The Carnivore Companion Feeding Cats
Dogs and cats, being carnivores by nature, are meant to eat raw meat and do not have a problem doing so. Dr. Richard Pitcairn-our premier Veterinary Homeopathic Instructor and founder of Animal Natural Health Center http://www.drpitcairn.com/
DID YOU KNOW
Diet for Puppies and Kittens
Many folks ask me what they should feed their new puppy or kitten. Answer: Raw, raw, raw. Puppies and kittens are growing at an exponential rate and need all the highest quality nutrients possible for their bodies to develop properly. The raw diet is critical to offer their bodies and minds the appropriate building blocks to lay down a strong foundation at this juncture in their life.
The amount to feed is still based on their body weight, but because they are puppies & kittens and growing rapidly, typically they are fed 1.5 to 2 times the amount needed to feed an adult dog or cat. The raw diets I offer are formulated for all stages of the life of a dog or cat; there is no differentiation. They just need species appropriate nutrients that will help them thrive and have the best quality of life a human can offer to them. Feral kitten eating cottontail rabbit
Cats are obligate carnivores; they need meat, organs, viscera, bones and connective tissue of prey species. All cats are evolved from a desert animal that did not drink much water. They need to obtain water from their food. Raw food is best. Organic grass fed; naturally raised prey animals as source meat are best. Grass or green fed meats have increased omega 3 and is also higher in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), it is higher in vitamin E and several B vitamins and the minerals calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Eggs from pastured chickens have higher levels of vitamins A and D with less cholesterol than eggs from factory farmed chickens. Generally green fed livestock are raised in a more humane way. Livestock on grass do not share the toxic infections of E. coli that the intensively raised corn fed in feedlot livestock do. They are fed natural diets and not grain which they were never meant to consume. Just like our companion carnivores, grain isn’t for any of them!
The benefits of the green fed or grass-fed animals used to produce animal meat and products to feed the comparative carnivore as well as the more humane methods of production make this the source you want to locate for feeding your carnivore companion.
Cats need a higher level of protein and good quality sources of protein. They require higher levels of nitrogen (Rogers and Morris, 1982). Cats have a decreased ability to regulate key enzymes involved in protein metabolism in response to dietary protein, therefore elevated loss of nitrogen and therefore higher levels of protein are needed in turn.
The carnivore needs amino acids, the come from the protein also. A requirement of feline obligate carnivores is for 10 alpha amino acids plus Taurine, a sulphur amino acid. Cats are obligate for dietary Taurine which comes from meat. 400-500 mg/kg daily for maintenance or reproduction is the amount of Taurine necessary in the diet. Cats also require a dietary source of arachidonic and linoleate acids, 5 and 0.2 Kg/day (NRC, 1986).
A new publication has come out with the latest daily nutrients over time for feeding dogs and cats can be found at http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10668&page=R1 The book is updating recommendations last made by the National Research Council in the mid-1980s, this report provides nutrient recommendations based on physical activity and stage in life, major factors that influence nutrient needs. It looks at how nutrients are metabolized in the bodies of dogs and cats, indications of nutrient deficiency, and diseases related to poor nutrition. The report provides a valuable resource for industry professionals formulating diets, scientists setting research agendas, government officials developing regulations for pet food labeling, and as a university textbook for dog and cat nutrition. It can also guide pet owners feeding decisions for their pets with information on specific nutrient needs, characteristics of different types of pet foods, and factors to consider when feeding cats and dogs. The problem with this reference is that the book with shipping is over $300. Also, I personally cannot vouch for the content of the book not knowing if the sources are conflicted resources or not.
It is best to know that a balance of nutrition happens over time and not in any certain day’s meal. Also there has been work on the front to support fasting and limiting caloric intake in order to increase longectivity. This would be in keeping with the truth for carnivores, that not every kill was a success, not every day was there plentiful food resources.
Cats lack the ability to utilize dietary or even intravenous sources of Beta carotene (previt A) so cats require preformed Vit A in their diets (NRC, 1986). Diets for felids are supplemented with a minimum of 40 mg niacin/kg diet as well (NRC, 1986).
The most important nutrient necessary for obligate carnivores and specifically for the cat is water. Drinking a healthy amount of water is vital to a cat’s health. Two thirds of the cat’s body weight is water and water serves as a center of all chemical processes in the body.
Reference: Case, LP. Nutrition: feeding cats for health and longectivity. In; The Cat: Its behavior, Nutrition and Health. Iowa State Press, Ames IA 2003; 289-327.
Water is involved with most physiological functions; it transports nutrients and oxygen through the blood stream and into cells, humidifies the air in the lungs, regulates body temperature, protects and moisturizes the joints, internal organs, helps to eliminate wastes products of metabolism through the kidneys and the gastrointestinal tract.
Cats not having enough water are one of the major reasons struvite crystals form and urinary blockages make LUTD or lower urinary tract disease a common companion kitty problem.
Feeding plenty of fresh real foods in their raw state will provide cats with the important water nutrient that will keep them properly hydrated and out of LUTD and other dehydration issues.
Cats over dogs require high quality feeds. They have a short gastrointestinal tract (NRC, 1986) a rapid rate of digesta passage, so decreased digestibility for most feedstuffs. (Kendall et al, 1983).
You can’t just feed your carnivore skeletal or muscle meat due to the nutrient imbalance it would result in (Ullrey and Bernard, 1989). Unsupplemented muscle meat feeding is a deficient diet for your carnivore. (Allen et al, 1994). Loaves of supplemented skeletal muscle can be made nutritionally suffice foods for cats.