Busting meow myths: Understanding cat nutrition

In the world of pets, cats often stand out with their unique personalities and independent nature. Ensuring the right nutrition for their health and well-being can be a challenging task, especially with the abundance of information available. Let’s bust a few common myths surrounding cat nutrition to ensure you provide optimal care for your feline friend.

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Cats can adapt to a vegetarian diet

Cats are obligate carnivores, so when kept on a vegetarian diet, they run a high risk of protein deficiency, leading to severe weight loss, muscle wasting, blindness, and general weakness. Protein deficiency in cats is more serious as compared to dogs because cats convert protein into energy. Taurine, an essential amino acid found exclusively in meat-based products is absent in plant-based diets. Taurine plays a critical role for maintaining a healthy heart and vision. Hence, a vegetarian or vegan diet is not suitable for cats and can lead to severe deficiencies.

Cats should drink milk

“Cats and milk are a match made in heaven.” Contrary to this popular belief, adult cats are actually lactose intolerant, as they lack the enzyme lactase, which is necessary to break down lactose, a sugar found in milk. When cats consume cow’s milk, it can cause stomach related issues like diarrhea, gas, stomach cramps, and vomiting. Kittens can digest their mother’s milk, but as they grow, their ability to digest lactose decreases. A few cats may tolerate milk, but it’s still not a necessary or recommended part of their diet.

Instead, make sure your feline friend is getting all the necessary nutrients from their regular food and plenty of fresh water.

Cats naturally know how much to eat

Many pet parents hope that their cats will know “how much they need to eat.” However, domesticated cats do not always make the healthiest choices. In most cases, cats eat more than they need and prefer foods high in fat and carbohydrates; excess energy leads to obesity. In addition, many cats will eat in excess because of boredom, as pet parents do not provide them with sufficient environmental enrichment activities. It’s important that you provide a balanced diet that meets all their nutritional requirements.

Homemade diets are safer than commercial cat food

Homemade cat meals may seem healthier, but they often lack the precise nutritional balance. Commercial cat foods, such as “Drools DN Cat Adult,” are formulated to meet specific dietary standards and contain all the essential nutrients in the right proportions. Human food often contains harmful seasonings and processed ingredients. Feeding cats these foods is harmful due to their potential toxicity (e.g., onions, garlic, raisins, chocolate), high fat and calorie content, and improper diets can lead to deficiencies or excesses of nutrients, posing health risks.

Cats don’t need much water

Cats have a naturally low thirst drive, which means they may not drink water often. This can lead to unnoticed dehydration that can cause bladder issues and urinary diseases, including kidney disease and feline lower urinary tract disease.

Bladder stones can potentially cause life-threatening urethral blockages, especially in male cats. To ensure proper hydration and prevent these conditions, it is essential to provide wet food such as “Drools Cat wet food gravy” and maintain a constant availability of fresh water. You can also consider getting a water fountain for your pet!

Cats can safely consume dog food

Cats have unique dietary requirements. Unlike dogs, cats need specific essential amino acids like taurine and arginine that are not synthesized in their bodies. They also require higher levels of protein. Additionally, arachidonic acid, an essential fatty acid, and preformed vitamin A are other nutrients which dogs can produce but cats cannot.

Hence, feeding your cat dog food can lead to nutritional deficiencies and excessive calorie intake, posing long-term risks to their health. Understanding your feline friend’s true dietary needs and requirements can help you provide better care for her. By staying informed and cautious of popular misconceptions, you can ensure your pet leads a healthy and happy life.

(Dr. Shravani Mothkur – Veterinary Product Executive, Drools Pet Food Pvt. Ltd)

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