Love has a sneaky way of directing you to the wrong path, so do the flavours, but you can not afford to compromise on your cat’s nutrition. Indeed your kitty might seem all self-sufficient, but at the end of the day, they would come back to you for their cravings. If food is their love language, then why not reciprocate love through the same way. Understand more about how you can improve your cat’s nourishment, read more to declutter your confusions and give your cat the best care possible.

As a pet parent and a pet lover, you have to keep a tab on their health requirements and then look for the suitable nutritious options in the market or from any online pet store.

Unlike our canine companions, cats have held to their ancestors in terms of food and behaviours. Years of domestication could not change their food requirements into omnivorous animals, like dogs. Cats were and have been the obligate carnivores. They thrive only on nutrients derived from animal products. They believe in hunting prey that are high in protein, moderate in fats and with minimal carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. And due to their small structure, their body requires smaller portions of food every few hours.

Let us now demystify the food tract of a cat and understand their body requirements:

1. Point of departure

Like any multicellular organism, food enters the system through the mouth. Then it processes the food by mechanically breaking it down. Here, the food is put to involuntary chewing, ingestion and swallowing to be simplified so that chemical breakdown can occur. The saliva of a cat is enzyme-laden that facilitates the two processes.

2. Automatic Transport

Then the food is transported to further procession through the muscular tube-like structure called the oesophagus. It performs wave-like contractions and relaxations that enable the propelling of food from the mouth to its second destination i.e, the stomach.

3. Storage and Processing

Pepsin and Lipase immediately takes responsibility to digest proteins and fats from food into the body. For the rest of the food, the stomach acts as the waiting room. Then the food is further processed in the small and large intestines.

4 .Treatment facilities

Once the wait is over, food enters the small intestine, where enzymes break down large and complex food molecules into simpler units. The bloodstream absorbs the broken food to provide energy to the body.

5. Pancreas

Pancreas take the load of double functioning in the feline’s body as they secrete digestive enzymes into the gut and hormones, including insulin and glycogen. The second function is to metabolise fat, wherein, the liver produces bile and partially stores it in the gallbladder.

6. End Of Line

If the food is still left to be digested and absorbed, it goes to the large intestine. The large intestine then absorbs all the electrolytes and water. So, microbes ferment nutrients that have not been digested.


There are majorly three forms of commercial cat food; Dry, Semi-moist and Canned food.

Dry dog food contains 6-10% of water content. The protein sources account for meat/meat products, poultry or poultry production, grain or grain production and fish meal. Sources of fibre accounts for milk products, vitamin and mineral supplements.

Semi-Moist food has 35% of moisture content; serving the protein content through the sources of meat and its products. Monetarily, it would cost somewhere in between dry and canned foods.

Canned food is the favourite among felines as it provides the palatability of wet food with 75% of moisture. Not many people know that 70% of a cat's diet is water. Some cats are finicky about food, canned food is a good option for such cat parents as it comes in a good variety.


Like an infant cannot ingest food which is recommended for an adult, similarly, it is primary to respect the phase and stage of life a cat is in as they should have best nutrition as per their respective life stage.

All the above stages of cats require more energy than usual cats would require. So the energy or calorie requirements would naturally hike. Unlike dogs, it is not safe for cats to consume fibres inconsiderately, owing to their anatomical structure of short length and long intestines, which limits the fermentation of fibres.

As a thumb rule, a growing cat requires 20-25 calories per 100 grams of weight. Once the kitten has crossed the 2.5-4 weeks of age, it is time to supplement the little kitten with an external supplemental diet.

Lactating and pregnant cats require at least 40-50% more calories than usual cats. Unlike dogs, it is not necessary to cut down the mother-feline's diet, for a cat reduces weight by natural processes after 7-9 weeks of birth. One can determine the energy requirement by the size of litter by a cat. 2-2.5 times calories if the mother kitty is bearing more than two kittens.


If the body is bony to touch or ''caved in'' then the cat could be termed as an underweight cat. It is a deadly condition as it can damage the internal organs, impair the ability to nurse its kittens, make the cat susceptible to bacterial infection and would result in stunted growth.

Heavy fat deposits over the lumbar area, face, limbs and rounding around the abdomen is equally deadly to the kitty than underweight issues can be.


For an obligate carnivore, protein is their ride-or-die. Among the three sources of energy (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) proteins are the most important. Similar to the canine structure, cats require ten essential amino acids that set the basis for many biologically active compounds and proteins.

For example :

Arginine and Taurine are two of the most important amino acids. Just like in dogs, amino acids make up for the building blocks of protein. Arginine helps in the removal of ammonia through urine and Taurine is a dietary essential, any deficiency of it can cause a host of metabolic and clinical problems like feline central retinal degeneration, blindness, deafness, cardiomyopathy, heart failure, neonatal growth, reproductive failure. Taurine can easily be derived from animal-based proteins like fish, birds and rodents, but not from plant-based sources of proteins.


Fats are the most concentrated source of energy for any animal. It has twice as much energy as carbs and proteins. It also functions as a carrier for fat-soluble vitamins. Good fats are an essential nutrient in a feline’s diet, for 9% of dry matter must be fats to function seamlessly. The derivatives omega-3 and omega-6 help maintain the wellbeing of a cat, both mentally and physically.




It sharpens the ever so heightened cognitive senses of a cat. Any deficiency can seriously affect the nervous system and trigger vision problems.


It curbs the physiological effects in the system. Storage of fat and metabolic function are easily accessed through it.


Vitamins are organic compounds that undertake all metabolic activities. Vitamin A and Niacin, two of the primary minerals, are derived straight from food. Any deficiency in Vitamin A may directly trigger the eyes of the animal. Lack of niacin makes the cat thinner by the day, which poses a threat to their health.

Vitamin E, an antioxidant which protects the body against oxidative damage.

Excess of vitamin A can have adverse effects, as such a large amount in the liver can cause hypervitaminosis! (multiple skeletal lesions)


There are a total of twelve minerals that are essential for cats. Calcium and Phosphorus are needed to make the bones and teeth strong. Magnesium, potassium and sodium facilitates

If you ask us broadly this should be the guidelines of nutritional requirements for an ideal cat. If you check all the categories consistently, it is going to make your cat thrive. Unlike dogs, cats are choosy and they like to stick to what they like. Needless to say, they would also require something eccentric to their tastes, and not every cat is the same. So along with maintaining the nutritional quotient, you would be bound to present something that interests their taste buds. A proper balance is a must, if you wish your kitty to thrive in life!

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