Cat food is food for consumption by cats.Cats have specific requirements for their dietary nutrients. Certain nutrients, including many vitamins and amino acids, are degraded by the temperatures, pressures and chemical treatments used during manufacture, and hence must be added after manufacture to avoid nutritional deficiency.
The amino acid taurine, for example, which is found in meat, is degraded during processing, so synthetic taurine is normally added afterwards.Long-term taurine deficiency may result in retinal degeneration, loss of vision, and cardiac arrest.
== History ==The idea of preparing specialized food for cats came later than for dogs (see dog biscuits and dog food).This was likely due to the idea that cats could readily fend for themselves. In 1837, a French writer Mauny de Mornay critiqued this idea: It is. thought wrongly that the cat, ill-fed,hunts better and takes more mice; this too is a grave error. The cat who is not given food is feeble and sickly; as soon as he has bitten into a mouse, he lies down to rest and sleep;
while well fed, he is wide awake and satisfies his natural taste in chasingall that belongs to the rat family. In 1844, another French writer expanded on this idea: Normally in the country no care is taken ofa cat’s food, and he is left to live, it is said, from his hunting, but when he is hungry,he hunts the pantry’s provisions far more than the mouse; because he does not pursue them and never watches them by need, but by instinct and attraction.
And so, to neglect feeding a cat, is to render him at the same time useless and harmful, while with a few scraps regularly and properly given, the cat will never do any damage, and will render much service.He goes on to say that it is all the moreun reasonable to expect a cat to live from hunting in that cats take mice more for amusement than to eat: “A good cat takes many and eats few”.
By 1876, Gordon Stables emphasized the need to give cats particular food: If then, only for the sake of making (a cat)more valuable as a vermin-killer, she ought to have regular and sufficient food.
A cat ought to be fed at least twice a day.Let her have a dish to herself, put down to her,and removed when the meal is finished.
Experience is the best teacher as regards the quantity of a cat’s food, and in quality let it be varied.Oatmeal porridge and milk, or white bread steeped in warm milk, to which a little sugar has been added, are both excellent breakfasts for puss; and for dinner she must have an allowance of flesh.
Boiled lights are better for her than horse-meat, and occasionally let her have fish.Teach your cat to wait patiently till she is served—a spoiled cat is nearly as disagreeable as a spoiled child. If you want to have your cat nice and clean, treat her now and then to a square inch of fresh butter.
It not only acts as a gentle laxative, but, the grease, combining in her mouth, with the alkalinity of her saliva, forms a kind of natural cat-soap, and you will see she will immediately commence washing herself, and become beautifully clean.
—If you wish to have a cat nicely done up for showing, touch her all over with a sponge dipped in fresh cream, when she licks herself the effect is wonderful.)Remember that too much flesh-meat, especially liver,—which ought only to be given occasionally,—is very apt to induce a troublesome diarrhoea (looseness).
Do not give your pet too many tit-bits at table; but whatever else you give her, never neglect to let her have her two regular meals.
In the same year, an advertisement for Spratt(better known for making dog food) said that their cat food entirely superseded “the unwhole some practice of feeding on boiled horse flesh; keeps the cat in perfect health.
” And, in another book on cats, Stables recommended the company’s food: Attend to the feeding, and, at a more than one-day show, cats ought to have water as well as milk.
I think boiled lights, cut into small pieces, with a very small portion of bullock’s liver and bread soaked, is the best food; but I have tried Spratt’s Patent Cat Food with a great number of cats, both of my own and those of friends, and have nearly always found it agree; and at a cat show it would, I believe, be both handy and cleanly.
Spratt, which began by making dog biscuits,appears to also have been the first commercial producer of cat food.
During the 19th century and early 20th centuries, meat for cats and dogs in London, frequently horse meat, was sold from barrows (hand–carts) by itinerant traders known as Cats’ Meat Men.
== Natural diet ==Cats are obligate carnivores—meaning, they are true carnivores and depend upon the nutrients present in animal flesh for their dietary needs.
Even domesticated cats will relish freshly killed meat from rodents, rabbits, amphibians, birds, reptiles and fish, but cats are also opportunistic feeders and will readily take cooked food as well as dried cat food when offered, if that food is palatable.
