Natural Cat Nutrition
Any owner always wants the best for his pet. One of the most important parts of caring for animals is feeding them. Good nutrition is the foundation of a cat's life. It must be clearly understood that the Cat is an obligate predator, that is, a predator that feeds exclusively on animal prey. First of all, these are small mammals, birds, some fish. Accordingly, the basis of cat nutrition is proteins (optimally 35-45%), fats (not more than 20%) of animal origin and carbohydrates from vegetables and herbs (15-20%) - the latter is found in the stomachs of rodents (the main prey of wild cats). At first glance, everything seems clear: cats need natural food - birds, mice, lizards ... This is a natural balanced diet to which cats have adapted for thousands of years.
The famous German veterinarian Dr. Christoph once remarked that "the body of a cat is programmed for a mouse." And that's it. A cat receives everything it needs from fresh meat - both a sufficient amount of liquid, and a sufficient amount of proteins, salts, fats, and minerals. The cat does not need carbohydrates, it does not need to be fed either porridge or bread. The cat's liver converts into carbohydrates those elements that enter the body with protein foods. If the animal is on a natural menu with a variety of raw foods, then problems with protein should not arise. Moreover, with natural nutrition comes natural easily digestible protein.
Some cat owners incorrectly believe that the main diet of this little predator is fish and milk. Of course, fish, like meat, is also a protein food, but fish is only an ersatz of meat. The same Dr. Christoph noted that in cats fed only fish, the skeleton was much depleted in calcium compared to those cats fed meat.
In addition, raw meat is a favorite delicacy of animals that have special structural features of the digestive system and oral cavity. These features allow you to digest meat raw.
Basic recommendations for feeding natural food
In order for a natural diet to bring maximum benefit, the following simple recommendations must be observed:
1. Feed depending on needs should be 2-3 times at the same time.
2. Remaining food must be removed after 30 minutes.
3. The cat must always have clean drinking water.
4. Fish and meat products must be pre-frozen, this will prevent infection with helminths and other parasites.
5. You can include raw or sautéed vegetables in your diet. The fiber they contain improves intestinal motility.
6. The diet should contain fermented milk products, which are a source of fats, carbohydrates, complete protein. Cats are given: natural yogurt, kefir, fermented baked milk, cottage cheese, reverse, whey. Milk is given to adult animals only if it does not cause an eating disorder.
Compilation of a diet from natural products for a cat
The natural diet of a cat of any breed is based on the same products, only the amount of food is adjusted depending on the age, size and conditions of the pet. Your cat's diet should include the following foods:
• minced meat or finely chopped meat - mostly lean beef, less often - lamb, rabbit meat or offal;
• sometimes meat can be replaced with fish - only sea fish, freed from bones, entrails and head;
• chopped boiled chicken or turkey (boneless);
• eggs, preferably quail (no more than twice a week);
• cottage cheese (low-fat and not sweet);
• dairy and sour-milk products with a fat content of up to 12%;
• Hercules, buckwheat, rice, legumes, germinated grains;
• vegetables - grated, fresh and boiled;
• vegetable oils;
• greens, specially germinated grass for cats.
The ratio of products in the cat's diet should be as follows:
50% - meat, chicken or fish;
40% - dairy products, eggs, cereals;
10% - vegetables and herbs.
When preparing natural cat food, follow these rules:
• Meat and dairy products are always given separately, in different feedings.
• You can mix meat with herbs and vegetables, but never with milk.
• Meat and fish, except when you are not sure of their quality, are not subjected to heat treatment - this reduces the nutritional value of these products.
• Vegetables are best given raw, after dousing them with boiling water.
• Eggs can be added to the cat's diet no more than twice a week.
• Be sure to regularly add vitamin and mineral supplements to food.
• To any unfamiliar food product, the cat is accustomed gradually, starting with a very small amount.
• Natural food should be thick in consistency and served lukewarm.
