Why Canned Food is Best for Cat Health
Dr. Lisa Pierson
Just as with humans, diet comprises the bricks and mortar of health for our pets. Unfortunately, as we have strayed from a healthy diet, so have the feline friends that are dependent upon us for their food.
Often ignored principles of proper feline nutrition explain why cats have a better chance at optimal health if they are fed canned food instead of dry nuggets or kibble. Putting a little thought into what we feed our cats can pay big dividends over their lifetime and likely help them avoid experiencing serious, painful and costly illnesses.
To begin, it is vital to understand that cats are obligate (strict) carnivores, and are very different from dogs in their nutritional requirements. Cats are designed to have their nutritional needs met by the consumption of a large amount of animal proteins (meat/organs), instead of those found in plants (grains/vegetables). Plant proteins are less complete than meat proteins.
A wild cat’s diet typically consists of rodents, birds, rabbits, lizards and insects. Such natural feline prey are high in animal protein, high in water content (about 70 percent) and low in carbohydrates (less than 5 percent). Most canned foods are of similar proportions.
Now, consider three key negative issues associated with dry cat food: 1) as a protein source, it’s too high in plant (grain or vegetable) protein and too low in animal protein; 2) the water content is far too low, at just 5 to 10 percent; and 3) its carbohydrate load is too high, as much as 50 percent. This is not what is needed to support a healthy animal.