Cat Food Simplified!
Posted on March 5, 2012
Cats are pure carnivores, and hence require two to three times the protein that omnivores, such as dogs or humans, do. Cat foods should be at least 50 % meat, eggs, or dairy products and 50% grains and vegetables.
Generally, cat food comprises of water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. However, the resemblance between your cat’s diet to that of its feral cousins depends on what formula the cat food manufacturer uses.
Proteins are needed as they are the basic building blocks for cells, tissues, and organs. They can be either animal-based, such as chicken, lamb, turkey, and fish or plant-based like soy, vegetables, and cereals. Either type may be used in cat food. In addition, cat food often contains by-products of animals or plants, the parts that people don’t normally eat.
As strict carnivores, cats depend mainly on nutrients found in animals — high protein, moderate fat, and minimal carbohydrates — to satisfy their nutritional needs. Cats’ bodies are tailored for metabolizing animal protein and fats. Additionally, animal-based proteins contain complete amino acids — like taurine, arginine, cysteine, and methionine that are essential for cats, whose bodies don’t make them in adequate amounts.
Although carbohydrates offer energy, cats use them less efficiently as an energy source. Their bodies require a steady release of glucose from protein. Fat, the most concentrated form of energy, helps cats absorb fat-soluble vitamins and provide essential fatty acids that cats can’t make well. These include omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids.
Finally, for good nutrition, cats additionally need vitamins, such as A, B, D, E, and K, in addition to minerals like calcium and phosphorus.