The Key To Keeping Your Kitty Healthy – Good Nutrition
If you’re like most cat owners, you probably take the easy way out and use one of those cat food feeders so your cat can have a nibble of dry food whenever she wants. I did it for years, and with many different cats.
But things will be different for my next cat, and here’s why…
Like many humans, a lot of cats are becoming victims of chronic diseases like diabetes, kidney failure, arthritis, and cancer. Feline obesity is a major problem. We’ve all seen pictures of really fat cats. Some people think they’re funny, but I cringe when I see them because I know the future is not bright for these poor kitties.
I used to feed my cat what I thought was a good-quality food that was supposed to be formulated for inside cats. And I fed it free-choice in one of those cat food feeders. So I couldn’t understand why my kitty was getting heavy. After all, I was doing what the cat food manufacturers recommended, right? Well, it turns out that the cat food companies aren’t exactly the best source of information. And in light of all the recent pet food scares and recalls, this really shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Cats Don’t Need Carbs
Dry cat food is mostly carbohydrates, in the form of corn or wheat. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they aren’t set up to digest carbs. They need meat protein. Feeding a cat lots of carbs leads to feline obesity. And a fat cat is more prone to many, many health problems, including feline diabetes, which is epidemic in this country.
Cats used to spend most of their time outside. They lived on mice and other critters they would catch and eat. The reason cats don’t seem to drink much water is that they are meant to get most of their water from their diet. Dry food obviously doesn’t have a lot of moisture in it. Cats who eat dry food and don’t drink enough water are in a constant state of dehydration, which can lead to urinary tract infections and kidney problems.
Commercial pet food does not always provide the nutrients that your cats needs to be healthy. Many popular pet foods are made with meat by-products that aren’t fit for human consumption. Did you know that dry cat food is sprayed with a flavor enhancer made from rendered meat to make it more attractive to cats? I used to live in a rural area where dead cows and pigs were picked up by the rendering company’s truck, usually days after they died. If you got behind one of these trucks on the road, you didn’t follow too closely, because you didn’t want what was leaking out splashing onto your car!
Commercial pet food also contains things like chemical additives and preservatives, which are things your kitty definitely doesn’t need. One of these preservatives is propylene glycol, which is used to keep moist pet food fresh. This ingredient can cause anemia and bloating.
The Key To Keeping Your Cat Healthy Is…
Feed her a more natural, healthy diet. If you can’t make your own, do the following when buying commercial food:
- Read the ingredient list! The first five ingredients listed make up the bulk of the food. The first ingredient listed should be an animal-based protein.
- Avoid foods that list animal by-products or food fractions like wheat middlings or corn gluten. These last two items are leftovers from human food processing, and they don’t provide the best nutrition for your cat.
- Don’t buy foods or treats that contain artificial coloring agents like Red 40 or Yellow 2. Just about all pet treats use colorants made from petrochemicals. These colorants make the treats more attractive to humans, but they are potential carcinogens for your kitty.
- Don’t fall for claims of “natural” or “wholesome.” There is no effective regulation of pet food health claims. Any company can claim their food is “natural,” even if it’s made from questionable ingredients and contains artificial flavorings, like phosphoric acid, and colorings like Red 40.
- Look for natural preservatives like vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin E, and mixed tocopherols. If the food contains ethoxyquin, BHA, BHT, and propylene glycol, pass it up.
- Be sure the food contains essential fatty acids (EFAs). EFAs are essential in preventing allergies, arthritis, and cancer.
- Avoid buying pet food at big-box stores, grocery stores, and most pet stores. Natural food stores and online pet stores are the best places to buy good quality cat food.
Learn more about what’s in your cat’s food by reading Pet Food Ingredients Revealed, a special report from NewsTarget.com.
Some of the information in this article is courtesy of Veterinary Secrets Revealed.
Update: Should you be concerned that there could be a repeat of last year’s contaminated pet food fiasco? The answer is yes! Read this story in the San Francisco Chronicle, Another pet-food recall could happen, and be prepared to get mad.
Another update: There is a great article on Itchmo, Remembering The Recall: A Reading List. This list of books on cat health and nutrition was put together by Candace Schilling, who lost her beloved cat, Kisses, last year to contaminated pet food. Ms. Schilling has done all cat owners a service by putting together this list of resources. And she raises some scary questions about the safety of the human food supply too. This is something we ALL need to be concerned about!