Nutritional Needs of a Cat
Cats are considered obligate carnivores, which mean that in the wild they live almost exclusively on meat. For example, the “perfect” natural cat diet – the mouse – is about 50% fat, 40% protein and 3% carbohydrates. This has caused cats to have some dietary idiosyncrasies as a result of being obligate carnivores. For example, their sense of taste is much less developed than that of people or dogs. They have fewer taste buds; those they do have can detect salt, sour and bitter tastes, but not sweetness. Cats don’t have as much digestive enzyme activity as dogs do. Increasing the carbohydrate component of a cat’s diet does not stimulate increased dietary enzyme production, secretion or activity, as it does in dogs. In addition, to remain healthy cats must have specific amino and fatty acids in their diets that can only be found in meat. Needless to say, without proper nutrition, a cat will not grow or reproduce normally, maintain good health or develop a strong immune system that is capable of fighting infection.