best diet for cats – Clinical Nutrition Service at Cummings School
Best of both worlds in one diet, these foods tend to be high in moisture, fat and protein content and are easier for older kitties with sensitive teeth than exclusively dry food. Cats naturally take in most of their water from their food so these soft bite-sized bits meet most of your pet’s hydration requirements.
Many commercial and holistic cat foods also contain vegetables. The reasons for adding them are varied. From claims that their food represents all the food groups, to individual claims about added fruits and veggies, all tend to boil down to the reasons why humans need them in their diets. Though there are some claims that cats eat vegetables contained in the stomachs of their prey, the amount contained in the stomach of a mouse, small rodent or bird is smaller than a dime, and can be considered negligible. Often, the first organ that cats ingest is the brain, which contains the highest concentration of nutrients. That's why when our mighty hunter (or huntress) leaves a present on our porch, it is usually a carcass with a missing head.
Another argument, is that cats will eat grass, therefore, they need vegetables in their diet. In fact, cats ingest grass to help cleanse their digestive tract, mostly to help pass hairballs. Upon regurgitation or elimination through the bowel, the grass will pass completely undigested and whole. Here is why: In order to extract nutrients from vegetables, carnivores and omnivores need to break down the cell walls in some way. Cooking (steaming is best), grinding, and powdering are the best methods of breaking down the cellulose walls in vegetable matter. For humans and some other animals, our chewing process is very effective in that our jaws allow us to "grind". Cats, however, do not 'chew' and grind as we do and therefore, need 'pre-digested' vegetables in order to process the nutrients they contain.
Third, cats do not have the capability to createtaurine from methionine and cysteine, like dogs do. This means that acat must ingest sufficient taurine in order to meet its taurinerequirements. The excellent news is that taurine is found in virtuallyall meats, especially beef heart. By feeding a cat a raw diet, the catshould receive the best, most bioavailable form of taurine via itsfood. There is one proviso: do not grind the food. Grinding increasesthe surface area of the meat and thus exposes more of the "good stuff"to the air. This results in oxidation of taurine and a resultantdecrease in overall taurine available to the cat. Additionally,grinding creates the perfect environment for bacteria growth, andbacteria also utilize the taurine in the meat, thereby furtherdecreasing the total amount of taurine available to your cat. Thus, ifyou feed your cat a ground raw diet, it may not receive all the taurineit needs to thrive, as is the case with a group of kittens fed whole,ground raw rabbit in this .If you regularly feed ground raw to your cat (which I do not recommendunless your cat absolutely will not or cannot eat bones), then it isadvisable that you supplement with taurine using either fresh beefheart (unground) or a commercial taurine supplement.
For many cats, the best way to lose weight is with a canned diet food fed several times per day, rather than leaving food down all of the time. One of the reasons canned diet foods work better is because our finicky felines often prefer wet food to dry. Eating meals rather than nibbling all day long discourages eating out of boredom or just for the sake of eating. It is vital that you count calories and measure the amount fed when entering into a weight reduction program. Feeding too much will result in no weight loss and feeding too little can result in serious health consequences such as hepatic lipidosis. The good news is that prescription diets are not necessary to successfully regulate a diabetic cat. Many high-quality commercial cat foods are made with less than 10 percent ME carbohydrates and are appropriate for diabetic management. You must work with your vet to determine your cat’s best dietary solution.We recommend meal feeding rather than free feeding. Meal feeding means that you feed a specified amount of food, as opposed to leaving out a large quantity of dry food for your cat to graze on throughout the day. You can start by feeding twice daily, using the food label as a guideline. Then review that amount with your veterinarian during your cat’s annual or semiannual examination. The amount to feed may vary depending on your cat’s ideal weight and activity level. Meal feeding also gives you an opportunity to monitor your cat’s appetite and helps you notice any change in your cat’s overall food intake, which is often one of the first signs of stress or illness. Depending on your cat’s specific situation, it might be best to consult with your veterinarian before implementing any diet regimen.