Feeding Cats a Healthy Diet
Birds, rats and snakes
Cats and dogs differ significantly in their food profile needs. Cats are carnivorous, finicky eaters and sensitive to many foods. They require special attention when it comes to finding the right animal proteins and nutrients to keep them healthy, happy and thriving for many years.
When it comes to cats, many times there is a general perspective that we can feed them just about anything. After all, many cats kept outdoors spend their lives roaming our neighborhoods through the night hunting and feasting on birds, rats, snakes and an entire host of other vermin. But when we take a large bag of dried kibble, fill their bowls and let them nibble on it throughout the day, are we truly feeding them what they need to thrive. We hope to prove on this page that this method of feeding your cat is woefully inadequate and severely flawed.
Why is Dry Kibble Cat Food Bad for your Cat?
Many cat conditions may be due to feeding dry Kibble
Increasingly, top-level veterinary internists are telling their clients to find their way clear of the dry kibble diet. Many are now recommending the moister yet more expensive canned food for our feline friends.
Some of the issues surrounding dry kibble foods involve the extremely low water content, the use of soy for protein rather than animal protein and a high carbohydrate content that is bad for blood sugar and other health dynamics.
Consider the fact that dry cat foods are subject to extreme processing techniques, subjecting them to high heat that alters the food and destroys nutrients. In addition, the food is typically stored in huge, warm, unrefrigerated warehouses for long periods of time were they are exposed to possible storage mites, cockroaches, fungal mycotoxins and other undesirable constituents. In this environment, fats in the dry cat food kibble can become rancid and bacteria can flourish.
When fed a diet of dried processed food that has been subject to all kinds of manmade influences of the industrial pet food industry, cats are much more likely to get sick and suffer urinary tract and digestive system problems. We believe that many cat diseases are in a large part due to the sub-standard and highly processed dry cat food being forced upon our feline friends today.
Cat’s Well Documented Urinary Tract Issues
Urinary issues hide dormant – until it is too late!
Cats may look fine outwardly for several years when given a standard diet of dry food but the signs of medical problems are lingering underneath all of that cute fur and personality. Problems don’t typically show up until on a consistent diet of inexpensive dry kibble. Problems raise their ugly head when they suddenly need to see a vet or possibly die from typical cat medical issues as described below.
They may start having a difficult time straining when urinating from a blocked urinary tract or inflamed bladder. They may stop using their cat box altogether when they associate it with discomfort and extreme pain. Troubles quickly progress in a cat when this occurs as fluids build up. Many times they require emergency services such as catheterization or worse, an operation. In extreme situations they can actually die very quickly when their bladders rupture from a buildup of urinary fluids. Kidney and bladder stones are also problematic for cats on a pure dry kibble diet. Stones will grow over long periods of time and once again require the attention of a vet.
Many of the dry processed cat foods today contribute to this trend towards feline urinary issues. We believe much damage is done to our feline friends over a period of time when fed these dry foods that contain an overabundance of additives and preservatives, undergo harsh industrial processes, contain hyper-allergenic substances and species-inappropriate ingredients and are stored for large durations of time in non temperature controlled warehouses.
What is an Obligate Carnivore?
Why do Cats Like to Eat Birds and Mice?
The big wild cats around the world are well adapted predators that take down their prey with lightning fast speed and agility. They are designed to hunt, kill and eat meat protein. Our domestic cats, when allowed to roam our streets, will hunt down and eat freshly killed creatures such as wild birds and mice. Cats are considered obligate carnivores with a long history of predatory feeding from their primal past as kings of the plains and jungles. Obligate carnivores are organisms that derive their energy from diets consisting almost exclusively of animal tissue. This may include predator feeding or scavenging.
Most animal protein contains water ranging somewhere in the 70 percent quantity. Most mammalians, including cats, have urinary tracts in need of lots of fluids to work properly. This is simple physics and biology. The well documented problem with cat’s urinary tracts have to do with the fact that they tend to have a low thirst drive as they eat prey that already contains large quantities of fluids making it unnecessary to supplement their water intake significantly.
Why Plant-based Proteins are not Good for Cats
A complex amino acid situation
The building blocks or base constituents of proteins are called amino acids. The problem with soy, or plant based protein, is that they do not have the entire wide-ranging amino acid profile that animal tissue contains. All of these amino acid types determine a proteins biological value. Here is where the rubber meets the road. Other mammals such as dogs and even humans have a system that cats don’t. Their bodies are able to synthesis or make the missing amino acids.
Cats are lacking certain metabolic and enzymatic pathways that subject them to not be suited to eating plant-based proteins from foods such as soy and various grains and vegetables. They are more geared towards proteins derived from animal products that have a better-suited amino acid profile for the cat’s unique digestive and metabolic system. Plant proteins simply don’t contain this complex amino acids profile that is critical for obligate carnivores.
Cats and High Carbohydrate Diets
Cats are Missing an Enzyme
Cats lack a salivary enzyme called amylase which breaks down carbohydrates. If you feed your cat a high carbohydrate diet that is typical of dry kibble foods, they will not be able to break down and utilize the carbs you are feeding them. This enzyme is present in dogs and humans and other mammals as they can live on a vegetarian diet but cats cannot.
Today’s dried cat foods exhibit an excessive carbohydrate load, lacking species-specific animal protein contributing to blood sugar and insulin imbalance.
Cats Subject to Taurine Deficiency
Essential amino acid needed for heart and eye health
The issue of Taurine deficiency in cats is a serious one. Taurine is an acid containing an amino group and is considered by many scientists to be an amino acid. It is one of the most important nutrients existing in meat. Taurine is an essential substance for the life of mammals and is found in large quantities in meat proteins, not plant based proteins. It is extremely important for cardiovascular function, retina health, central nervous system tasks and the function and development of muscle tissue throughout the skeletal of mammals. Taurine deficiency is unique to cats and causes blindness and heart problems in our beloved felines. Putting 2 and 2 together, could this deficiency be from the lack of taurine as a result of the dependency on dry kibble foods that are made with mainly plant based proteins?
Look for Quality Canned Food
Not all canned food is created equal
Not all canned cat foods are created equal. You will need to do your homework finding those that contain negative artificial ingredients, dyes, additives and preservatives. Some canned cat food manufacturers actually supplement with synthetic vitamins that can do more harm than good in cats. An example of this is the vitamin K3 which is a synthetic version of the natural vitamin K1. Vitamin K3 just so happens to have toxic qualities that can do damage to lungs, kidneys, the liver and other parts of the body such as the mucous membranes in human body. With several hundred canned cat food formulas containing this synthetic supplement, it is important to know what you are buying. You have to read the labels closely if you want to protect your feline friend.
Remember the uniqueness of our feline friends
Remember, cats are considered obligate carnivores. They require meat protein not protein obtained from plant sources. Cats will get more fluids and generally better ingredients when fed a diet of high-quality canned food over dry kibble cat food. Canned foods contain somewhere in the high 70 percent fluid level while dry kibble only contains 5 to 10 percent fluid levels. Cats do not have a saliva enzyme called amylase that is needed to break down carbohydrates. Cats require the nutrient Taurine present in meat protein in order to avoid a deficiency of this essential nutrient that causes eye, heart and other health issues. Always read the label of canned food and look for the highest quality food with the least amount of synthetic ingredients and additives.
If you are feeding your cat dry kibble, then you may want to make the change to quality canned food for the sake of your friend and your pocket book. Many cat owners believe that their cats are doing fine on their standard dry kibble until the veterinarian bills start to arrive and your cherished friend is suffering from any number of common cat medical conditions.