If you want to keep your cat healthy then you know that good food is very important.
But what makes a healthy cat food? What kind of food is best for your cat? And what do you need to know about storing it?
Here’s what you need to know.
What is cat food made of?
In general, cat food made of water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Cats are meat eaters. They require two to three times the protein that omnivores, such as dogs or humans, do. Proteins are the basic building blocks for cells, tissues, and organs. They can be either animal-based (chicken, lamb, turkey, and fish) or plant-based (soy, vegetables, and cereals).
As strict carnivores, cats eat nutrients found in animals to meet their nutritional needs. That food contains high protein, moderate fat, and minimum carbohydrates. Cats’ bodies are adapted for metabolizing animal protein and fats. And animal-based proteins also contain complete amino acids — taurine, arginine, cysteine, and methionine. These are essential for cats, whose bodies don’t make them in the required amount.
Cats can not use efficiently the energy provided from carbohydrates. Their bodies need a steady release of glucose from protein.
Fat helps cats absorb fat-soluble vitamins and provide essential fatty acids – omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids.
Here is the list of most dangerous food never to feed your cats with.
You are really lucky if your pet has been drinking cow’s milk and had never had any problems.
Most cats are lactose- intolerant. They can not produce the enzyme lactose and can not break down the lactose in diary products.
Opposite to the popular opinion milk doesn’t sit well with cats, in spite of all the images we see of cats lapping up bowls of milk.
If you observe symptoms of diarrhea or dehydration, it is possible that your cat is lactose-intolerant. You should consider purchasing lactose-free brands of milk specially formulated for your cat.
A little tuna is okay. However, if your cat has become a tuna addict, the consequences could be terribly unpleasant. Tuna contains extremely high levels of methyl mercury, especially the red tuna used in canned cat food. For a cat, too much tuna can lead to mercury poisoning.
And that’s not all – tuna canned in oil may also cause an illness called steatitis, or yellow fat disease, which involves inflammation of the fatty tissue in cats and is most often found in kittens. The oil in which the tuna is packed does not have the correct balance of antioxidants to polyunsaturated fats which leaves her susceptible to steatis. The symptoms of steatis include:
pain in the chest and abdominal region
hard, painful lumps
If you notice these symptoms, take your cat to the veterinarian for appropriate treatment. Never leave open containers of tuna on a countertop or in a place that is accessible to your cat.
Both raw and cooked onions contain N-propyl disulphide, a compound that, while harmless to humans, can destroy the red blood cells in cats, dogs, horses, sheep and cattle. The resulting condition is called Heinz body hemolytic anemia.
In a cat or other animal, red blood cells contain hemoglobin, which acts as a transporter for oxygen to the rest of the body. The amount of onion that can cause damage is dependent upon the size of the animal, but a small amount can damage these cells so badly that the body, receiving a decreased amount of oxygen, fails to function properly. Symptoms of anemia include:
vomiting and/or diarrhea
rapid heart and respiratory rate
blood in urine
pale mucous membranes
If you notice these symptoms, take your cat to the veterinarian.
In small amounts, liver is good for a cat, but too much of it can cause nutritional problems. Liver has a high amount of vitamin A. Consumption of this vitamin in large amounts can lead to vitamin A toxicity, which affects bones. Therefore, NEVER feed your cat any liver, raw or otherwise, if she is also on vitamin A supplements.
Symptoms of vitamin A toxicity include:
excessive bone growth on the elbows and spine
If your cat is exhibiting any of these signs, rush her to the veterinarian. If left unchecked, death can result from vitamin A toxicity.
There is an enzyme in raw fish called thiaminase that destroys thiamin, or vitamin B1.
Thiamin is essential to a cat’s well-being; the lack of it can lead to neurological disorders.
Symptoms of thiamin deficiency are mostly neurological. These include:
loss of weight and appetite
wobbly or uncoordinated movements
If left untreated, thiamin deficiency can lead to convulsions and coma. This is an urgent situation;
if you notice these symptoms in your cat, take her to the veterinarian .
While cooked eggs are high in protein and make an excellent treat, raw egg whites contain a protein called avidin,
which can deplete your cat of biotin, one of the B vitamins.
Symptoms of biotin-depletion include:
If your cat is showing these symptoms, the situation is critical, and she should be taken to the veterinarian.
While dog food contains many of the same ingredients as cat food, never assume
that it is good enough. Only cat food is specially formulated to meet a cat’s nutritional needs.
Cats require more protein in their diet than dogs do, as well as more B vitamins, niacin, vitamin A and fatty acids.
Cats also require an amino acid called taurine, an essential part of their dietary makeup, as they cannot produce
this substance themselves.
Small bones can splinter when a cat chews them, poultry bones being the worst culprits.
These splinters can cut the inside of your cat’s mouth and throat, or get stuck on the way down and choke her.
Additionally, bones can cause obstructions or lacerations of the digestive system. Signs your cat may be choking include:
pale or blue gums
labored, loud breathing
pawing at face
loss of consciousness
Choking on a bone is a life-threatening situation. Try to remove the obstruction,
if you know how and it is safe to do so, and rush your cat to a veterinarian.
Seal off your garbage cans to ensure your cat doesn’t scavenge through the refuse for bony leftovers.
Theobromine, a substance present in chocolate and cocoa, is poisonous to animals.
It diminishes the blood flow to the brain and can cause heart attacks and a variety of other life-threatening problems.
An important rule to remember is that the darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains.
If you know your cat has eaten chocolate, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Fortunately, most cats are not so attached to chocolate that they will eat it in large quantities.
Many cats, however, will eat enough if curious, bored, or encouraged to do so because their well-meaning owners,
especially the younger members of the family, believe that they are giving their pet a treat. It is best to keep
chocolate out of the reach of children and their pets.