Have you ever looked at your kitty and marveled at his resemblance to the magnificent wild LION [being cat people we probably think our kitties are better than mere lions..but that’s a post for another day]? Actually the only difference between the lion and your furry bff is sizing. The domesticated cat has all the same physical traits as the wild lion, but just on a smaller scale. You could say you have a miniature lion rather than a cat.
The similarities also extends to physiology and internal biology and this is why there is more awareness towards feeding an ancestral diet. An ancestral diet is a raw meat diet, which mimics how a cat would eat in the wild. You probably have heard the term “obligate carnivore”, but what does this mean? Simply put, your cat would not survive without meat. Commercial cat foods have meat derivatives in them and yes, this does cover the survival of your cat, but do you want your cat to merely survive? What if you could get your cat to thrive and live a life filled with magic and joy [OK, I shall settle for countless catnaps and playtime with a wand chaser]? On a more serious note, what if you could prevent nutrition-related illness such as kidney disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, liver disease, skin conditions, allergies, bladder infections, urinary tract infections, do I actually need to continue? Well, you actually can prevent these diseases in healthy cats and, in some cases you can assist in managing the symptoms or even reversing the illness. This can be accomplished through feeding a species appropriate diet. This type of diet is the difference between surviving and thriving and it is about time that pet parents take the responsibility of their pets’ health into their own hands as good health starts with good nutrition.
So, what is the basis of this diet that makes it better than commercial foods? Well to answer that, we need to know what type of nutrients are required for a cat to thrive and then we can look at which diet is best suited.
Cats require the following nutrients in their staple diet: [Future posts will delve deeper into each category]
- Protein – this should be 80% or higher
- Water – this should be around 70%
- Essential amino acids
- Omega 3
- Specific micro-nutrients
- Specific meat derived vitamins and minerals
Now that you know what your cat requires nutritionally, why not look at the back of your commercial dry food bag. The ingredient statement would probably read something like this: “Maize, poultry meat meal, animal fat, gluten meal, fish oil, animal digest, rice, minerals”. Do these ingredients look like they satisfy your cats’ nutritional needs?
Have you already noticed the glaring difference between a cats’ nutritional requirements and what we are actually feeding this majestic animal? Why are we feeding a carnivore carbohydrates when they clearly have no need for it?
Take into account the required nutritional amount of protein and how the commercial dry food satisfies this quantity. To keep costs low and margins high, pet food companies pile on the corn while adding low quality protein in the form of by-products and meat meals. If cats don’t get the required amount of protein then they start showing symptoms of an unhealthy diet. Now look at the need for water; cats need about 70% water on a daily basis and they will not get this from drinking out of a bowl. Meat diets are high in water content as this water is derived from the meat source. A dry food diet is severely dehydrated as it is a heavily processed food that needs to be low in moisture to reduce bacterial growth. A cat that does not have an optimum water intake will succumb to UTIs, bladder infections, kidney disease and crystal formations.
Note that commercial dry foods were only readily available for the last 100 years and cats have been around far longer than that. I wonder what cats were consuming before dry food was available?
Researchers have identified that the mouse is the perfect meal for a cat as it contains all the necessary nutritional requirements. However, I personally will shudder at the thought of my babies killing an innocent mouse [guess Tom & Jerry wasn’t so far off] so I resort to providing the correctly balanced raw meal for them.
My aim is to arm you, the pet parent, with the knowledge to make the best choices for your cat as you owe it to him to be his champion. I implore all pet parents to not fall prey to clever and fancy marketing gimmicks but to rather actively research about your pets’ health and nutrition so you can then make the informed choice for your precious lion or lioness.
Let’s get our miniature lions, roaring!