· By Veronika Broukal
The digestive tract of the cat
In contrast to dogs, cats are known to be pure carnivores, which can be seen from their shorter intestines. In this article you will find out why this is the case and what other special features the cat's digestive tract contains.
Structure of food
The main component of cat food should be protein. These are converted into amino acids during digestion. Certain amino acids are essential for cats, the deficiency of them causes serious illnesses. This includes arginine, the lack of which can lead to symptoms of poisoning in a very short time, since the ammonia content in the cat's body becomes too high.
Fats are also one of the most important nutritional building blocks. These can be utilized very well by the cat, so they do not have to be fed a low-fat diet. Of course, this principle can differ in certain diseases.
Finally, in addition to vitamins and minerals, there are also carbohydrates. Although cat food shouldn't be made up of (starchy) carbohydrates to a large extent, adult cats can theoretically digest them well.
Structure of the digestive tract
Eating, of course, begins in the mouth. The teeth of animals show which foods they mainly eat. This is also the case with cats, they have typical carnivore teeth. They only have small molars, unlike dogs. The food now passes through the mouth into the esophagus and then to the entrance of the stomach. There, it is mixed with gastric acid and digestive juices. The stomach exit opens at a certain fill level and pH value, the feed is gradually passed on. The food pulp then reaches the small intestine, where carbohydrates, fats and proteins are broken down from it. This is made possible by enzymes from the gallbladder and pancreas. Finally, the food reaches the large intestine, where mainly water is returned to the body. This is also where it spends up to 90% of the total time it takes to digest. Overall, this is up to 36 hours, depending on the food and the condition of the animal.
Selection of peculiarities in the cat
Proteins and fats are the cat's main sources of energy. Cats derives from amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, glucose. In medicine, this process is called gluconeogenesis. Owners are likely to be aware of taurine and niacin, among a few other peculiarities. Taurine, an amidosulfonic acid, is practically non-existent in plant foods. Their content in animal foods also varies. The cat cannot produce taurine itself and must therefore ingest it through food. So pay attention to food with sufficient taurine content when buying food for your cat. Niacin is a vitamin that cats also cannot create themselves. This need is also met by meat. Last but not least, it should be mentioned that they can tolerate a very high content of fat. It also plays an essential role in the acceptance of feed. Above all, the linoleic acid must be supplied to the cat. However, since it cannot form higher-chain unsaturated fatty acids from it, it also requires arachidonic and linolenic acid. These three fatty acids all belong to the omega-6 acid category.