Things Your Cat Wants You To Know: Feeding #2
Things Your Cat Wants You To Know
1. Where’s the Beef? Cats are strict carnivores. They are programmed to eat critters. Critters have lots of water, fat, and protein, but no carbs. Carbs make cats fat. So a low carb, high fat, and high protein diet is best for them. The problem is trying to find a good diet that fills these needs.
Wet foods tend to be higher in fat and animal source proteins while dry foods tend to be higher in carbs and plant-based proteins. Check out this website for more information on various brands. It’s a little out of date from 2017 and only has information for wet food brands.
2. Wet vs Dry, that is the question. Dry is more convenient and you can leave it out for long periods of time, such as when you’re gone for a weekend. But kibbles are generally higher in carbs leading to chubby kitties.
Wet food generally has fewer carbs and is higher in moisture for kidney health, but it’s more expensive and you can’t leave it out for long.
Personally, I prefer wet food for its lower carb value (Check the numbers to make sure!), higher protein content, and increased moisture content. Leaner kitties lead to less incidence of obesity and subsequent problems such as diabetes.
3. Dry food is not better for their teeth. When I got out of vet school last century, yes I’m old, we were taught dry food cuts down on dental disease. Now we know that a lot of dental disease is genetic in nature and really doesn’t have much to do with what they eat. In people, sweets and acidic colas and coffee can give us problems, but our kitties don’t have those issues. So wet food is fine.
4. Cats need Cat food. Some cats are not picky and are happy to eat the dog's food. An occasional tidbit is ok, but they need balanced cat food. We found out years ago that cats must have taurine in their diets. Taurine is an essential amino acid that is found in animal-based proteins. Unlike many mammals, cats can’t make their own taurine so they have to get it from their food. So stick to balanced cat foods.
5. I’m not a Vegetarian. Regardless of your food restrictions, cats are not made for vegetarian diets. As mentioned above, they are strict carnivores. That is what their GI system is designed for. They also have to have Taurine added to their food which is best found in animal-based proteins.
Next time we’ll look a little more in-depth as to how much to feed your kitty each day looking at calories, treats, and lifestyle.