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nutritious, balanced diet is essential to keeping your cat healthy. In
their natural habitat, cats consume prey thatís high in protein with
moderate amounts of fat and small amounts of carbohydrates. Their diet
should be comprised of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals
and water in the correct proportions.
Adult cats should eat
enough nutritious food to meet their energy needs and to maintain and
repair body tissues. The amount of food a cat requires depends on the
catís age, breed, gender, activity, temperament, environment and
Cats are carnivores Ė
thatís one of the most important things to keep in mind when considering
what to feed yours. But not all their needs must be met by animal-based
food, as they would in the wild.
A lot of different
elements go into keeping your favourite feline healthy. Each nutrient
plays a role in keeping your catís body functioning.
Both water-soluble and
fat-soluble vitamins are important to your catsí health and the lack of
them can have drastic effects. Water-soluble vitamins includes the B
vitamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, biotin, choline and
vitamin C. Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E and K.
While cats require a
source of these in their diet, be careful as too much of some of these
vitamins can also cause problems. When feeding a complete and balanced
diet it is unnecessary to give a vitamin supplement, unless advised by
Fat is essential for the absorption and movement
around the body of certain vitamins, and it also appeals to the feline
nose and palate. It is a good source of energy Ė as the most
concentrated form of food energy; it provides your cat with more than
twice the energy of protein and carbohydrates.
Fats provide the body insulation and protection for internal organs.
Sugars and starches are a
source of energy but not one that cats need in their diets to survive.
Out of all of the ingredients in prepared cat food, carbohydrates are
farthest from what they would eat naturally. In contrast to many other
animals, cats will derive most of their blood sugar from the breakdown
of protein in the diet rather than carbohydrates.
However this doesnít
mean that cats cannot use carbohydrates or that they shouldnít be
present in their diet. Enzymes in catís bodies break down and convert
the sugars and more complex carbohydrates into products they can use.
Food that's high in fibre are not good for cats with high energy requirements, such as those who are young and growing.
Cats, like all animals, require
protein in their diet to provide for their needs. However, while humans
and dogs can adapt to diets that have a relatively low protein
requirement in their diet that would typically have a relatively low
protein content Ė plant based. Cats have a much higher protein
requirement that would typically only be met by feeding a meat-based
Water is the most important nutrient Ė essential for life. While food may help meet some of your petís water needs, cats need to have fresh clean water available to them at all times.
Dry food has up to 10% moisture, while canned food has up to 78% moisture.
A deficiency of water may have serious
repercussions for cats; a 10% decrease in body water can cause serious
illness, while a 15% loss can result in death.
The major minerals your cat needs are calcium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium chloride and magnesium. As well as iron, copper, manganese, zinc and selenium.
Minerals are important for strong teeth and bones,
and efficient metabolism. Good sources of minerals in cat foods include
fish, meat, liver and cereals.
How much food will your cat need? It depends on some factors you might not expect.
Is your cat an indoor or outdoor animal? Has your cat been sprayed or
neutered? Both affect your catís dietary requirements. Your best bet is
to seek advice from your vet, who will determine your catsí ideal
weight and daily calorie count.