A general list for cats of all breeds and sizes of what should never be given to either kittens or adult cats:
• bird bones, as their fragments can cause perforation of the stomach and intestines;
• pork in any form;
• any fatty food: a kitten or an adult cat should not be given any fats, except for a small amount of sunflower oil;
• raw and boiled river fish;
• sugar, cookies and any other confectionery;
• fresh white bread, buns, pancakes, pies, pasta;
• salted, pickled and canned foods;
• fried foods;
• any sausage products;
• leftovers from the owner's table, stale food;
• very liquid food in large quantities.
• It should also be mentioned about another most common mistake. Most owners approach feeding a cat as if it were their own diet. Remember! Cats in nature do not cook for themselves, do not fry, do not salt, do not sugar! Cats should absolutely not be given legumes, salted, smoked, spicy, fried foods. Sharp, spicy spices, onions, garlic, which are contained in our dishes, are dangerous in any quantities. Do not forget that salt is a slow, deadly poison for cats. Sweets, muffins in large quantities contain starch, carbohydrates that cause fermentation in the intestines. Their digestive tract is not designed to process cooked foods.
This can lead to the development of many chronic diseases in the future. Eating forbidden "goodies" from the master's table can lead to obesity, disruption of metabolic processes, malfunctions of the endocrine, urinary, cardiovascular systems, and cause physiological changes in the body. If you want to pamper your pet with something tasty, treat him with cat treats purchased at a veterinary pharmacy or pet store.
But remember: cats really do not like changes in their usual diet, so by switching to proper nutrition, try to maintain this positive trend.
Advantages and disadvantages of natural feeding
Cats have their own taste preferences and physiological characteristics. Industrial diets are designed for average indicators, so cats very often refuse them. The way out of this situation is natural feeding. It allows you to fully meet the needs of the animal in vitamins and minerals, taking into account taste preferences.
The main advantage of natural cat feeding is the ability to select ingredients that fully meet the needs of the cat. In addition, in such a menu, artificial and chemical components are completely absent. The only disadvantage of a natural diet is the complexity of cooking. But this is a dubious negative factor, because. basically, at a time, at least a monthly volume of food is harvested.
Sample diets for adult cats
When choosing a natural diet, the first thing you should pay attention to is the physical and psychological state of the animal. For example, there are a number of considerations when feeding an aging or pregnant cat. In the first case, the need for minerals and vitamins increases sharply, in the second case, the aging body does not cope well with digestion, so food should be easily digestible. The following are sample diets for healthy, adult animals.
Features of feeding a pregnant cat
A pregnant cat needs an increased amount of calories and nutrients. In the first 2 weeks, her physiological needs remain at the same level. Starting from the third, the need for proteins, vitamins and microelements sharply increases, so the amount of feed is increased by 1.5-2 times. In this case, the diet must be designed in such a way that the animal does not overeat. Toward the end of pregnancy, the daily diet begins to be divided into 5-6 parts.
A lactating cat eats 3 or even 4 times more than usual. With errors in nutrition or with problems with the digestive system, the animal begins to use the reserves of its own body. This condition quickly leads to severe exhaustion. To prevent this, more easily digestible feeds are introduced into the diet: fatty cottage cheese, chicken meat, fatty fish. After consultation with the veterinarian, the cat is selected with vitamin complexes. After weaning kittens, emaciated animals return to normal very quickly.
Natural diet for kittens
Up to 3 weeks, kittens have enough mother's milk.Then they start feeding them. To do this, use a mixture of whole cow's milk and chicken or quail eggs. A homogeneous mass is prepared from these ingredients. From the age of 1.5 months minced meat is added to it. To eliminate vitamin and mineral deficiencies, grated vegetables and supplements (vitamin-mineral complexes, chondroprotectors) are introduced into the diet. For example, cats are quite willing to eat zucchini, pumpkin, spinach greens.
