Caring for a cat, or any other animal for that matter, can be a blessing, but it is also a huge responsibility. Since a cat cannot do a lot of things for itself, particularly when confined to your home, there are a lot of things you will need to do on its behalf. This will include providing a bed, grooming, and medical care. Amongst the most important of your feline friend’s needs is providing quality food. Just like humans and other animals, your choice of food will impact the overall health and well-being of your cat. To ensure that you make the best food choices, here are the essential food nutrients your feline friend needs.
One of the most important nutrients for your cat is protein. Proteins supply your cat’s body with essential amino acids, which are the foundation of all organs and tissues. Proteins are also necessary for producing enzymes, antibodies, and hormones. Providing your cat with its protein needs is also crucial for its growth and development, particularly animal proteins, which supply your cat with amino acids not found in plant-based proteins. Cats are carnivores, after all. This means feeding your cat chicken, beef, fish, and eggs.
The main source of energy for cats is fats. Supplying your cat with foods rich in fats will help it maintain cell integrity and absorb vitamins. Fats also help your cat with metabolic regulation. However, you need to be careful with just how much fat your cat eats. Too many fats in your cat’s diet can lead to a loose stool, in which case you will want to resort to this guide to determine how best to deal with your cat’s diarrhea. Again, since cats are carnivores, the best fat source for them is animal fat, as it also supplies them with essential fatty acids, including Omega-3 and Omega-6.
While water is an obvious nutrient, as it helps metabolism and eliminating toxins, you need to be aware that, through evolution, cats have become programmed to obtain most of their water from the food they eat. This means that even if your cat is dehydrated, it may still be discouraged from drinking water, which can lead to a number of serious health issues. For this reason, if you are not feeding your cat raw foods, make sure that you avoid dry food products and instead feed it high moisture wet or canned cat food.
Ensuring your cat gets the nutrients it needs is essential to its health and growth. Providing your cat with its Vitamin A needs means a strong immune system and healthy vision. Providing your cat with its Vitamin B means healthier metabolism of other nutrients, a healthy nervous system, and healthy skin, amongst others. Providing your cat with its Vitamin D needs means stronger bones, nerves, and muscles. While vitamins are very beneficial for your cat, there is such a thing as too much. You will need to pay attention to just how much of each vitamin you feed your cat, as too much can lead to health problems, such as toxicity.
Minerals are involved in almost all of your cat’s physiological reactions, which is what makes them so important. As a result, feeding your cat the necessary minerals means proper nutrient utilization, enzyme formation, and oxygen transportation throughout its body. These minerals include calcium, which is important for the bones, nervous system, and muscles; magnesium, which is important for enzyme function; and chloride, which is important for a proper pH balance.
Although carbohydrates are not generally regarded as nutrients essential to cats, they are nonetheless noteworthy as they play an important role in providing an instant energy source. To ensure the presence of carbohydrates in your cat’s diet, include grains such as wheat or rice. These are the best and safest carbohydrate sources for your cat, as others, such as legumes, may contain antinutritional factors.
As you can see, there are many essential food nutrients your feline friend needs to ensure its health and well-being. These nutrients have varying impacts both internally, such as bone growth, and externally, such as skin health. Just like humans, a lack in one of these nutrients does not just mean losing out on the benefits, but possibly a number of health repercussions. It is up to you to put in the effort on behalf of your cat and ensure the presence of these nutrients in your cat’s diet. By doing so, you can be certain that you are doing your best by your feline friend’s dietary needs.