TYPES
There are 2 types of feeding for your cat, controlled or freely available feeding, each with its pros and cons, it is only choosing the correct one according to your cat’s personality.
Controlled feeding means that the owner controls both the time of day and the amount of food he offers his kitten. This type of diet helps to control the duration or quantity of meals, promoting maintaining their freshness and therefore food safety. Personally, this type of feeding is the one we recommend the most, since it favors the monitoring of the health of your kitten, especially if it has more than one, since if any one does not eat in the usual way, we can ingest that it may be something happening and act on time.
Additionally, this controlled custom in feeding allows a strong and permanent bond between owner and cat; The problem that can be found here is that the cat demands food at times not established through meows or other signs, which can be annoying for the owner, who will end up giving more food than indicated to avoid said behavior, This can lead to potential obese cats.
Free Disposal Feeding:
As the name says, this type of feeding provides permanently available food, where your kitten can eat as he likes and according to his own needs. This way of feeding can help your cat make numerous small meals throughout the day, which is favorable for its metabolism and to maintain its weight, since it is a natural behavior in cats. The problem found in this case is the possible bacteriological risk and cause a loss of palatability of the food if it is exposed to the environment for a long time, in addition to the lack of control in the food, can lead to excessive consumption and obesity, if your cat does not he knows how to control himself when eating. Also, the interaction between owner and owner is minimal and absent.
To conclude, it is important to highlight that if you have made the decision to have a cat as a pet, make sure that you can provide it with good quality food that maintains its well-being and health, carry out regular medical check-ups, be aware of your dental and dermatological health, generate play and exercise daily and maintain healthy habits for life that improve their quality of life.
Video by Helpful Vancouver Vet