Natural diet for older cats
With age, digestion and absorption of food deteriorates significantly. In most cases, poor dental health also joins this problem. During this period of life, the need for calories decreases, but now more proteins, trace elements and vitamins are required. At the same time, it should be borne in mind that the cat's daily ration must now be divided into 3-4 parts. This will avoid additional burden on the digestive system. Proper feeding during this period will support a weakening body and prevent the development of chronic diseases.
Features of feeding neutered and sterilized cats
It's no secret that in neutered and neutered animals the biggest problem is obesity. Manufacturers of industrial feeds go to all sorts of tricks to reduce the calorie content of the line of dry feeds for neuters. Natural nutrition almost completely eliminates this problem. Adjust the portion and follow the regime, and then your pet will be full, healthy and fit.
The main cause of obesity is energy imbalance. Most often it occurs with too high-calorie diet and little physical activity. At the same time, excess body fat begins to form in the cat, which can cause significant harm to health. Such animals very often develop diabetes mellitus, problems with the liver and kidneys begin.
Obesity can be defined by the following signs:
- sprawling gait;
- strongly rounded sides;
- drooping belly.
Obese cats are sedentary and spend most of their time sleeping.
The fight against obesity must be systematic. An animal cannot be starved. The calorie content of the diet should be reduced gradually. At the same time, portion sizes should be strictly controlled. Free access to food should also be absent.
The most common problems that occur with unbalanced natural feeding
As a result of an improperly formulated diet, cats can experience a number of problems. The most common ones are described below.
Diseases of the skeletal system
When feeding only meat or fish, as well as due to a deficiency of vitamin D and an excess of phosphorus in comparison with calcium, diseases of the skeletal system begin to develop in cats. To avoid this, it is necessary to introduce the meat and bone component. It can be necks, heads, paws in a natural or twisted form.
Vitamin and mineral deficiency
When fed only fish or meat, without vegetables and grains, cats begin to develop mineral and vitamin deficiencies. This condition can be manifested by nervous disorders, deterioration of the coat, decreased activity, and a number of other symptoms. Periodically, it is necessary to introduce vitamin-mineral complexes into the diet, especially since they are made as a delicacy for cats, which they eat with pleasure and even beg for an additive.
Chronic excess of vitamin A
May occur with excessive feeding of raw liver. As a result, hypervitaminosis develops. It is manifested by pathologies of the cervical spine. Animals begin to lose weight, while the bones of the spine and joints begin to change irreversibly. The liver in the meat-bone mix should be no more than 5%.
Helminths and other parasites
The risk of infection with helminths and other parasites always exists. With the use of unprocessed foods, it increases several times. That is why all meat and fish components must first be frozen. In a healthy cat, the risk of infection is reduced to zero, the concentration of hydrochloric acid in the gastric juice in such animals is quite high. With problems with digestion, it is significantly reduced. In turn, this helps to reduce the disinfecting properties of gastric juice.
For the prevention of helminthiasis, it is necessary to use special preparations. They effectively solve the problem of infection at various stages of development. Drugs should be chosen only after consultation with a veterinarian.
Introduction to the diet of probiotics
With a properly formulated diet and good health, there is no need to use probiotics. Normal intestinal microflora is formed independently. In a number of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, as well as when using antibiotics, probiotics are introduced into the diet, for example, Vetom. They help improve digestion and strengthen the immune system. It should be noted that the uncontrolled use of such drugs can have the exact opposite effect.
Is it possible to combine a natural diet and industrial feed?
Mixing different types of food can lead to a number of health problems. Ready-made industrial feeds are not only balanced in terms of the content of vitamins and microelements, but also sublimated, i.e. fermented. The inclusion of natural ingredients in them causes imbalance and at least problems with digestion. In the long term, this is fraught with the development of chronic diseases. That is why it is worth sticking to only one type of feeding. And always remember that industrial feeds are designed for the convenience of humans, not cats.