Posted by Kevin McNulty on March 21, 2017
Cats are a little different than many other meat-eating predators - they are obligate carnivores. What does that mean, exactly? The dictionary definition is: 1. Restricted to one particularly characteristic mode of life. 2. Biologically essential for survival.
Combining obligate with carnivore is pretty clear. Cats must eat meat, it is a biological necessity.
In fact, all felids (including domestic cats) are obligate carnivores. Obligate or true carnivores depend solely on the nutrients found in animal flesh for their survival. While they may consume small amounts of plant material, they lack the physiology required for the efficient digestion of vegetable matter. They also lack the enzymes necessary to digest carbohydrates.
The protein in animal tissue has what is known as a complete amino acid profile. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Proteins derived from plants don't contain all the amino acids critical for the health of an obligate carnivore.
Cats aren't alone, though! Other obligate carnivores that you may have in your household as pets include some snakes, lizards, amphibians, and ferrets.
Biologically speaking, a cat's digestive system has specifically adapted to eating raw flesh. Its digestive tract is the shortest compared to body size of almost any mammal. Raw prey is highly digestible and there is no need for a long gut and the fermenting bacteria that animals that eat plants need.
So what does that mean for YOU, the pet owner? In addition to your regular protein-rich food, it's important to think about adding supplements to your cat's diet. We suggest things like freeze dried raw foods like Primal or Stella & Chewy's. Maybe even some air-dried meat treats? If you want to add some raw food to your cat's diet, we can help you pinpoint the right product for that too. Talk to your local pet experts at Pets Plus to come up with a perfect solution.