Protein Requirements for Your Cat's Nutrition
Adequate and healthy amounts of protein are critical to ensure that proper nutritional values are met successfully in your cat's diet. The importance of proteins in the diet is due to their chemical construction. Proteins provide the necessary building blocks in nutrition and are composed of amino acids.
Amino acids are essential to all mammalian systems. Normal growth and development is not possible without the presence of the essential amino acids. There are a total of 22 amino acids, 12 can be naturally synthesized by the body, and the other 10 essential amino acids must be consumed. Taurine is an essential amino acid required by cats. Dogs naturally synthesize taurine from other amino acids.
Protein Sources: Quality Proteins
Proteins are not all created equal. Evaluation of the source of protein is necessary to determine the actual quality of the proteins consumed. Protein in cat food is generally available with a percentage of protein. This percentage represents the amount of protein in the food, but this percentage does not represent the amount of protein that is digestible by your cat. One brand of cat food may have a higher overall percentage of protein, but this does not automatically make it better than the brand with a lower overall percentage of protein. Quality pet food contains higher digestibility rates than lower quality pet food. As a rule of thumb, meats typically provide higher quality proteins than grains.
Cat Food Labels: Important Considerations
Ingredients within cat food are listed in descending order by weight. Therefore, the first listed ingredients are the most prominent. Knowing this, it is possible to choose a quality cat food. Exercise caution here, as pet food manufacturers can be wily. It is common for the manufacturers to list corn/wheat products into several other ingredients. It is important to combine all grain ingredients into one percentage for reflection against meat percentages to truly obtain a true understanding of the quality of the product.
Cat Nutrition: Important Considerations
The specific amounts of proteins necessary in your cat's diet will change with age. Specially formulated foods and natural products are made with the goal of aiding your cat to reach their optimum requirements for overall general health. Some considerations to make before choosing a particular diet for your cat:
- Age - The age of your cat/kitten is an essential consideration when choosing foods. Kittens and adult cats have different protein requirements.
- Sex - Female cats have slightly different protein requirements than male cats, especially if the female cat is pregnant or lactating to feed recently born kittens.
- Health - Weak or sick cats require increased amounts of protein in their diets to aid in the healing process.
- Specific Diseases - If your cat has a specific disease, it is possible that they may require more or less protein in their diet.
- Veterinarian - As always, if in doubt, see your veterinarian about your cat's dietary requirements.
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