· By Veronika Broukal
Protein and its role in the diet of cats
Cats are obligate carnivores and protein should be at the top of their diet. In this article we will explain why this is the case and what you should pay attention to when it comes to your cat's protein intake.
What is meat made of?
Roughly speaking, it mainly contains muscle fiber, connective tissue, water and fat. The respective proportion is of course dependent on the type and origin of the meat. The building blocks of proteins, which make up most of this food, are called amino acids. Animal tissue also contains valuable vitamins and fats. A good example of this is the fat-soluble vitamin A, which cats need to absorb directly.
Why does the cat need so much meat?
The amino acids, which are particularly important for cats, are the basis for what is known as gluconeogenesis. This term describes the process by which cats can produce energy from these building blocks. Although they are theoretically able to digest a larger amount of carbohydrates, they require certain nutrients that are either exclusively or mostly found in meat. This includes arachidonic acid, an essential omega-6 fatty acid.
Essential amino acids for cats
As already mentioned, cats get energy from amino acids. They are also required for the maintenance or development of a large number of organs. The essential amino acids for cats are histidine, lysine, leucine, isoleucine, arginine, valine, phenylalanine, methionine, tryptophan, threonine and of course taurine. The latter is not found in plant material and is therefore another reason for the importance of a high protein supply for cats. A persistent undersupply of taurine can, for example, lead to degeneration of the retina and growth disorders in puppies.
What should you look out for when buying cat food?
Of course there are many factors that play a role in choosing the meal for your darling. In the case of the carnal part, these are primarily the following:
- Openly declared fleshy part, including organs contained
- The meat part should always be at the top of the declaration
- Dry food for adult cats should contain at least 26% crude protein
- High-quality wet food contains at least 65% meat and offal
- Freshly processed ingredients can increase nutrient intake
The above examples apply to complete feed for adult and healthy animals. Medical diets are excluded from this and are (depending on the recommendation of your veterinarian) in case of illness.