Saturday, February 2, 2013


Cats are technically “obligate” carnivores and that means that to be healthy they really need to eat meat.  If you have ever taken the time to read the labels on those packages of dry cat food you are feeding your cat you’ll easily conclude that meat is not making up the greater percentage of what is in the bag.  Typically the food is 1/3 to ½ carbohydrates from grains and starchy vegetables.  Not food for carnivores.  In fact, dry cat food presents many challenges to a cat’s health.

Commercial cat food has the advantage of being convenient and cheap – that does not make it healthy.  Producers of all the major brands of cat food have a responsibility to the stock holders and not a heck of a lot to the cats.  In order for cats to even eat the “stuff” in those bags the manufacturers have become geniuses at flavoring those cute little chunks and hunks with sprayed on fats and flavors.  Some of the worst foods are still so tasty (not nutritious, you understand) that cats overeat.

Wet food surpasses dry food in that there is far less carbohydrate in the blend so a minimal goal for your cat’s diet is at least 50% wet food.   But, be aware that fish flavors and those containing liver or giblets (often labeled at “by-products”) offers a significant risk for thyroid disease.  Easy open and “pop top” cans have been implicated as a high risk.  It is thought to have something to do with the lining of the cans or the interaction between ingredients and what is in the lining.  Avoid pop-tops and especially those with white linings.  Fish should be avoided if your cat has a urinary tract disease.

Cats evolved as desert animals and as such their main source of fluids came from the animals they ate.  Their prey animals are approximately 65% water and while cats eating dry food are likely to drink “more” water they rarely drink enough to be totally hydrated.  High – proper! – water intake keeps the kidneys happy, dilutes the urine and reduces the risk of crystals and stones.  These are such common and mostly avoidable health issues – if the cats are fed what they are meant to eat!

The BEST diet for your cat is a homemade/raw diet but beware – Yes – that does require time and understanding of just what and how much to feed your cats.  What you need to know is beyond the scope of this article but I refer you to:

Raising Cats Naturally by Michelle Bernard
Natural Cat Care by Celeste Yarnall
What Cats Should Eat by Jean Hofve,  DVM

Dr. Hofve has this to say about cats and carbohydrates:

Scientific evidence is increasing that carbohydrates are simply not metabolized well by many cats, if not all…overweight cats are at higher risk for many healthy problems.
  • joint damage
  • diabetes
  • decreased immune function
  • heart disease
  • respiratory disease
  • liver disease
  • pancreatitis
  • digestive disorders
  • skin and coat problems
  • urinary tract disease
  • increased anesthetic risk
  • impaired healing ability
  • cancer

 If you want optimal health NEVER feed dry foods!!!

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