The natural diet of cats is meat. Cats are carnivores, designed to thrive on a wide variety of small prey animals, eaten fresh and whole. Their natural diet is high in water and protein, with a moderate amount of fat, and a very low percentage of carbohydrate. Cats have no dietary need for carbohydrate
Dry foods do not promote health in cats. Dry cat food is has a lot of carbohydrate, between 35 and 50% – a very big difference from the diet their bodies are designed for. “Diet” and “Lite” foods have even higher amounts. Dry food is convenient to feed, and relatively inexpensive, but it’s the opposite of the natural diet of cats.
Cats need to get water from their food. They are descended from feline desert dwellers. They are adapted to obtain most of their water from their prey, which contains more than 75% water. Even their tongues are not well adapted to drink water. Dry food contains almost no water. Cats who eat dry food consume only half the water they need, compared to those that eat wet food, and live in a state of chronic dehydration.
The common health problems of cats are related to diet. There is increasing evidence that many of the health problems seen in cats are the result of diets inappropriate for a feline. Dry, grain based foods fed to a meat eater, over time, result in both chronic and life threatening diseases, including these:
Bladder problems: Cystitis, bladder irritation and bladder/kidney stone formation are strongly connected to dehydration. If the body is well hydrated, these problems are minimized.
Dental disease: Dry food has a high sugar (carbohydrate content, which has been shown to cause dental decay. Cat food is designed to shatter when eaten, and there is no abrasive tooth-cleaning benefit. Cats who eat dry food often have severe dental disease.
Diabetes: The high level of carbohydrate in dry cat food contributes directly to the development of diabetes in cats. Blood sugar levels rise when cats eat dry food. When this is an ongoing event, insulin-producing cells “down-regulate”, which leads to diabetes.
Obesity: Because cats are designed for a high-protein, moderate fat, low-carbohydrate diet, it is not surprising that obesity is often seen in cats. Diet cat foods have even more carbohydrate than regular ones, and less fat, so they depart even further from the natural diet of cats, making it harder for them to lose weight.
Kidney disease: Kidney disease is the most common cause of death for cats. The kidneys require an abundant supply of water to do their job. Without water to process the byproducts of the digestion process, the kidneys are overloaded, become damaged over time and unable to do their job.
The solution is simple: Cats need to eat a diet that is high in protein and water, with a moderate amount of fat, and almost no carbohydrate, Most of the health problems discussed here are either radically improved or eliminated by eating a diet that meets the needs of a carnivore – one that closely resembles the nutritional balance provided by a mouse.
To prevent disease, feed your cat a meat-based diet complete with water!