How much meat should my cat eat to stay healthy?
It’s easy to forget that our domesticated furry friends are actually natural born hunters with a thirst for meat. Feline nutrition is a difficult science because cats are obligate carnivores with very specific nutritional needs that can only be met through the consumption of meat. In fact, your carnivorous kitty has a considerably higher protein requirement than most other mammals including fellow household pet, the dog.
Meat provides our cats with many vital nutrients including arachidonic acid, vitamin A and vitamin B12, which cannot be sufficiently obtained from a plant-based diet alone. Another important nutrient which we often see featured on cat food packaging is Taurine. This magical amino acid can only be found in animal based protein and is essential for your cat’s overall health. Taurine aids digestion, muscle function, vison, the heart, and healthy teeth as well as helping to maintain a strong immune system. For these purposes manufacturers need to enrich their products with taurine to class it as a complete cat food.
The reason why a high meat and low carbohydrate diet is the best for your cat is because they cannot produce their own taurine, unlike dogs, and therefore must obtain it through their food. A lot of foods on the market contain too much carbohydrate which although can be tasty, is not necessarily nutritious. These types of cereals found in cat food are cheap to manufacture and have even been linked to illnesses such as diabetes. Cats who feast on higher protein foods are also less likely to get fat!
Occasionally, if a cat is not getting enough meat in their diet they will supplement it themselves by catching and eating small prey such as birds or mice. However, it’s important to remember that even the cat with the healthiest of diets may go out and catch prey just for fun due to their natural hunter instincts.
As cat owners, it can be hard finding a dry cat food that contains sufficient levels of quality protein. Many brands will only use the minimum required amount of meat derivatives, which is why it’s best to always check the ingredients. But don’t worry, AATU for cats natural and complete dry foods are made up of 85% meat and available in delicious flavours- much closer to a cat’s natural diet to keep your pet feline-good!