Diet has a massive part in the physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing of cats, just as it does on humans. Feline diets are, however, different from the human ones. This is evident in the wild bunch of cats such as lions, jaguars, and tigers.
When cats are left to roam the wild, they will hunt birds, mice, and other small animals to fend for themselves. Our pet cats do not always have an opportunity of getting these kills and have to be co-dependent on us for their dietary needs. The question is whether we have an obligation to mimic their natural feeding habits or flexibility to tweak their diet for more human-like preferences.
What is the scientific opinion about cats’ diets?
Wild cats or pet cats on the loose usually eat food rich in protein and minimal carbohydrate content. Dr. Zoran is a Texas A&M College professor of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who has an educated opinion on the matter. Dr. Zoran states that the best way to feed our cats is to give them canned meat with high protein content and low carbohydrates. She adds that canned meat is rich in water content that will enrichen their daily water needs.
Dr. Zoran went on to explain that cats’ dependency on meat will protect them from the dangers that occur when we steer outside their dietary lines. Dry foods like packed grains are extremely dehydrating to the cat. Trying to make a twin of your cat by feeding it, your vegan food may cause adverse issues such as kidney failure.
Meat has a low carbohydrate content that is not likely to cause obesity or diabetes. The doctor also warned against giving your cat spiced, unseasoned meat or one containing any degree of onions or garlic. These additions can be toxic to your cat.
Is there evidence of cats not being carnivorous?
It would be a complete lie to assume there is not a single curious cat that has not munched on a kale leaf or the cabbage. The Internet has enough credible evidence of cats eating kale. However, the truth is that cats cannot thrive on a vegan diet. Cats do not need a regular dose of vegetables according to many cat owners and observers.
There are dedicated stores that believe cats can handle more plant food that we currently know them. They state that cats will be able to handle additional plants if you supplement their meat nutrients with manufactured tablets. Another cat owner believes that a cat will not get any health harm from eating small amounts of winter squash on a regular.
What happens if you make your cat a vegan?
There are many pets you could choose that will not display fatal digestive symptoms from eating a plant-based diet. A cat is far from one.
Here is why you should never think of substituting the regular meat servings with plants. Studies show that cats living in nutritionally deprived areas will be significantly smaller and weaker than their counterparts. This knowing explains why stray cats tend to require attentive veterinary services before they can gain successful placements with their adoptive families.
- Cats will develop abnormally high alkalinity. Plant foods have a high alkaline degree while meat has a high acidic content. The increases alkaline ph level will consequentially make the urine alkaline too. The change of this chemical composition will result in the formation of magnesium ammonium phosphate, also known as struvite, in the urine. Struvites are crystals or stones in the bladder.
These formations in the bladder cause irritation to the cat every time they have to take a leak. Male cats will have more severe effects from eating a steady plant-based diet. They will develop a urinary tract infection that could extend to be an obstruction in the urethra. The symptoms then become a downward spiraling ball of trouble with life-threatening emergencies. Some may eventually become permanently sterile from a spread of the infection.
- You may end up spending up to $1500 catering to the administration of catheters, antibiotics, and surgery. You should get your cat’s ph levels regularly checked to if you include plant foods in the cat’s meals. Alternatively, you can steer away from plant foods and cater to the cat’s natural carnivorous taste buds.
Cats are carnivorous
It is almost excruciating to think that your precious cat is also a vicious hunting killer. The unique physiology of cats is what makes them innately predatory. This makes cats what is technically termed ‘obligate carnivore’.
What is an obligate carnivore?
An obligate carnivore is an animal that has a biological inclination of having a mandatory feed of meat. Other obligate animals include seals, lizards, snakes, hawks and dolphins, as well as most amphibians. These animals cannot successfully synthesize or tolerate alternative diets. They have to rely on other animals for nutritional content such as vitamins, fatty acids, and minerals. Cats will give you gifts of dead mice because they understand the sumptuousness and aliveness that comes from these treasures.
What are the physical confirmations that cats are obligate carnivores?
- The first clue of these distinctive diet classifications is the teeth. Cats have four canine teeth at the front of the dental structure to help them tear out the meat. The sharp teeth on the upper and lower jaws are divisive for making small cuts into the prey during a kill.
- Cats have a short digestive system and rank as having the smallest body size ratio of the system among all mammals. Digestive systems store bacteria that breaks down plant food. The shorter system is conducive for meat to pass down fast through the system.
- Cats’ saliva lacks the salivary amylase enzyme. This enzyme breaks down carbohydrates. Meat does not require this breakdown; hence, it explains why mammals do not produce it.
- Cats have a tough hunting game. It is insane to think that these natural abilities developed to give cats an advantage in getting the freshest and juiciest leaf of the tree. Cats have a very sensitive sense of smell that equips them to predate on small prey in their environment.
