In their natural setting, cats—whose unique biology makes them true carnivores--would not consume the high level of carbohydrates (grains) that are in the dry foods that we routinely feed them. You would never see a wild cat chasing down a herd of biscuits running across the plains of Africa or dehydrating her mouse and topping it off with corn meal gluten souffle.
In the wild, your cat would be eating a high protein, high-moisture content, meat-based diet, with a moderate level of fat and with only approximately 3-5 percent of her diet consisting of carbohydrates. The average dry food contains 35-50 percent carbohydrates. Some of the cheaper dry foods contain even higher levels.
This is NOT the diet that Mother Nature intended for your cat to eat.
A high quality canned food, on the other hand, contains approximately 3-5 percent carbohydrates.
Please note that not all canned foods are suitably low in carbohydrates. For instance, most of the Hill's Science Diet non-prescription (over-the-counter) and prescription diets are very high in carbohydrates and are not foods that I would choose to feed.
Cats have a physiological decrease in the ability to utilize carbohydrates due to the lack of specific enzymatic pathways that are present in other mammals, and the lack a salivary enzyme called amylase. Cats have no dietary need for carbohydrates and, more worrisome is the fact that too many carbohydrates can be highly detrimental to their health, as I explain next.
With this in mind, it would be as illogical to feed a carnivore a steady diet of meat-flavored cereals as it would be to feed meat to a vegetarian like a horse or a cow, right? So why are we continuing to feed our carnivores like herbivores? Why are we feeding such a species-inappropriate diet? The answers are simple. Grains are cheap. Dry food is convenient. Affordability and convenience sells.
But is a carbohydrate-laden, plant-based, water-depleted dry food the best diet for our cats? Absolutely not.
Obligate carnivores are designed to eat meat – not grains - and they need to consume water with their food as explained next. Information above taken from http://www.catinfo.org/index.htm#We_Are_Feeding_Cats_Too_Many_Carbohydrates Lisa A. Pierson DVM Information on this site is for general informational purposes only and is provided without warranty or guarantee of any kind. This site is not intended to replace professional advice from your own veterinarian and nothing on this site is intended as a medical diagnosis or treatment. Any questions about your animal's health should be directed to your veterinarian.
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