5 Interesting Facts About Your Cat’s Digestive System
Anyone who loves cats knows they’re a unique animal in many ways. But do you know what makes their digestive tract unique from other pets? Keep reading to find out!
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1. Cats are Obligate Carnivores
Approximately 40%-50% of a cat’s diet should be protein, and most of that protein should be from meat. Cats are a predatory species, meaning they evolved to catch and consume meat. A cat’s digestive tract is therefore a more acidic environment than non-obligate carnivores (dogs, for example).
2. Cats need to consume certain amino acids, like taurine
Taurine can be found in meat and fish. In humans and dogs, the pancreas derives taurine from cysteine, another amino acid, but cats can’t do this. Instead, they must consume all their taurine. If a cat isn’t fed enough meat protein, they will eventually begin to break down their own muscles in search of taurine.
3. Cats can get Hepatic Lipidosis, otherwise known as Fatty Liver Disease
Unlike dogs in the wild, domestic cats do not do well fasting for several days at a time. When a dog in the wild fasts for several days between meals, fat reserves are converted into energy by the liver. Cats did not evolve to process large amounts of fat, so the liver is unable to handle it and begins to shut down.
4. Cats need Vitamin B1, also known as Thiamine
In fact, cats need up to five times more than dogs do. Thiamine is found in plants such as rice, wheat, and other cereal grains. Commercial cat foods include enough meat protein as well as carbohydrates for a healthy diet. If you make homemade cat food for your feline friends, consult a veterinary nutritionist to ensure you have all the nutritional supplements that are essential for a cat to thrive.
5. Cats need linoleic and arachidonic fatty acids
These provide cats with energy and help the body absorb certain fat-soluble vitamins. These two fatty acids are found in many things, most notably chicken, something cats often love, and a common cat food flavor.
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