Luckily for cat owners, you can be rest assured your pet is getting all of the nutrients they need by feeding them Butcher’s cat food! But did you know cats need up to 41 different essential nutrients in their diet, which is even more than dogs do? Cats need certain types of protein, amino acids, and vitamins to keep them healthy.
How much should you feed a cat?
How much to feed a cat depends on its life stage, size and activity level.
A large cat that is physically active and spends a lot of time prowling around outside will need more to eat than a small house cat.
There will usually be feeding guidelines on cat food to give you a general idea. As a rough estimate if your adult cat is 5kg they’ll need about 280 calories of food a day.
How often should you feed a cat?
You may prefer to feed your cat twice a day, morning and evening. If you feed on demand there’s more chance of overfeeding.
Feeding the right amount is important as cat obesity is on the increase. Around a third of cats in the UK are overweight and it can cause major health problems for your cat like diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.
Dry food is more calorie dense than wet cat food so it’s harder to overfeed with a wet food diet.
You should be able to feel your cat’s backbone and ribs but they shouldn’t show through the skin and fur. If you can’t feel the ribs your cat may be overweight so you should cut back portions. Ask your vet for advice and guidance.
Putting your cat on a diet may seem mean but in the long run you are doing them a favour. A healthy weight cat enjoys life more, is more mobile and has a lower risk of health problems than an overweight cat.
What not to feed cats
Too many treats are bad for your cat but there are certain human foods that cats shouldn’t eat. Most cats are lactose intolerant so giving milk or dairy products may cause diarrhoea. Onions and garlic can also cause problems for cats.
Grapes and raisins can lead to kidney problems in some cats and not others. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can be dangerous for some cats as it contains a substance called theobromine which is toxic to them. Feeding scraps with tiny sharp bones in may also injure cats.
Cat nutrition – what nutrients do cats need?
Meat and fish protein
Meat and fish protein are important elements in cat nutrition. Cats are first and foremost carnivores or meat eaters. They have short, digestive tracts most suited to digest animal proteins and animal fats. They have sharp teeth to spear and slice meat not for grinding cereals or plants. Their jaws move up and down to provide a cutting motion not horizontally to grind.
Protein is an essential ingredient for your cat’s basic body functions; including building body tissue and muscle, tissue maintenance, hormone and enzyme production and providing energy – vital for hunting!
Fat is also an essential dietary requirement in cat nutrition. Fats are the most concentrated form of food energy, providing your pet with more than twice the energy of proteins or carbohydrates. Fats also help with the absorption of vitamins A, D3, E and K.
Essential fatty acids are important in your cat’s diet as they can’t always be made by the cat in sufficient amounts. A deficiency may lead to growth and skin problems.
Cats need vitamins to maintain their normal body processes for things such as growth, health, fertility and performance. In most animal species, vitamin A is made inside their bodies. However, cats cannot make their own vitamin A so it must be provided in their diet. There are 13 vitamins added to Butcher’s cat foods to ensure they meet all cat nutrition requirements.
Cats have no real nutritional need for carbohydrates as they use protein and fat as energy sources. There is no known minimum dietary carbohydrate requirement for a cat.
No bulking carbohydrate is added in Butcher’s cat foods, which makes it truly suitable for carnivores like your cat. Grains are not an essential part of a cat’s diet and wheat gluten accounts for approximately 80% of the protein content of the grain.
More and more cats are becoming gluten intolerant that’s why Butcher’s is gluten free cat food.
Water is often ignored as a nutritional requirement for your cat but it is essential to life and is needed for other nutrients to function properly.
It’s important to digestion and helps your cat to regulate its temperature. Water is a main constituent of blood, which takes oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and removes carbon dioxide and metabolites.
Cat urinary tract systems are much healthier if they drink enough water or take in enough water through wet food.
Not enough water may cause serious illness or even death.
Minerals are also an important element in cat nutrition. Minerals are needed to build healthy, strong bones and teeth and to keep their skin and fur in great condition. Butcher’s complete cat food provides just the right balance of minerals.
Cats need phosphorus, calcium, potassium, magnesium and sodium chloride. Other minerals are needed too in smaller amounts called “trace elements” including copper, iron, zinc and selenium. Good sources of minerals include liver, fish and meat.
Taurine is an essential nutrient for cats. It’s a natural amino acid that cats can’t produce themselves so need it in their diet. It’s only found in foods of animal origin like meat and fish. Taurine deficiency in cats can cause heart attacks, growth issues, poor eyesight and affect brain development.
A lack of taurine can lead to something called cardiomyopathy . This can cause dilation on the left side of your cat’s heart which can lead to a number of heart problems. Several recent studies have shown that once taurine levels are returned back to normal, the dilation stops.
Taurine is also needed for the retina of a cat’s eye. A deficiency of taurine will lead to the retina degenerating, leading to total blindness over a period of time.
Butcher’s cat food is fortified with taurine.