The Dietary Needs Of Your Cat

cat hungry
Cats should be discouraged from foraging for food in bins or other unhealthy sites.
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There is no such thing as a vegetarian cat; all cats are carnivores, and must have meat to survive. But this doesn’t mean that cats don’t like or need to eat some fruit or vegetable matter. Several wild cat species like to supplement their meat with the occasional fruit or vegetable titbit. Lions and tigers, for example, often go straight for their victim’s stomach after making a kill, devouring the soup of digesting vegetation as a starter, before progressing to the main course of prime fillet and porterhouse.

NUTRITIONAL REQUIREMENTS

Variety is the key principle to observe when feeding a cat. You should accustom your kitten to a wide variety of food from the day that it is weaned. Although pet cats should have a diet that is at least 25 percent protein, they ought to follow the lead of their wild cousins and eat a varied menu that contains a little vegetable matter as well as the staple meat and fish.

Nutrition Table for Cats
Nutrition Table for Cats

Providing fats and carbohydrates in your cat’s diet as sources of energy makes good, sense as, to an extent, an all protein diet of meat or fish is wasted. This is because some of the expensive foodstuff is simply burnt by the cat’s body to provide calories instead of being used to repair cells. Another reason for not feeding an all protein menu is that it can be unhealthy. Overdoing the raw meat content of your pet’s diet can have harmful effects a cat fed on nothing but fish can develop vitamin B1 deficiency, a liver only menu can upset its bowels, and a diet of nothing but prime lean meat produces calcium and vitamin deficiencies. If you provide a varied selection of food that supplies adequate quantities of the essential nutrients shown in the chart, the animal should balance its diet instinctively. If you inherit an old animal that is set in its ways, a little culinary effort may winkle it out of its determination to fast to death unless given a monotonous dietof crayfish or caviar.

When acting as a chef to a recently arrived “faddy” cat, the best way to introduce a new, healthier diet is gradually adding the new foods one by one over several weeks.

GIVING SUPPLEMENTS
If your cat is in good health, and you feed it a broad, varied diet, it shouldn’t need extra vitamin or mineral supplements. If you give it extra vitamins or minerals, these will simply be excreted. However, supplements are sometimes beneficial to sick animals, for example, iron tablets help an anaemic cat to recover. Such treatment should only be given on a vet’s advice Supplements are also useful for pregnant and nursing queens.

HOW LONG CAN LIVE A CAT WITHOUT FOOD?
A cat can survive without food for much longer than humans can, as it can lose as much as 40 percent of its body weight without dying (though a 10 percent loss of the total water in a cat’s body is normally fatal). Cats have been known to survive for weeks without food or water in exceptional circumstances. For example, Chips, a marmalade tom from Liverpool, was inadvertently packed into a crate of machine parts and shipped by sea to Mombassa.
Four weeks later, when the crate was opened in Africa, Chips was still alive, although he was somewhat thinner He was thought to have survived by eating some of the grease coating the machinery and lapping up what little moisture developed from condensation.

 

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