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  • Writer's pictureOxford Cat Clinic

The cat that got the cream?

Cats have enchanted us for thousands of years and have gradually moved themselves into our homes and lives. They are very special creatures, often adored for the wildness, elegance and grace they bring into our lives. We all love to play with our cats and know how they love to hunt. This is an important skill and built-in survival instinct because cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they are unable survive with a diet that is meat-free. However, cats in the wild would also eat the organs and bones as well as the meat, and this is important to remember as a meat-only diet can lead to deficiency in vitamins and minerals.

Feeding a complete diet is essential for your cat’s good health. Many animals and humans are able to gain these nutrients from plant-based sources however, cats don’t process these in the same way and are therefore unable to sustain their requirements from plant only diets. Cats have developed to use protein and fat as their main source of energy and this means animal-based sources are required to sustain sufficient quantities of amino acids and essential fatty acids, vital for normal, healthy bodily functions.

A high carbohydrate diet can lead to weight gain and consequently obesity.

For these reasons, cats have developed with a reduced ability to digest and utilise carbohydrates, so a high carbohydrate diet can lead to weight gain and consequently obesity, which holds its own health risks including a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease or arthritis.

Giving normal milk to your cat could result in diarrhoea.

Another common area for confusion is cats love of milk. To digest the lactose (a carbohydrate) found in milk we require an enzyme called lactase which is only found in low levels within the digestive system.

This means giving normal milk to your cat could result in diarrhoea. We suggest a diet including;

  • High quality animal protein- for amino acids and energy

  • Low carbohydrate- to reduce weight gain and digestion problems

  • Moderate fat content- for essential fatty acids and energy

  • Feeding multiple small meals per day at body temperature

Make feeding interactive- toys and feeders can help simulate hunting activities

Watch out for complimentary foods- these will require you to provide another source of nutrition to ensure the diet is balanced.

Our recommendations for a balanced feline diet aim to guide you to choosing healthy and tasty options for your furry family members, so please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any concerns or questions. Alternatively, book in with our nurses for a free six-month health check or nutritional clinic to have a chat about what is right for your cat.

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