According to statistics, there are more than 86 million cats owned in the United States. People love their pets and treat them like a part of the family, so naturally, they want to provide the best nutrition possible to ensure a long and healthy life for them.
Debates rage on about which brand of food is best for cats, and for good reason. Not all cat foods are created equal. Some have more of certain ingredients, some less, and some lack certain ingredients entirely. These factors have a dramatic effect on the food’s nutritional content.
Cats are considered to be obligate carnivores, meaning that they only consume animal tissue and are unable to turn plant-based nutrient precursors into their biologically active forms. For that matter, cats are unable to efficiently or effectively digest plant matter, especially carbohydrates.
Even still, the vast majority of cat owners feed their companions foods which contain mostly plant-based ingredients! If you look on any standard bag of cat food, some of the first ingredients you’ll see are grains. The higher up on the ingredient list something is, the more of it the product contains.
When cats are not being fed a biologically appropriate diet, various health problems tend to crop up, much as they do in human beings. These may manifest as relatively mild problems such as ear infections, skin problems, candida infections and joint inflammation.
However, more serious health problems such as cancer, kidney failure, immune suppression, obesity and behavioral problems may occur as a result of poor or improper nutrition. Here are some other problems that conventional foods can cause in cats.
Periodontal diseases remain the most common health problem in pet cats, largely because of their inability to break down the carbohydrates in their kibble. The starches from the food stick to their teeth and, much like the effects of sugar on human teeth, causes harmful bacteria to proliferate. When these bacteria flourish, it leads to breakdown of the teeth and infection of the gums.
Cats can develop intolerances to things like wheat, corn, soy and rice and because these things are not part of a cat’s natural diet, their immune systems recognize them as threats and cause an array of symptoms. This can manifest as behavioral problems, joint pain, excessive itching, sores around the mouth and digestive problems.
Many conventional cat foods contain urine acidifiers that are supposedly meant to promote good bladder health in cats. What these really do, however, is cause metabolic acidosis. Eventually, this leads to decreased kidney function, mineral deficiencies and kidney stones. Over time, the kidneys can become so damaged that they shut down.
Although this information can be scary for cat owners, there is a way to stop or prevent these common ailments. In response to the growing amount of research that shows conventional kibble foods to be harmful and nutritionally incomplete, there are companies popping up that deal exclusively in 100 percent meat-based foods containing no plant products whatsoever. You can browse selections of these foods online and in an increasing number of pet stores.
Consideration was given for the editing, approving, and posting of this
article by Amanda Green