The natural diet of cats therefore does not include any vegetable matter, although cats have been known to eat certain plants and grasses occasionally, usually as an emetic.
Cats cannot synthesize some essential nutrients required for survival, including the amino acids taurine and arginine, so these nutrients must be sourced from fresh meat in the natural diet.
Cats lack the specific physiology to extract nutrients efficiently from plant-based materials, and require a high protein diet,which is why high-energy meats from freshly killed prey are optimal foods.
== Commercial cat food ==Most store-bought cat food comes in either dry form, also known in the US as kibble,or wet canned form.
Some manufacturers sell frozen raw diets and premix products to cater to owners who feed raw.
=== Dry food === Dry food (8–10% moisture) is generally madeby extrusion cooking under high heat and pressure.
Fat may then be sprayed on the food to increase palatability, and other minor ingredients, such as heat-sensitive vitamins, which would be destroyed in the extrusion process, may be added.
Dry food is most often packed in multi-wall paper bags, sometimes with a plastic film layer; similar bag styles with film laminates or co extrusions are also used.
It is also sold in foil pouch form
Vegetarian cat food must be fortified with nutrients such as taurine and arachidonic acid that cats cannot synthesize from plant materials.
Some vegetarian cat food brands in the USA are labeled by their manufacturers as meeting AAFCO’s Cat Food Nutrient Profile.
=== Low protein ===Low protein diets are not as popular with consumers than high protein diets.
Low protein diets are frequently associated with renal care formulas and other prescribed the rapeutic diets.
=== Raw food ===Raw feeding is providing uncooked ingredients to cats.
Most of the diet will consist of animal-based ingredients, though fruits, vegetables and supplements are often added.
Commercial raw food is mainly sold in three formats: fresh, frozen and freeze-dried.
Thawing andre hydration are necessary before feeding frozen and freeze-dried food respectively.
Many available commercial diets are AAFCO certified in meeting the nutrient requirements of the cat.
Some diets may be formulated for all life stages or they can also be AAFCO certified for adult maintenance or growth and gestation/lactation.
Many people feed their cats raw food believing that it mimics the prey diet that wild cats would consume.
Firm believers in raw diets report that they bring health benefits such as a shiny coat, cleaner teeth, improved immunity,energy and body odors to their cats, although no scientific evidence exists to prove these claims.
Commercial raw diets can undergo High Pressure Pasteurization (HPP), a process which kills bacteria and pathogens, including salmonella, using high water pressure.
This technique is USDA approved and allows raw food to remain uncooked while greatly improving its safety and shelf-life.
However, every year, many commercial raw pet foods are recalled due to various bacterial contamination, implying that feeding raw comes with a risk.
=== Weight management ===Weight control simply means ensuring an energy balance: energy in equals energy out.
Weight gain means more energy is being consumed than is being expended in exercise and other functions.
A weight management diet is designed to allow fewer calories to be consumed in a larger volume of food, allowing for less risk of an energy imbalance.
But the cat needs to take enough exercise too.
Adult cats should be fed a diet that has been formulated for maintenance, while at the same time it should be fed according to preference and body condition.
Cats generally prefer to eat smaller meals more frequently, which tends to lead to less weight gain compared to cats that are fed free-choice food.
Meanwhile,some cats adapt to free-choice feeding and can maintain normal body weight, with no weight gain.
In general, indoor cats have less opportunity or need for exercise than outdoor cats; so in door cats are much more prone to weight gain.
For indoor cats, there are a variety of choices to promote exercise, including various cat toys designed to stimulate chase and play behaviours.
Overall, if an adult cat cannot maintain normal body condition on a free-choice feeding diet, despite exercise levels, portion-controlled feeding is recommended.
Many pet cats are fed energy-dense, high carbohydrate diets, which provide much more energy than needed.
This is a major issue with indoor cats as it has been shown to lead to obesity.
To prevent cats from becoming overweight, owners should be more inclined to implement weight control diets, which provide the cat with nutrient-dense, low energy ingredients.
Studies show that cats fed lower energy diets had significantly reduced incidence of obesity,as the typical indoor pet cat does not need more energy than their resting energy requirement.
