What Is The Best Diet For Cats?

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Many readers ask what is the best diet for cats? My stock reply has always been that the best diet is always one that is as closest as possible to what the cat would eat in the wild. Now nutrition is not something that conventional medicine seems to put a lot of emphasis on but here is a vet who has similar views to my own:-

“My answer is always dependent on the age, body condition and health of the cat. However, for the average adult healthy cat, I recommend a canned diet with the following composition — greater than 50 percent of the calories ingested should be from protein, less than 10 percent daily calories from carbohydrates, and at least 30 percent of their daily calories from fat.

Why would I make this recommendation? It is for the following reasons.

Cats are obligate carnivores. They are designed to eat meat, not plants. An ideal diet for a cat would be five-to-six mice per day — for your information, mice are high in protein (48 percent), low in carbohydrates (5 percent) and approximately 48 kcal per mouse.

What is the best diet for cats?

Cat eating mouse

Cat eating mouse

Unlike omnivores, cats are unable to process and store carbohydrates well. Cats fed high carbohydrate diets have higher blood glucose levels compared to cats fed low carbohydrate diets due to their failure to convert excess glucose to glycogen (storage form of energy).

Many cats recently diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus are placed on a high protein, low carbohydrate diet (like the diet composition I recommended above) and their diabetes has gone into remission. These cats no longer need insulin. In addition, it has been speculated that cats fed high carbohydrate diets may have a have a higher incidence of gastrointestinal disease (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) due to their poor management of carbohydrates ingested and resultant bacterial overgrowth in their gastrointestinal tract.”

“Not only is it important to check the pet food label to see the quantity of protein in the can but also look at where the protein is coming from. Cats have a fairly simple digestive tract and lack the ability to synthesize certain amino acids from their diet.

There are four amino acids (taurine, arginine, methionine and cysteine) that must be provided in their diet and are best found in animal proteins, not plant proteins. In addition, given their relatively short gastrointestinal tract, they have a dramatically reduced ability to extract nutrients from plant material.

The biological value(how well the pet absorbs and utilizes the ingredient) of animal protein (like beef or chicken meat) is almost twice that of a plant protein (like corn, gluten meal or soybean meal) for cats. So when selecting an ideal diet for your cat, choose a diet that is primarily meat-based protein and not grain-based protein rich diet.

Additionally, cats have deficient amounts of digestive enzymes necessary to process raw vegetables and fruit into an efficient usable energy source or biologically active form.

Many people have very strong positive feelings about feeding delicious fruits (like blueberries) and vegetables (like carrots) to their pets. However, it is species inappropriate to feed vegetables to an obligate carnivore (your cat). Some people may argue that your cat may consume plants in the wild.

The amount of plants a cat eats in the wild is minuscule compared to the amount of plant-based ingredients found in the average commercial cat food. Some people may argue that cat’s kill their prey and eat their intestines that contain plant material. Yes, your wild cat may eat a mouse that has ingested some plants.

However, their argument does not take into account that the vegetable matter in the prey (for example, this mouse) is pre-digested by the mouse’s own enzymes and not by the cat.”

“In conclusion, remember that natural ingredients may be healthy for you, but may not be nutritious for your pet. The key to choosing a good diet for your cat is to choose a diet that mimics the nutritional composition of their natural diet.

Although our understanding of feline nutrition may be at it’s infancy stage today, I recommend feeding an animal-based protein rich canned food to your beloved cat for maximum longevity and good health. Bon appetite!”

There has been a lot of research and interest into, what is the best diet for cats? More and more people are coming to the conclusion that it is out poor diets and lifestyles that are causing a massive increase in cat diabetes and other illnesses.

One way to prevent and in many cases cure these illnesses is to give a diet that a cat would naturally eat in the wild. Does that mean raw food? Maybe so, but there are issues which you need to consider which I will go into in another post.

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