Cats are “obligate carnivores,” which means they need to eat animal protein to obtain all the amino acids they need in their diet. Plant-based proteins do not contain the full complement of the critical amino acids required by an obligate carnivore. The vital amino acid cats can’t get from any source other than animal protein is taurine. Taurine is critical for a cat’s normal heart, eye, and reproductive function.
Fats are a good energy source for cats. In the wild, cats consume about one-third of their calories as fat. Fats not only taste good, but they also help cats get the fatty acids they need and aid in absorbing fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, and E. The problem is that some cats enjoy the taste of fat too much, therefore be careful. Obese cats can suffer many of the health problems people face, including diabetes and arthritis.
Just as with people, clean water is vital for healthy cat nutrition. Cats inherently have a low thirst drive and need to consume water with their food. You should always have multiple sources of fresh, clean water available for your cat to access.
If you can’t feel your cat’s ribs without pressing, or if they don’t have a visible waist, chances are good that your cat may be overweight. Remember to speak with your vet first if you think a diet or exercise plan is needed. Fortunately, cats love exercise. Because cats are geared toward short bursts of intense activity, it is easy to get out a feathered toy or string and play for five or 10 minutes a day. Playtime with your cat also allows for good bonding attention.
Just as with humans, it is important to feed your cat a diet that consists of high quality balanced premium food that is appropriate for the life stage and health status of your cat.