For an average cat weighing 10-11 pounds (about 5 kg), they would have a resting energy requirement of 180-200 kcal/day.
Along with energy input and output, specific nutrients can be important in weight control diets.
Fiber is an important component that helps control weight along with various other benefits.
A source of soluble and fermentable fiber helps to increase them ovement of digesta through the gut and decrease gastric emptying.
This helps to increase satiety in cats, potentially decreasing feeding rates and voluntary energy consumption.
Fermentable fiber promotes healthy mucosa and commensal bacterial growth, and improved digestion/nutrient absorption.
Prebiotic fibers like fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and mannonoligosaccharides (MOS) decrease the number of pathogenic bacteria and increase the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
They also help to maintain microbial balance and a healthy immune system.
Fiber is fermented in the colon to produce short-chain fatty acids which can be used as an energy source.
Fermentable fiber has been demonstrated to enhance general health and decrease inflammation.
Furthermore, non-fermentable fiber is critical to the formation of well-formed stool, and has been known to increase diet bulk while decreasing caloric density.
Insoluble fiber has been proposed to regulate appetite by releasing hormones that reduce hunger.
Sources of fiber commonly added in weight management cat food include beet pulp, barley, psyllium and cellulose.
Another nutrient important for weight control diets is protein and its component amino acids.
Felines, being obligate carnivores, require a natural diet of strict animal products which consists of protein and fat (i.
Dietary protein supplies amino acids that can be utilized and metabolised as energy over fat when provided, even though protein is not stored in the body the same way as fat.
Dietary fat is more efficiently converted to body fat than protein; if an animal is consuming more than its energy requirement and if the excess energy is provided by fat,more weight will be gained than if the excess calories are coming from protein.
Dietary protein also improves satiety during feed, resulting in decreased over consumption of food.
The protein content of the diet is a key factor in building and maintaining lean body (muscle) mass, which is an important aspect of weight control.
Lean body mass maintenance is regulated by protein intake, but more importantly is regulated by exercise.
Limited protein and amino acids in the diet will limit lean body mass growth, but exercise or lack of exercise will allow growth or shrinking of muscle.
Successful weight control involves maintenance of healthy adipose tissue levels, but most importantly maintenance of lean body mass.
Lean muscle is the driver of basal energy metabolism and aids in the use of energy.
When sufficient levels of fat are provided, fat will be used by the body as an energy source, but only when there are insufficient levels of protein.
An important amino acid that is incorporated many weight loss/weight control diets is L-carnitine.
This is a vitamin-like substance that is found in animal protein, and is the only form found in nature as well as being the only biologically active form.
It can be found in ingredients commonly used in more commercial pet foods, but specifically weight management/weight loss diets.
L-carnitine is involved in many biological pathways, more specifically fatty acid metabolism, allowing for the conversion of long-chain fatty acids into energy.
The introduction of L-carnitine ensures rapid transport and oxidation of fatty acids as well as efficient usage of dietary fatty acids and protein.
Supplementary L-carnitine isused more often in weight loss diets, since its benefits mainly involve fatty acid metabolism to control weight loss.
However, since weight control is, in essence, a prevention stage in overall weight management, it still has value in weight control diets in preserving and building lean body mass and inhibiting the storage of excess dietary fat.
The majority of studies focusing on supplementary L-carnitine use look at its benefits for weight loss,including its effect on metabolic rate and fatty acid oxidation.
At the same time, these studies still show similar results that prove their effects of controlling fatty acid metabolism for weight control, to avoid the need for weight loss diets. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/cat-charity-boss-who-enslaved-17154331
== Packaging and labeling == In the United States, cat foods labeled as”complete and balanced” must meet standards established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) either by meeting a nutrient profile or by passing a feeding trial.
Cat Food Nutrient Profiles were established in 1992 and updated in 1995 by the AAFCO’s Feline Nutrition Expert Subcommittee.
The updated profiles replaced the previous recommendations set by the National Research Council (NRC).
Certain manufacturers label their productswith terms such as premium, ultra premium, natural and holistic.
Such terms currently have no legal definitions.
However, “While most of the food supplied comes from withinthe US, the FDA ensures that standards are met within our borders even when components come from countries with less stringent levels of safety or label integrity.
