Cats nutritional needs can vary tremendously in the various stages of your pets life.
They will have growth needs when they are kittens, maintenance needs for strength in the mid years, and then holding need as they become older.
Their needs will also vary depending on their actively levels.
If they are working cats, they will need a lot more calories than a cat that lies around most of the day.
There will always be a controversy about commercial foods for cats as compared to homemade diets.
Whatever your choice is, it is very important to keep a balance of exactly what your cat does need.
All cats nutritional needs start with water and it is the most important nutrient for your cat, whatever their age.
Your cat can lose all of its fat and over half of all of their protein, and still survive. However, if they lose only 10% of their body water in can cause several types of very serious illnesses.
While wild cats like Lions can go literally for months without water and survive on the moisture in their prey, but your cat is not a lion, no matter how fierce they think they are.
There are two critical components of the correct amounts of water for your cat; the correct ratio and the quality.
It is extremely important to regulate the amount of water your cat gets, but also important that your cat has fresh water all of the time.
The basic rule of thumb for how much water your cat requires is really very simple.
Your cat should consume 2.5 times the amount of water in ratio to the amount of food that they eat.
If they consume one pound of dry cat food, they will need 2.5 pounds of water.
If they consume two pounds, they will need 5 pounds of water. There are eight pounds of water in a gallon.
If it is very hot or your cat is lactating, the water should be increased to 3 times.
If your cat eats canned foods or a homemade diet that is moist, they may require slightly less, but not much.
If you error with their water; error on giving too much as it will not cause any harm; but too little can be catastrophic.
Not all water is created equal, and for the safety of your cat, if you live in an area where you do not drink the water and use bottled water, your cat needs bottled water as well.
To prevent bacteria from forming, stainless steel bowls are the easiest ways to keep water clean and bacteria safe.
Stoneware crock style dishes are also very safe in supply this form of your cats nutritional needs.
Cats nutritional needs will also vary by your cats age and their body condition. With any age of cat, the most important factor is consistency to ensure the correct nutrients.
Underweight cats should be fed 1- 1/2 times the recommended amounts and for nutritional purposes should be slightly higher in protein and fat.
With lean cats, especially very active male cats, it will be very beneficial to increase the calorie intake by about thirty percent until they reach the correct weight recommends by your veterinarian.
Chubby cats need to have their exercise routine increased, and if that does not work, reduce their calorie intake by 25 percent.
Fat or obese cats should be taken off of all treats except for medical treats such as hairball medication.
They should also be placed on a low fat and a high fiber diet. Obesity can very easily cut your cats life short and this is a condition that should be taken very seriously.
Next to water, Vitamin A is the next of your cats nutritional needs. Your cat lacks the enzyme that is needed to convert beta carotene to retinol, which is the active form of Vitamin A.
As a result, they must have the preformed version of Vitamin A.
Your cat’s natural source of this vitamin comes from liver, kidney, and other organ meats.
If this vitamin requirement is not met, it can cause night blindness, retarded growth, weight loss, and damages to cell membranes.
This damage will naturally reduce your cat’s ability to fight infections.
The next essential in your cats nutritional needs is Vitamin E, as it helps to your pet’s circulatory system to function properly, as well as prompting fertility in both males and females.
It also helps to oxygenate your cat’s blood.
However, it biggest role is helping in the prevention of yellow fat disease.
If you feed your cat a homemade diet that is predominately fish, it is very low in Vitamin E and as a result your cat cannot metabolize fat properly.
Niacin is also a critical nutrient for your cat as they cannot synthesize this vitamin from the amino acid tryptophan, making it another of your cat’s nutritional needs.
It is essential to your cat to keep enzymes functioning properly, and this nutrient is found in adequate levels in meats and meat by products, but it is almost nonexistent in vegetables and grains.
A deficiency of this nutrient causes black tongue in cats.
Taurine is another extremely important nutrient requirement for your cat. This is found in meat muscles, and fish and shellfish are very good sources.
It is an amino acid that is essential for proper bile formation, as well as the overall health of your cat’s eyes and reproduction capabilities.
If this nutrient is deficient, it can cause retinal degeneration, reproductive failure, as well as abnormal kitten development, making it an essential part of your cats nutritional needs.
There are also two very essential fatty acids that your cat requires: Arginine and Arachidonic acid.
Most animals manufacture other amino acids from arginine and this process helps to bind protein.
If they are deficient in this fatty acid, their protein cannot bind properly and can cause very high levels of ammonia in your cat from this lack of binding.
High levels of ammonia can cause ataxia and it can be so serious it could cause a very sudden death in your cat.
Arachidonic acid is manufactured naturally in dogs, but not in cat.
This critical amino acid is necessary to produce an inflammatory response in your cat’s immune system which is critical in fighting invading antigen.
Both of these acids should easily be found in the fatty portions of meat in your cat’s diet. If your cat’s diet is homemade and not heavily meat based, they will have to be supplemented.
Cats nutritional needs are very special and they must have adequate water, protein, as well as several essential vitamins and other nutrients to survive.
However, the nutritional needs of your cat should be balanced very carefully with their age and their body condition.
If all these are modulated properly, your cat can live a very healthy and long life.