Although cats' nutritional needs are rather unique, they aren't particularly hard to satisfy if one sticks to meat. Because meat is an expensive ingredient, we get cheap harmful ingredients from far too many manufacturers, instead of what should be in commercial food:
- protein (from real meat)
- animal fat
- moisture (present in meat to the tune of 75ish%)
- small amount of moderately fermentable fiber
[Jules' Abby says read my lips ]
Dry food is even worse than canned in almost all respects.
Be good to your cats, and just say "No" to dry food for the following reasons:
- Dry food is very dehydrating because it contains a lot less moisture (10% typically) than cats need (around 75-80%). Cats derive moisture from their diet and have a poor thirst mechanism. They simply cannot, and in most cases will not, drink enough water of their own accord to make up for this dietary deficit in moisture.
- Even the best dry food brands have woefully inadequate amounts of meat protein compared to a mouse's protein content (which is in the mid-50% range).
- Further compounding the problem is the high grain content of kibble. Although the so-called low-carb dry foods do not contain corn, wheat, rice, etc. they still have totally inappropriate items such as potatoes, and fruits like apples. Unfortunately, between the grains, fruits, and high-glycemic vegetables, most dry foods contain anywhere from 15-50% of their calories in the form of carbohydrates. This when a mouse is less than 5% carb.
- The grains and plant matter in dry foods can cause cats' urine to be too alkaline. Based on research in vet journals, (results summarized here), the ideal urinary pH is between 6.0 and 6.5 The more alkalizing cats' diets are, the higher the risk of struvite crystal (and Bast forbid, stone/urolith) formation.
Bottom line - dry food deprives cats of proper nutrition, and adds insult to injury by causing them to have very concentrated alkaline urine. This increases the risk that struvite crystals will form. Even without crystals, these diets contribute to bacterial infections and bladder inflammation (cystitis).
As if Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) isn't bad enough, the high carb content of these foods increase cats' risk for developing diabetes and pancreatitis. It also is a major factor in obesity. The grains in particular cause horrible allergic reactions in cats such as diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, etc. all part of a constellation of symptoms known as Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD)
Dry food is about as far removed from nature as one can get when it comes to cats. So please feed your kitty cats real meat (balanced with organs and bones of course), to keep your cats healthy. Meat also produces a slightly acidic urine. Exactly what cats need. To keep up with the latest in cat nutrition, and for help with your choices, join us at the Holisticat Forum.