How often have you asked yourself, “What do cats eat?” or “What do cats like to eat?” Simply because everything that you have served their highness, has been rejected by them. A simple sniff, a look of dejection and they walk away from that bowl. Let’s be honest, watching our cats eating their food is a dream come true for all cat parents. And we are here to bring it to life!
Let’s dive deep into a cat’s mind and their nutritional needs.
Why is nutrition important for cats?
You are what you eat and the same goes for your cats. What they eat determines their health. A proper nutritious and balanced diet will reduce the chances of illnesses, serious issues and follow-up veterinary checkups. And it goes without saying, nutrients are essential for maintaining all health parameters. But when it comes to cats and their food, here is a list of nutrients and ingredients they absolutely need -
- i) Protein in the form of fish (sardine, tuna), chicken, eggs
Cats are carnivores and they need a meat-based diet. When checking for the same in the ingredients list, ensure that it is listed as the number one ingredient. Since cats have an acquired taste for fish, most cat foods include fresh fish as the form of protein along with chicken. They mention it on their packaging as well. For example - chicken & tuna recipe.
That said, cats also need the energy to be their playful and naughty self. This is fulfilled by carbohydrates in the form of grains like corn, barley, wheat. They not only bind the cat food together but also act as fillers.
- ii) Taurine is an amino acid that is the building block of proteins
Taurine is an essential amino acid for cats that is only found in animal-based protein. Some far-reaching benefits of taurine are -
- a) Supports good vision and prevents any eyesight issues
- b) Aids healthy digestion
- c) Keeps the cardiovascular functioning in good shape
- d) Maintains normal pregnancy and fetal development
- e) Pillars the immune system to keep kittens and cats healthy
Fish is an amazing source of taurine for cats
While most mammals are able to produce taurine naturally, cats cannot. They have a limited ability to produce amino acids to fulfill their body needs. That’s why taurine is added over and above in their food and they need to consume it on a regular basis. A deficiency of taurine can lead to -
- a) Retinal cells degenerate leading to a loss of eyesight also referred to as Feline Taurine Retinopathy or Feline Central Retinal Degeneration (FCRD)
- b) Weakening of cardiovascular system (heart) leading to Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)
- c) Digestive issues
- d) Stunted growth in kittens
Note - The clinical signs of deficiency of taurine in cats can take a long time to show up. When recognized early on, it can be treated with taurine supplements.
A lot of cat parents also end up feeding dog food to cats since they seem to enjoy the taste. While it’s fine occasionally, remember that dog food doesn’t contain enough taurine to fulfill your cat’s dietary needs. It’s always better to invest in dedicated cat food that is high in taurine.
iii) Other vitamins, minerals, fatty acids
Apart from taurine and carbs, the right cat food should also contain vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, D, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12 and E, folic acid, calcium, zinc, magnesium, sodium, chlorine, etc. They help maintain healthy bones, joints and teeth. Essential fatty acids like Omega 3 and 6 are necessary for healthy brain function, optimum growth, healthy skin and a shiny coat. A fine balance between these vitamins, minerals and fatty acids will ensure that your cat is eating healthy food.
- iv) Water in any form like chicken soup, chicken broth
Now water is a significant addition to your cat’s diet and food yet it is the most underrated nutrient. It’s a widely known fact that cats don’t drink water. They hate it or they are simply not interested, no one can really tell. But does that mean we will let them avoid it? No!
While kibble for cats is dry food, you can mix it with water to retain hydration. If your cat is still not accepting water, try chicken soup or chicken broth. The secret is to appease their taste buds while fulfilling their hydration needs.
Cats need water as well!
What to avoid while choosing cat food?
Now that we know what to look for while choosing the right cat food, here’s a list of what you need to avoid -
- i) Avoid any ‘by-products’ unless it is clearly mentioned on the label. By-products can range from acceptable ingredients like liver and lungs to bad ingredients such as bones. If your cat food label mentions the same, check which by-products go in it exactly.
- ii) Chemical preservatives such as BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, and propyl gallate. Preservatives have received a bad name but the fact remains that they keep your cat’s food from going stale or bad. While some preservatives are bad, you can’t ignore them entirely.
iii) An entirely vegetarian diet. Due to evolving pet food standards, vegetarian and vegan diets have come up as well. But since cats are pure carnivores, such food will not be adequate for them. Although a few vegetables in cat food are completely safe.
The right cat food will adhere to the nutritional and feeding guidelines as provided by AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials). It is an advisory body that sets values and regulates the production, ingredients, definitions, feeding value etc of animal products including pet food. Only opt for cat food that follows these guidelines.
Kittibles™ Cat Food is for cats above 1 year of age
And now if you have reached here, let us recommend Kittibles™ Cat and Kitten Food - Chicken and Tuna recipe. Made with the choicest ingredients for the choosiest cats and kittens, it is highly palatable. Forget the days when your cat rejected their food because Kittibles™ will make it a thing of the past. Order today and let your furry pals enjoy it!
Kittibles™ Kitten Food is for kittens below 1 year of age
If you have got more questions about your kitty or cat’s food and diet needs, we are just one call away! Let our in-house experts help you through this journey. Call us on +91 8431620000 today!
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*Disclaimer: This blog is vet-approved and includes original content which is compiled after thorough research and authenticity by our in-house team of vets and content experts. It is always advisable to consult a veterinarian before you try any products, pet food or any kind of treatment/medicines on your pets, as each pet is unique and will respond differently.