Complete proteins, which are found in meats, fish and eggs, provide all the amino acids that your cat needs to maintain good health. Incomplete proteins, in contrast, lack some amino acids that cats and many other animals require.
Most plants provide incomplete proteins. Cats have much higher protein and fat requirements than do people, dogs, or many other mammals. As true carnivores, their diet should consist of about 30 percent protein.
Cats also require taurine, an amino acid found in meat. Taurine deficiency causes blindness and can lead to fatal cardiomyopathy. Taurine occurs in trace amounts in some vegetables, but the amounts are too small to support feline health; this is why vegetarian diets are not suitable for cats.
Fats are found in meats, milk, butter, cheese and vegetable oils. Dietary fat makes food taste better. More importantly, fat provides energy, protects internal organs, insulates against cold, and transports vitamins and other nutrients within the body.
Although fat tends to get a bad rap, it is vital to good health. In fact, studies have shown that as cats age, they lose their ability to digest and absorb dietary fat, and as a result, they need to eat fat that is more easily digested to maintain their weight and energy.
And unlike dogs and people, who need fewer calories as they get older, your cat's caloric needs remain pretty much the same throughout her life unless she becomes less active. If your cat loses weight or if her skin and fur become dry; ask your vet about a change in foods or about the addition of fatty acid supplements.
Carbohydrates or carbs are found in foods from plant sources. Carbohydrates provide energy. Although your cat is carnivore with high protein needs, she does need some carbs in her diet as well.
As a conclusion, a healthy, nutritionally balanced diet is fundamental to your senior cat's well being and longevity. Older cats are particularly subject to dehydration, so make it easy for your senior to take in enough water by placing water bowls in all parts of the house.
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