Raw Diet Cat Food with the proper supplements is best for a cat. Why can't we buy this? Cats have a greater need than dogs and other omnivores for protein in their diet. Cats are obligate carnivores. Cats are adapted through evolution to a low carbohydrate (CHO) intake. Their saliva doesn't start the digestion process as it lacks the required enzyme. Their intestine and pancreas is the same.
There are limitations to substituting plant origin food for animal origin food which are being ignored by the big manufacturers. Cats in the wild eat high protein, moderate fat and minimal CHO. Commercial cat food can lead to protein malnutrition. Cats can't adapt to lower amounts of protein in food. For cats, protein in food is required for energy as well as structural purposes.
Cats have a need for increased amounts of amino acids such as taurine, arginine, methionine, cysteine. A cat's natural diet contains these. Taurine is essential to a cat. Some is lost into their bile. Long term (several months) deficiency of taurine can lead to blindness. You can test levels of taurine in blood.
High amounts of CHO may have a negative impact on cats. Cats cannot use starch. Abnormally high levels of CHO are used in dry cat food to make the manufacturing process work.
High levels of CHO reduce protein digestion and increases fecal pH (more alkaline). A cat's liver doesn't contain an enzyme that metabolizes (breaks them down to be digested into the body) sugars. Cats prefer foods flavored with animal products and not sweet flavors unlike people and dogs. Carnivores rely mainly on fats to provide energy.
A cat has specific and unique vitamin needs. She requires higher levels of B vitamin (thiamin, niacin). Anorexic cats can suffer from thiamin deficiency. A cat eating high levels of sea food (high in thiaminase) can suffer from thiamin deficiency. The symptoms are sever muscle weakness. B vitamins are found in animal tissue. They are added to commercial cat food demonstrating how artifical it is.
Commercial cat food has added vitamin A but caution is required in supplementing this vitamin as it can be toxic at incorrectly high levels.
Cats drink relatively small amounts of water getting it from the prey eaten. This reflects their origins in desert regions. Cats eating a dry cat food (kibble) will drink half the amount of water than if eating wet cat food. They do not compensate adequately by drinking water. Wet cat food can increase dental tartar however. My thought: balance between the two but raw diet cat food plus correct supplement is best. Mimic as near as possible prey. Why isn't this available commercially?
An estimated 25%-33% of cats are obese. Obesity can bring health problems such as diabetes. There are several reasons for this. One reason being scrutinized is the quality of cat food. High CHO cat food plus inactivity (indoor cats) means the cat is consuming too much energy producing food and not burning it off. CHO that is not used by the cat is stored as fat. The weight loss diets are not necessarily healthy either as the high fiber content can impair protein digestion.
The more I read the more I am convinced a Raw Diet Cat Food is best but how to prepare it and do we have time?
Source: Debra Zoran DM "Timely Topics in Nutrition - The carnivore connection to nutrition in cats". This source has been greatly reduced in size and content in this post. But the tenor of the source and essential information has been preserved as accurately as possible. I have only referred to limited parts of the original text.
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Photo: copyright Old Sarge
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