Cats are obligate carnivores and hence, must eat animal tissue to maintain their long-term well-being. If left on its own the cat survives on whatever small animal prey is available in the habitat. From the muscle of its prey, the cat obtains protein. And from the bones and viscera (intestines and other organs), it obtains vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients. The cat also meets most of its fluid requirements through its prey. The cat's tendency to eat small but frequent meals.
Food provides the cat with nutrients - proteins, carbohydrates, fats,
minerals, vitamins, and water - that are crucial to the growth,
reproductive, and adult stages of its life cycle. Cats require two
essential amino acids - taurine and arginine. Taurine deficiency in cats
causes reproductive problems, blindness, and heart disease. An
arginine-deficient diet leads to a situation in which the cat develops
toxicosis because it can't adequately convert the harmful waste product
ammonia into urea (normally eliminated via the urinary system). To avoid
the dangers of taurine and arginine deficiencies in cats: make sure that
the cat's diet contains adequate amounts of these and other essential
A cat's protein requirement varies according to its life stage. A
healthy adult cat's diet should contain 30 to 45 percent protein on a
dry-matter basis (without the water content of the food). To fulfill
protein's requirement buy meat-based high protein cat food. As such cats
do not require carbohydrates but most of the cat foods contain
carbohydrates. A healthy adult cat's diet should contain 10 to 30 per
cent fat on a dry-matter basis. Cats also need vitamins and minerals.
But we want to strike a note of caution here - Do not add vitamin or
mineral supplements to cat's food without first consulting a
veterinarian. It would do more harm than good.
Several factors influence cat's gastronomic habits. Smell and taste
play a major role in shaping cat's food preferences. In terms of flavor,
cats prefer salty, sour, or bitter-tasting substances. Cats don't
develop a sweet tooth because they have no perception of simple sugars.
Cats prefer food that is close to their own body temperature.
Contrary to the cat's image cats must develop a taste for milk. Many
cats do not enjoy cow milk. Cow's milk can occasionally be a problem for
cats that do enjoy it. Some adult cats cannot effectively digest cow's
milk (lactose intolerance), which can result in diarrhea.