Did you know that cats have a broader array of sensational frequencies than dogs? They have ultrasonic senses that detect sound and physical movement in minute proportions around the environment. Excellent vision is also a part of these highly sensitive hunting genes. Scientists concluded that they have 20 visual genes that facilitate night acuteness.
- Researchers found out that a big part of the cat’s digestive genomes revolves around fat metabolism. The statement explained why these genes support the idea of cats being naturally carnivorous.
The metabolism of lipids is a reliable indicator of the accommodation of a diet of felids. The study went further to conclude that these carnivorous tendencies and genes were not an adaption to cope with the changing environments. This information means that cats were meat-eaters thousands of years before they entered man’s homestead.
Do cats benefit from the nutritional content of meat?
The common question among vegans is whether their source of protein matters. The protein source for our cats matters a great deal. This is especially because the building blocks of one protein are entirely different from another one. This fact means that cats will not get all their amino acid nutrients from eating plant proteins. Cats require the specific ratios and content of certain amino acids only found in meat.
Easy nutrient bioavailability
As stated earlier, cats cannot make a conversion if their vital nutrients from plant nutrients. Humans and most carnivores have the ability to convert plant-sourced vitamin A into a form that will have a natural synthesis into the system.
A significant number of mammals can convert this nutrient from a wide array of sources such as spinach, kale, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Cats cannot make such conversions with any type of nutrient. Cats can only synthesize nutrients from ready sources of animal meat.
Deficiency of taurine
Taurine is an amino acid that facilitates tranquil metabolism, eye function, nerve transmission, heart function, and the immune system’s strength. Excessive consumption of plant food has proven drastic reductions of the amino acid in the body. Taurine is readily available in chicken, beef, and turkey.
Source of energy
Cats produce energy through a process known as gluconeogenesis. This mechanism does not utilize carbohydrates like most mammals. These non-glucose energy sources include glycerol, amino acids, and other nutrients. It would be futile to feed your cat with carbohydrate treats with the hope that they will be able to sustain themselves the same way.
What kind of carnivorous foods can cats eat?
The cat has adapted to the long-standing lethargic history of living with humankind by accepting our version of game meat. Your cat may enjoy the taste of chocolate treats, but do not be deceived that they will be so hung up on the favor they end up forgetting their carnivorous buds. Here is a list of animal products that will serve your cat’s nutritional needs.
- Red meat
Some adult cats do not actually need other dietary supplements from plants such as the fiber. They will thrive fully and comfortably on meat and offal without digestive complications. Some cats may also accept plant elements such as small scoops of vegetables. Others will have a considerable tolerance for cooked cereal. Ensure that you do not overload your cat with roughage that will also burden its digestive system.
Fats are an abundant energy source for cats. Diets containing sufficient amounts of fat and minimal carbohydrates will be very palatable to the cat.
Fresh meat such as fish or canned meat has enough water to make up seventy-five percent of cats’ daily water requirement. The cat will then require only minimal amounts of water during the day. Dry foods like cereal do not contain any water while vegetables provide ten percent of the required content.
Cats have the popularity of having piercing night eyes and impulsive reactions. These qualities are acutely dependent on high levels of vitamin A. Insufficient amounts of these nutrients will have a dramatic negative effect on pregnancy and newborn litters as well as adult cats. Cats of any age group will be susceptible to autoimmune diseases and have low body weight.
Vitamin A is high in meat sources like the liver, milk, and eggs. Give your cat either of the rich sources once or twice a week in manageable amounts. It is crucial to note that excess vitamin A will cause deformities of the skeletal structure.
Luckily, cats require a minute amount of vitamin D. They can readily get this from the meat products mentioned earlier. Cats lack the ability to produce natural vitamin D by exposure to sunlight. Plants lack enough vitamin D sources hence they will only gain it from animal foods.
Kittens have low levels of mineral content such as calcium and phosphorous. They depend on milk as the primary source of plenty of minerals. The mother is then obligated to have a rich diet that will supplement their offspring. Kittens do not have a reserve for calcium; hence, they require a constant supply of milk. Weaning cats should automatically transition to a plentiful milk supply that will sustain their growth and health.
The question regarding a cat’s dietary inclination may not have the answer that cats are omnivorous. They do not have any external or internal adaptation to indicate that they have a tolerable level of ingesting vegetables. History also shows that cats have been innate meat hunters both within and without humanity’s home.
Additionally, a stray cat does not have the mind to think that they should probably munch on the leftover broccoli in the street. Their brain and wellbeing are acutely healthy and normal on a pure meat diet. These facts leave us with the finalization that cats are hardwired carnivores. Do not go overboard while slipping in the vegetable in their meals.