As your cat's caretaker, you are responsible for providing him with a balanced diet of good quality food. This means making sure that he eats the best food possible and receives all the vitamins and minerals necessary to live a long and healthy life.
Cats are carnivores, and they require a diet that primarily consists of meat. Left to fend for themselves, cats in the wild will catch a bird or a mouse and consume almost all of it including the bones, feathers or fur, internal organs and muscle meat. The meat and internal organs provide essential proteins, vitamins and minerals, while the bones and feathers are a source of fiber. The prey's stomach contents provide the small amount of vegetable matter that the cats need.
Pet food manufacturers have studied the exact nutritional requirements that felines require to maintain good health. A high quality food containing the right amounts of proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals will supply your cat with a daily balanced diet.
A cat's diet should consist of approximately 30 to 35 percent muscle meat. Meat contains proteins, enzymes, and amino acids that are essential to the body. Proteins is the body's basic building material and helps to repair body tissue, aids in growth and helps to regulate the metabolism.
Taurine is an amino acid that is essential for the health of all cats and kittens. A taurine deficient diet could produce heart disease, nervous system disorders, stunted growth, eye problems and in severe cases, blindness or death. Kittens require more taurine than adults and kitten formula food contains the proper amount of this amino acid. Make sure that it is listed as an ingredient in whatever type or brand of food that you feed your cat or kitten. Never feed your feline dog food. It does not contain taurine, and it is not nutritionally complete for cats.
Carbohydrates and fats
Carbohydrates should make up approximately 30 percent of a cat's diet. They give the body fuel for energy and add fiber to the diet. Approximately 8 to 10 percent of a cat's diet should come from fats. If fats are lacking in the food consumed, kittens will have a poor growth rate and the skin and coat will have a dry, dull appearance.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins A, C and E are called antioxidants. They help to strengthen the immune system and may reduce a cat's risk of developing certain cancers. Unlike humans, cats are able to produce their own vitamin C, so it is not a necessary additive to their food. Vitamin A helps to maintain good vision and skin tone. Vitamin E helps muscle, cell membrane, and organ functions, while vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, teeth and muscle tone.
B vitamins are important for a healthy coat, skin, and overall growth. They protect the nervous system and aid in the body's metabolic functions. Biotin aids in skin repair, cellular growth, muscle formation and helps digestion. Niacin is obtained from animal sources and is found in meat and liver; it helps a cat's body utilize energy. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help to improve the skin and give the coat a healthy, glossy shine.
A high quality commercially prepared cat or kitten food will provide all the necessary vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that your cat needs.