Domestic cats hide a thousand mysteries, even in their diet: there are some curiosities about cat nutrition that you probably don’t know, all to be discovered.
Just like their wild cousins, giant jungle felines and not just tigers and lions, cats are carnivorous animals that naturally feed on their ability to hunt their prey. Even if in the common imagination we are used to thinking that cats are great fish eaters, the truth is that what should never be missing in their daily diet is meat: cats follow an essentially protein diet.
Unlike dogs, which are very happy to taste practically any food they are offered or who manage to “sneak”, cats have a reputation for being quite picky when it comes to feeding: a cat loves to eat what is actually to its taste, and tends to snub or refuse certain foods. In reality, a lot depends on the fact that the nutritional needs of a cat are very specific and the cat knows what he needs and what, instead, it is better to avoid.
In this article we have collected 6 curiosities about cat nutrition: interesting things to know, also and above all to take better care of our 4-legged friend.
6 unusual curiosities about cat nutrition
1. Cats are obligate carnivores
Obligate carnivores are those animals that have a specific digestive tract for the digestion of proteins and fats of meat: in practice, the intestine of these animals is shorter and most of the nutrients necessary for the survival of these animals are given precisely by the meat consumption. In an absolutely theoretical way, cats could survive by eating only and exclusively meat: in reality, a balanced diet specific for the domestic feline includes at least 40-50% of animal proteins, which must be accompanied by carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals.
2. Cats need taurine
Those who choose to adopt a cat know it well: these animals need to take taurine. A while ago, there was news that more and more cats were going blind or suffering from heart failure. It was later discovered that the cause was the deficiency of this substance in industrial cat foods. Taurine is an essential amino acid, which is found mainly in meat and fish, now suitably integrated in cat food on the market.
3. Fatty acids are essential
Fats perform an indispensable function for the health of the cat, such as the supply of energy or support in the absorption of some vitamins. In particular, fatty acids such as linoleic acid and arachidonic acid are essential for keeping cats in good health: these nutrients are found in some of the most common foods in the cat’s diet, such as chicken meat.
4. Vitamins also matter
Among the unexpected curiosities about the cat’s diet there is the absolute importance of some vitamins and in particular of thiamine, a B vitamin that is mainly contained in cereals. Cats need 5 times more thiamine than dogs and this is one of the substances for which the cat cannot eat only and exclusively meat.
Among the consequences of a thiamine deficiency in cats we point out the constantly tilted head, the lack of coordination, the bent posture, the convulsions. In severe cases, even the death of the animal is possible: make sure that the cat food you buy has an adequate amount of it or ask your vet for advice for useful supplements.
5. The home diet for cats
There are many cat owners who prefer to feed their 4-legged friend a homemade diet rather than relying on industrial foods commonly on the market. If you follow all the advice of the experts and ensure the right quantities and varieties of nutrients, the home diet is a good solution for the cat, but it is essential to seek the advice of the veterinarian first and to follow his guidelines to the letter.
6. Cats shouldn’t fast
In nature there are many predators that fast regularly between one hunt and another. Even some pets can go fasting from time to time, for example dogs often go 24 hours without eating without suffering any harm and sometimes skip meals of their own accord. This does not apply, however, to cats who can develop severe hepatic lipidosis if they go fast .
Hepatic lipidosis is a liver disease that can even be fatal for the animal, leading the cat to sudden death: fasting, in fact, forces the body to move fat reserves in the liver to convert them into energy. The body of cats, however, is not programmed to process large amounts of fat and the cat’s liver quickly goes under strain: if the cat stops eating, therefore, it is important to contact the veterinarian immediately.