“Dry cat food(kibble) is most often packed in multi-wall paper bags, sometimes with a plastic film layer; similar bag styles with film laminates or co extrusions are also used.
Wet cat food is often packed in aluminum cans or steel cans.
Packaging regulations for cat food are often very similar to corresponding regulations for human foods.
== Energy requirement ==The energy requirements for adult cats range from 60–70 kcal metabolizable energy/kgbody weight (BW) per day for inactive cats to 80–90 kcal/kg BW for active cats.
Kitten sat five weeks of age require 250 kcal/kg BW.
The requirement drops with age, to 100 kcal/kgBW at 30 weeks and to the adult requirement at about 50 weeks.
Gestating cats require approximately 90–100 kcal/kg BW, up to 1.
5 times the energy required of normal adult maintenance.
Lactating cats require 90–270 kcal/kg BW depending on litter size and they require between 2 and 2.
5 times the energy needed for normal adult maintenance.
== Nutrients and functions ==Vitamin deficiencies can lead to wide-ranging clinical abnormalities that reflect the diversityof their metabolic roles.
Twelve minerals are known to be essential nutrients for cats.
Calcium and phosphorus are crucial to strong bones and teeth.
Cats need other minerals,such as magnesium, potassium, and sodium, for nerve impulse transmission, muscle contraction,and cell signaling.
Many minerals only present in minute amounts in the body, including selenium,copper, and molybdenum, act as helpers in a wide variety of enzymatic reactions.
Thetable below lists the AAFCO nutritional profiles for cat foods along with the roles of vitamins and minerals in cat nutrition according to the National Research Council.
=== Diet and disease ===Further information: Cat skin disorders Many nutrients can cause a variety of deficiency symptoms in cats, and the skin is a vital organ that is susceptible to dietary changes in minerals, protein, fatty acids, and vitamins A and B.
Cat’s show dietary inadequacies in their skin through excess or inadequate oil production, and skin toughening.
This results in dandruff, redness, hair loss, greasy skin, and reduced hair growth.
=== Skin and coat diets ===Good overall nutrition is needed along with a well balanced diet.
If problems with a greasy and dull looking coat or flaky skin arise this could be signs of a greater internal issue.
It is possible that the cat is not getting the proper nutrients in the proper quantities in their diet.
This can be see more commonly with cats that eat diets thatare of poorer quality.
==== Zinc ====Zinc’s connection to skin and coat health is due to its influence on regulating cellular metabolism.
Zinc also supports proper immune function and suitable activity within the inflammatory response.
Deficiencies result in disorders of the skin and poor immune functioning.
When zinc is supplemented in diets, skin scaliness was decreased.
Dietary sources include poultry,red meat, and eggs.
==== Copper ====One of the many functions of copper is to assist in production of connective tissue and the pigment melanin.
A deficiency in dietary copper is also related to collagen abnormalities,hypopigmentation of the skin, and alopecia.
Sources for cats include liver and supplements in the forms of copper sulfate and cupric oxide.
==== Selenium ====Selenium works with vitamin E as antioxidants to handle the free radicals that are damaging to the body and the skin.
Selenium also plays a role with other antioxidants to help maintain cell membranes which provides further protection from free radicals causing oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress plays a role in development of skin diseases.
Dietary sources of seleniumare naturally occurring in selenomethionine and tuna.
==== Fatty acids ====Fatty acids are an important part of the cats diet, some are more important than others with respect to the cats diet and these are known as essential fatty acids.
Essential fatty acids are nutrients that cats are unable to produce at all or in sufficient amounts to reach their needs.
There are 3 essential fatty acids that should be included in a catsdiets and they are: Alpha-Linolenic acid, Linoleic acid, and Arachidonic acid.
Alpha-Linolenic acid is an Omega–3 fatty acid that is important to cats as it aids in the maintenance of their skin’s water barrier.
As the water barrier is important to the cats skin, ingredients that are high in Alpha-Linolenic acid, such as flax seed, should be included in the cats diet.
Another source of Omega-3 s are in fish oil however, it is higher in Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which can be important for cats as they haveanti-inflammatory properties.