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September 24, 2019

If you are trying to decide what type of diet to feed your cat, it can be complicated.  Knowing what your cat needs nutritionally can put you on the path to finding the right healthy cat food.  Especially since cats’ needs are different than ours.  These are what your cat needs to stay healthy and well.

Protein

Protein is essential for a cat’s diet. Their bodies can process animal protein as they are used to having a carnivore diet.  The dietary protein supplies the energy needed for growth and development.  Protein deficiency can cause red, flaky skin, and loss of hair color.

While amino acids come from plants, it is not taurine and the amino acids are not as processable for a cat.  Which is why a vegetarian diet is not a good choice for your cat.  However, you must not overfeed your cat with protein.  Like life, it is all about balance.

Fat and Fatty Acids

Fat is the most concentrated source of energy.  Too much in a cat’s diet will contribute to weight gain, but enough is needed to keep your cat going. 

Fatty acids like omega-3, 6, and 9 are critical to a cat’s health.  Fatty acids can be found in fish as well as borage seed and flaxseed.  Fatty acids will help your cat with chronic kidney disease, arthritis, allergies, and skin problems.  Flaky scales, coarse lusterless coats, and itchy skin are all signs that your cat is not getting enough fatty acids.

Taurine

Taurine is a type of amino acid found in many foods.  It is an essential amino acid.  It is primarily found in meat, fish, and dairy.  It is critical to have taurine in a cat’s diet.  If you feed your cat a high protein diet, taurine is naturally in there.  They add it to most processed cat foods, as the content isn’t enough naturally.  Without the proper amount of taurine, your cat can suffer from heart conditions, retinal degeneration, and reproductive issues.


Water

Cats are not animals that are known for drinking water.  So, most of their water intake comes from their food.  Canned cat food has a higher percentage of water than dry cat food.  Dry food has between 6% to 10% versus canned cat food that has 75% to 78%.  Water is essential to cats and they need a proper daily intake.

Always provide clean water for your cat, whether it seems like they drink out of the bowl or fountain.

Vitamins

They need vitamins for normal growth and functioning in your cat. 

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that a cat must get from protein their body can not convert it from a plant.  If your cat has a Vitamin A deficiency, it can cause blindness, skin and hair coat problems, and incomplete growth.

Minerals

Minerals are important for cats and play a role in their physiological reactions.  Minerals influence enzyme formation pH balance, oxygen transportation, and nutrient utilization.   Minerals in healthy cat food come naturally from fish, meats, and salt.

It is important to make sure that all of these nutritional needs are met with healthy cat food.  There are many cat foods that provide great nutrition through high quality ingredients.  It is about knowing what to look for.  If you have questions about your cat’s needs, it is always good to check with the vet.