With so many brands and types of cat food available, it can be very difficult to know what meal is the best one for your cat. In recent years there has been a huge amount of research into feline nutrition, resulting in production of diets which provide all your cat's needs. Cat nutrition sometimes leaves us in a quandary trying to maintain a nutritional balance. Their food must provide them all the nutrients they need to function.
A cat's rough tongue is sensitive to texture and temperature and is its taste organ. The taste buds are aided by a primitive gland behind the upper front teeth. When the cat drinks liquid, its tongue shape changes into the shape of a spoon to scoop the liquid into its mouth.
Cats can tell if there is, or isn't, salt in their food. They have no taste for sweets and when they lick icing on a cake, it is thought that they are curious about texture and temperature, not the actual sugar ingredients.
Cats are carnivores that have hunted & killed their prey for centuries. Their natural diet consists of rodents and birds. That being said, when we talk about cat nutrition and balanced diets it means that the 43 nutrients that a cat requires must be present.
It also means that the nutrients are present in sufficient quantity to meet their energy requirements and the animal receives at least the minimal amounts of all other required nutrients.
There are so many commercial cat foods in the market that it's a little mind boggling but do Read the Package Label. The life stage claim will indicate if the food is complete and balanced, and for which stage of a cat's life. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) does feeding trials. These trials are the most rigorous test applied to pet foods. Look for the word "feeding" in the AAFCO testing statement on the label. The AAFCO has made recommendations for the minimum nutrient content in cat foods and most commercial pet food companies use this minimum as a starting point when manufacturing their cat food. They have evaluated the product testing the diet in a "feeding" trial and cat nutrition needs are met. Canned food is already preserved so it doesn't need additional preservatives but dry food does need a preservative.
Home cooked diets can be dangerous if strict attention isn't paid to providing a specific and high amount of protein along with the correct ratio of calcium to phosphorus. Cats require taurine in high quantities, unlike people and dogs who make their own. You must also be sure to cook the meat completely. No raw meat, especially ground meats due to the risk of bacterial contamination. If you prefer not to cook but want organic cat food with no preservatives, you can shop at a natural foods store or order direct from the manufacturer.
However, make sure to keep the following away from cats:
Coffee grounds, beans, espresso beans or tea (caffeine)
Tomato leaves and stems (the green parts)
Potato leaves and stems (the green parts)
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