Some useful background on Cat Food, eating Habits & Nutrition!

Studies of cats living in the wild has established that given the choice they will live off an almost exclusive diet of small rodents, which they totally consume.

The rodents skin, fur, bones, lungs and intestines act as bulk roughage, while the kidney, liver, heart and body muscles form the protein rich part of the diet.

This means that the protein intake of the cat is automatically controlled if it lives on a natural diet of small rodents.

Domestic cats generally adapt to a variety of foods giving an apparently healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, with age, a significant percentage start to suffer what is commonly known as kidney overload.

Kidney overload produces a build up of protein waste in the blood which then spills over into the saliva. The high waste content of the saliva gives it a bitter taste and also releases ammonia along the digestive tract.

The resulting symptoms include being a fussy eater, excessive dribbling, smelly breath, sneezing and coughing, runny eyes and nose, infected gums, occasional vomiting, crying when picked up, constipation and general lack of energy.

Tinned foods are the most common diet fed to cats. They contain protein, fat, very little bulk and have a high water content. This causes the cat to overeat on them to satisfy its appetite and it ends up with too much protein.

Meat, chicken, fish, kidney, liver, heart, etc, are just too high in protein to be fed as an exclusive diet.

Dry foods fed as part of the diet put extra stress on cats with kidney overload because although they add roughage, they also add concentrated protein and tend to dehydrate the body.

Surprisingly many cats fed a self help diet of high energy professional dry food only improve dramatically. This appears to be related to the eating of very small amounts at regular intervals throughout the day so that their liver and kidney function is not compromised.

For those cats which, for one reason or another, cannot or will not eat dry food, the alternative is to bulk out the existing wet diet. The simplest way is to add come breakfast cereal to the tinned food. Boiling fish until it breaks up and then thickening the mixture by adding semolina and further heating until cooked is also excellent bulk. Minced chicken carcase or chicken necks are another alternative by providing bulk in the form of bone. Tinned sardines also help because they contain skeletal bulk.

Ideally an average size cat should eat six to eight ounces of food daily using a combination of the foods mentioned to achieve equal balance of protein rich food with bulk.

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