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The 6 Essential Nutrients For Your Cat

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A nutritious, balanced diet is essential to keeping your cat healthy. In their natural habitat, cats consume prey thatís high in protein with moderate amounts of fat and small amounts of carbohydrates.  Their diet should be comprised of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water in the correct proportions.

Adult cats should eat enough nutritious food to meet their energy needs and to maintain and repair body tissues. The amount of food a cat requires depends on the catís age, breed, gender, activity, temperament, environment and metabolism.

Cats are carnivores Ė thatís one of the most important things to keep in mind when considering what to feed yours. But not all their needs must be met by animal-based food, as they would in the wild.

A lot of different elements go into keeping your favourite feline healthy. Each nutrient plays a role in keeping your catís body functioning.


Both water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins are important to your catsí health and the lack of them can have drastic effects. Water-soluble vitamins includes the B vitamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, biotin, choline and vitamin C. Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E and K.

While cats require a source of these in their diet, be careful as too much of some of these vitamins can also cause problems. When feeding a complete and balanced diet it is unnecessary to give a vitamin supplement, unless advised by your veterinarian.  


Fat is essential for the absorption and movement around the body of certain vitamins, and it also appeals to the feline nose and palate. It is a good source of energy Ė as the most concentrated form of food energy; it provides your cat with more than twice the energy of protein and carbohydrates.

Fats provide the body insulation and protection for internal organs.


Sugars and starches are a source of energy but not one that cats need in their diets to survive. Out of all of the ingredients in prepared cat food, carbohydrates are farthest from what they would eat naturally. In contrast to many other animals, cats will derive most of their blood sugar from the breakdown of protein in the diet rather than carbohydrates.

However this doesnít mean that cats cannot use carbohydrates or that they shouldnít be present in their diet. Enzymes in catís bodies break down and convert the sugars and more complex carbohydrates into products they can use.

Food that's high in fibre are not good for cats with high energy requirements, such as those who are young and growing. 


Cats, like all animals, require protein in their diet to provide for their needs. However, while humans and dogs can adapt to diets that have a relatively low protein requirement in their diet that would typically have a relatively low protein content Ė plant based. Cats have a much higher protein requirement that would typically only be met by feeding a meat-based diet.


Water is the most important nutrient Ė essential for life. While food may help meet some of your petís water needs, cats need to have fresh clean water available to them at all times.

Dry food has up to 10% moisture, while canned food has up to 78% moisture.  

A deficiency of water may have serious repercussions for cats; a 10% decrease in body water can cause serious illness, while a 15% loss can result in death.


The major minerals your cat needs are calcium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium chloride and magnesium. As well as iron, copper, manganese, zinc and selenium.

Minerals are important for strong teeth and bones, and efficient metabolism. Good sources of minerals in cat foods include fish, meat, liver and cereals.

How much food will your cat need? It depends on some factors you might not expect.

Is your cat an indoor or outdoor animal? Has your cat been sprayed or neutered? Both affect your catís dietary requirements. Your best bet is to seek advice from your vet, who will determine your catsí ideal weight and daily calorie count.



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