6 Essential Substances Your Cat Must Have in Its Diet to Thrive
Cats require a certain balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fresh water, minerals and vitamins in their daily diet. It is up to us to provide that mix for them in order for them to stay healthy and thrive.
Cats need protein for strength. They are used for growth and repair of the body and also provide your cat with energy when metabolized. The amount of protein needed varies with the age of your cat. Kittens require a diet that contains around 50% of protein where as 30% is good for adults. Older cats require less as they are often less energetic and the liver and kidneys are less efficient in flushing out the toxic by-products produced in the breaking down process.
Carbohydrates are the major source of energy for most animals, including your cat. They are a much cheaper energy source than protein which is why there are high amounts in many commercial cat foods. However, your cat can survive without them as there are very few carbohydrates in the foods they hunt such as mice. Carbohydrates are also a great source of fibre which provides bulk in the faeces.
Fats are essential for cats as they provide energy. In fact fats are the second major source of energy for your cat. They are able to digest around 95% of the fats consumed. Any excess fat is stored as insulation as well as protecting the internal organs.
Fresh water is essential for all living animals. Without it we will die. If the water in your cat’s dish is stale or has chemicals added to the water supply, try using bottled water instead. Your cat doesn’t need the chemicals and they will probably do him harm. If you drink bottled water, you should also provide some for your cat. It is relatively cheap when purchased in 5 litre containers.
Vitamins and minerals are required as micro-nutrients as they help refine the bodily functions. An excess of vitamins can be harmful to your cat so be aware of this if you are preparing your cat food yourself. Cats need vitamins A, D, E and K but are able to synthesize vitamin C so it doesn’t need to be added to foods. Most vitamins and minerals are found in the foods your cat eats and if your cat is eating a healthy balanced diet, he shouldn’t need mineral supplements.
Cats need taurine which is essential for the digestion of fats. Studies have shown that cats are at risk of going blind if they don’t have enough taurine in their diet. It is an essential ingredient for normal heart muscle function in your cat.
By choosing the best cat food you can afford, you are giving your cat a healthy start. The extra you pay for the food will be saved on less visits to the vet. And we all want our cats and kittens to be as healthy as possible.