Cat nutrition

What are cats’ nutritional needs?

Nutritional requirements

Protein: since cats are carnivores, it is very important that their diet consists of sufficient protein of animal origin. A good cat food should consist of around 44% protein (of animal origin where possible).

Taurine: cats are not able to synthesise this from other amino acids, so they have to eat foods that contain taurine (meat, fish and shellfish). A lack of taurine can cause irreversible damage to a cat’s heart and eyesight.

Lipids: these are essential in cats’ diets because they are a source of energy and vital nutrients, such as essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) and fat-soluble vitamins. Lipids should make up at least 9% of a cat’s diet.

Carbohydrates: these are not fundamental in a carnivore’s diet, but if cooked well they can be a source of energy. No percentage is indicated in terms of analytical composition, but it can be obtained by simply subtracting all of the other percentages.

Fibre: this is useful for your cat’s intestinal health, but it is important to avoid excess fibre

Minerals: these are essential nutrients for cats and include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chlorine, sulphur, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, iodine and cobalt. These elements tend to be missing in common home-made diets, so food supplements can be used to achieve a complete and balanced diet.

Vitamins: these are also essential for your cat’s health: vitamins A, D, E, K and vitamins from the B group (vitamin C is synthesised directly from glucose). Again, to ensure an optimal vitamin intake, a commercial supplement should be added to home-made diets.

A tip from your vet:

Our advice when using a commercial (store-bought) diet is to use good-quality brands:

1. Which have meat as the main ingredient (the first ingredient listed):

  • preferably in the form of dehydrated meat (not flour, fresh meat is fine but bear in mind it contains a large percentage of water)
  • Bird meat or pork is fine, but not beef
  • Origin of the meat: best if from Europe (where there are regulations governing production).

2. In terms of nutritional make-up, protein should be around 44%, and never less than 30%.

If you opt for a home-made diet, a nutrition specialist from our Veterinary Centre can give you comprehensive advice, and suggest one or more balanced diets that are suitable for your pet.

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