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Food plays a vital role in our health and in that of our pets.

Each element in the feed has its own role to play.

Unlike dogs cats have to eat meat to live a healthy life. There are amino acids (building blocks of proteins ) which cats must have. Two of these only occur in meat. Attempts to make cats vegetarian are misguided.

Cats need a very high level of protein but strangely they have no need of carbohydrate. They can metabolise carbohydrate but they don’t need it. Carbohydrates are the usual source of glucose for most species but cats get theirs from breaking down protein. They continue to do this even if they are given carbohydrates to eat.

Lipids or fats are composed of fatty acids. They provide the cat with energy and contribute to cell membrane structure. Once again, there are for cats certain essential fatty acids which are only to be found in meat and fish.

Cats also need Vitamins and minerals like us but in different amounts. They are easily poisoned by Vitamin A. High levels of this are found in liver and Cod Liver Oil. Cooked liver should be an occasional treat for cats and they should never receive Cod Liver Oil. The safer alternative is Evening Primrose Oil.

Most cat-food manufacturers nowadays respect scientifically determined standards as far as the nutritional composition of rations is concerned. Kittens need rather more protein than do adult cats (30% as compared to between 10% and 20%). They also have high energy requirements. For this reason, kittens need a high fat input in their food. Special Kitten foods meet these specifications.

On the other hand, in adult cats too much fat leads to obesity: 10% would seem to be a reasonable level.

Gestating cats also require more energetic food, which is furthermore to be stepped up by 10% per week from the beginning to the end of gestation.

Adult cats do well on "maintenance" rations, although sedentary or neutered cats may tend to become obese .Specific "light" or "neutered " foods have been developed: these come in wet or dry  forms and are lower in calories. Each stage of life has, ideally, its own specific food. Your Vet can help you find your way through this maze.

Cats´ feeding behaviour

Cats, unlike greedy dogs, are "nibblers". They prefer to have several meals a day. If food is simply made available, they will take some 10 to 16 meals a day.

Cats are fine connoisseurs when it comes to feeding, and are very sensitive to the tableware. Rather than stainless steel or plastic, glass, china or porcelain dishes are to be preferred. The dish should not be too deep. Finally, to really make your cat happy, try heating moist food briefly in your micro-wave oven.

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