A recent case in which a kitten was hospitalized for dietary reasons has brought the issue of a proper diet for our pets into the spotlight. In this specific case, the kitten’s owner was administering a vegan diet, leading to a near death experience for the feline. Vegan diets typically exclude any form of meat or animal by-products. While this may work for humans, animals demand a high intake of protein for optimal health and bodily functioning.
For felines, the consumption of meat is essential. Cats are by definition carnivores, and survive primarily from the consumption of meat both in the wild, and in the food we provide for their domesticated counterparts. The proteins found in plants do not contain the amino acid profile that is so critical for a feline’s health. Unlike humans who can physiologically alter the amino acid profile of plant protein during digestion, cats must receive the protein direct from the source upon consumption.
Felines are also not equipped to properly process carbohydrates. A cat’s body does not produce the enzymes necessary for breaking down and digesting carbs. In the wild, the only carbohydrates a cat consumes are those already digested by their prey.
For these biological reasons, it is important to ensure your kitty is being fed a protein-rich approved diet. Humans and our furry friends are alike in some regards, but vastly different when it comes to physical processes. While we may choose to consume vegetarian or vegan diets, we must understand our companions do not work in the same manner.
Prescription foods are perhaps the best choice when it comes to feeding your feline, as they contain the proper protein profiles when compared to lesser quality pet foods, containing fillers and other ingredients that your cat cannot process properly. In the end, it’s extremely important to always provide them with high quality feline food to ensure a long, healthy life.
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