As carnivores, cats get the nutrients they need from animal products. Their diet consists of food high in protein with moderate amounts of fats and minimal carbohydrates. Research suggests that the best way to achieve nutritional balance in a cat’s diet is to take into account these important factors: activity, age, breed, and lifestyle.
Good nutrition is crucial to your cat’s well-being and greatly affects the course of her life with fewer health complications. A better understanding of the vital nutrients will help guide you in choosing the healthiest diet for your furry companion.
Protein and amino acids
In the wild, cats get protein from meat, fish, and other animals. Domestic cats, on the other hand, get their daily nutrients from manufactured cat foods containing large amounts of animal-based proteins. Proteins provide building blocks for antibodies, cells, enzymes, hormones, tissue, and organs. These are responsible for your feline’s growth, maintenance, reproduction, and repair.
Fats and essential fatty acids
Dietary fats can be acquired from animal fats and the seed oils of some plants. They provide more than twice the energy from proteins or carbohydrates. Fatty acids are necessary for cell structure and function. They’re responsible for keeping your feline’s skin and coat in good condition. Aside from that, fats make the food more edible in terms of taste and texture.
Cats have a unique metabolism compared to other pets that’s why they have special dietary needs. Cats are not able to make adequate amounts of certain vitamins so they must get them from the food they eat. For example, cats have a limited production of vitamins A and D and Niacin in their bodies so their food must contain these nutrients. Supplementation is generally not recommended for cats unless it’s needed to correct deficiencies.
|Vitamin E||Defence against oxidative damage|
|Vitamin B1||Energy and carbohydrate metabolism|
|Vitamin B12||Enzyme functions|
|Pantothenic Acid||Energy metabolism|
|Folic Acid||Amino acid metabolism|
Similar to vitamins, minerals cannot be normally synthesised in your cat’s body. As such, it must be included in the daily diet. Calcium and phosphorus are necessary minerals as they help strengthen bones and teeth. Other minerals function as helpers in enzyme functions or reactions. There are twelve minerals that are recognised as important nutrients to be provided to cats and these are:
Cat nutritional requirements table
A cat’s nutritional requirements may vary depending on her size, age, level of activity, and other factors. Here is the recommended dietary allowance for certain nutrients for an adult cat.
|(Daily) Recommended Allowance|
|Vitamin A||63 µg|
|Vitamin D||0.4 µg|
|Vitamin E||2.5 mg|
|Vitamin K||82 µg|
|Vitamin B1||0.33 mg|
|Vitamin B6||1.16 mg|
|Vitamin B12||1.4 µg|
|Pantothenic Acid||0.4 mg|
|Folic Acid||47 µg|
Note: µg = microgram; mg = milligram
You may also like::
Choosing the right cat food
Commercial cat foods
Commercial cat foods have been developed and prepared to give cats the correct balance of calories, fats, and nutrients. They contain the minimum nutritional requirements that cats need to grow healthy and strong.
In choosing commercially-prepared cat foods, make it a habit to read the ingredients list. The product labels list the ingredients with the greatest amount first and then followed by items in smaller amounts. What you need to look for are cat foods with meat or seafood listed as the top ingredients as this indicates that there are enough protein and fatty acids. It doesn’t matter if it’s dry food or wet food, what’s important is to choose the one that your cat prefers.
Homemade cat foods
Some cat owners prefer homemade cat food because they don’t want to feed their cats with highly-processed foods. The only risk here is that homemade recipes may not contain the right quantities and proportions of nutrients that your cat needs. Consulting a veterinarian-nutritionist can help you formulate a recipe that contains the required nutrients in the right proportions.
Keep your cat healthy and happy by providing a balanced and varied diet. Share this cat diet guide to your cat owner friends!