The Carnivore Connection to Nutrition in Cats
ARTICLE DATE: Dec 1, 2002
CITATION: JAVMA, Vol 221, No. 11, December 1, 2002
(Debra L. Zoran, DVM, PhD, DACVIM)
INTRO: In another time long ago, Leonardo da Vinci said,“The smallest feline is a masterpiece.”1And for those of us who marvel at the wonder that is a cat, there is no doubt that his statement was remarkable for its simplicity as well as its truth. Cats are amazing creatures,unique and interesting in almost every way imaginable.Despite this, it has been common for veterinarians to consider cats and dogs as similar beings for anesthesia protocols, clinical diseases, and treatments. However, it is quite clear that cats are unique in all conceivable ways, particularly in their nutritional biochemistry.Cats are strict carnivores that rely on nutrients in animal tissues to meet their specific and unique nutrition-al requirements. This statement is news to few, yet the importance of these nutritional differences is often underestimated, especially during periods when cats are ill or have prolonged anorexia. In their natural habitat, cats consume prey high in protein with moderate amounts of fat and minimal amounts of carbohydrate (CHO); thus, they are metabolically adapted for higher metabolism of proteins and lower utilization of CHOs (starch, not soluble or insoluble fiber) than dogs or other omnivore.