Water is the most important element in a cat’s diet. Just like humans and dogs, a cat’s body is made up of approximately 80% water. Cats have a very low thirst drive, so they need to consume plenty of water to stay hydrated. Water is essential for digestion, bodily functions, circulation, and flushing out waste. A dehydrated cat runs the risk of developing kidney and heart problems, urinary tract infections, or even dying.
Wild cats get most of their water from the prey they hunt, whereas domesticated cats need to find water in other places.
Wild cats get most of their water from the prey they hunt, whereas domesticated cats need to find water in other places. Canned cat food contains about 75% water, which is similar to what a cat would get from its prey. Many veterinarians suggest feeding cats a diet of mainly wet food, as dry food does not contain adequate water for a healthy diet. Dry food contains only about 7-10% water, and so it is not recommended to use only dry food as the main diet.
In addition, cat owners should ensure that there is a constant supply of fresh, clean water available every day. Tap water is fine for cats, although it may need to be filtered if it contains chemicals or heavy metals. Moreover, it is a good idea to clean a cat’s water bowl regularly to avoid dangerous bacteria build-up.
Proteins are absolutely vital for a cat’s cardiovascular health, their reproductive capabilities, and their vision. Unlike dogs or humans, cats cannot derive the essential amino acids they need from plant-based proteins. The must have high-levels of animal-based proteins in their diet to function properly. Taurine is an essential amino acid that can only be found in animal tissues, and is very important for a cat’s diet. Without taurine, a cat could develop heart problems or lose their sense of sight.
Unlike dogs or humans, cats cannot derive the essential amino acids they need from plant-based proteins. The must have high levels of animal based proteins in their diet to function properly.
When choosing and analyzing cat food it is important to look at the ingredient list to ascertain the level of protein in the food. A nutritional, high quality food will list animal-based proteins in the first few ingredients. Some cat food producers supplement animal meats with plant-based proteins like rice, corn, soy, or wheat. These ingredients have little nutritional value for cats, and are simply used because they are cheaper than meat. A good cat food will use chicken, lamb, beef or fish as a main component.
The amount of protein a cat requires depends on the species, age, and overall health of the cat. A healthy adult cat should be getting about 25-30% protein in their diet, while kittens who are growing quickly should have approximately 30-35% protein. In addition, sick or pregnant cats may need extra protein for optimum health.