Understanding Your Pet's Needs
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Understanding Your Pet's Needs

After my pet had a long, drawn-out battle with cancer, I realized that I needed to do a better job with understanding my pet's needs. I wanted to be there for them no matter what, so I started focusing on my other animals. They needed more love, attention, and medical care, so I focused on those things. I started taking them in for regular checkups and working on their physical appearance. I was able to spot a few other potentially catastrophic health conditions with my animals because of my actions. This blog is all about understanding your pet's needs.


Understanding Your Pet's Needs

Why Your Cat Needs Meat To Survive

Gisele Pereira

Looking at that fluffy, wide-eyed kitten in the cat shelter, you wouldn't think that behind those innocent looks is a carnivorous predator. Being not-too-distant cousins of tigers and leopards, that kitten needs a diet of animal protein to survive, just like the big cats. Here is why the life of that kitten depends on the right proteins and amino acids that it can only get from eating meat.

Evolution Creates a Dietary Dependency

The body of a cat needs certain proteins, amino acids and fatty acids from its diet because it doesn't create its own, or doesn't create enough to sustain life. In the wild, big and small cats hunt animal prey for food to get those substances. The cat's body is especially adapted to digesting animal protein-- more so than plant material. Plants and grains provide little nutritional value to a cat, so they are largely ignored by the cat's body.

The cat's liver also breaks processes protein differently than omnivores, which also causes the cat to focus on a meat diet. Without sufficient protein in the diet, the cat's body will begin to break down its own muscle tissue to have enough protein to survive. The diet you feed your pet cat needs to approximate the diet of its wild cousins. That means a diet that is predominantly meat, with little grain or vegetable matter. Your veterinarian can guide you to the right foods for your cat, depending on their age and activity levels.

Amino Acids

Your cat's body does not produce taurine, an essential amino acid for its health. It is available in animal protein and is such a critical substance that pet food manufacturers add it to their products. Taurine is important for the cat's heart, eyes, liver and gall bladder. Without it, your cat will develop heart disease, digestion problems and even blindness.

Another amino acid needed is arginine. The breakdown of protein by a cat's body for use as energy produces ammonia as a side effect. Arginine controls this ammonia so it doesn't reach toxic levels in the cat. Insufficient arginine can cause instability, staggering, drooling and foaming at the mouth, and death.

Fatty Acids

Arachidonic acid is a fatty acid that your cat needs to strengthen its immune system. It's also used to manage healthy skin growth and blood clotting. This is one good reason to not feed your cat dog food. Dogs produce enough arachidonic acid in their own bodies so manufacturers do not add it to their food.


Retinol is an enzyme that your cat needs for its skin and eyes but it is also something that its body can't create. It is a result of processing vitamin-A and must be gotten from animal meat.

A quality cat food will contain meat as its primary ingredient with these various amino acids, fatty acids and enzymes added. Besides canned and dry cat foods, there are a variety of raw foods available. There are even recipes to make your own cat food. Talk with your veterinarian, like those at Abri Animal Hospital, about these different options so you can choose the best diet for that cute and curry feline carnivore living in your house.