Food for Feline Urinary Tract Health
It is a great fallacy that what is good for humans is sure to be good for our pets. Nutritional requirements are determined by the evolutionary processes and are not dependent on what is convenient to pet owners.
Most of the research that links diet to feline and canine urinary health suggests that diet can have an adverse effect on urine pH. Diet also plays an important role in determining urine volume and specific gravity. Less common medical disorders like feline urinary tract infection are now being noticed increasingly in companion cats, leading to a fair amount of frustration among cat owners. The development of this situation is now being attributed to the faulty choice of cat food.
Cats are obligate carnivores. They have evolved in such a manner that they derive most of their requirement of fluids from the moisture content of their prey (which contain nearly 65% to 75% of water). The natural diet of a cat gives them a very small amount of carbohydrates and the main source of carbohydrates is the one that is stored in the liver and other organs of the prey. This hardly comprises any significant percentage of the total weight of the prey. However, one look at the label of some of the cat foods available in the market will reveal to you that commercial dry foods sometimes contain as much as 45% of carbohydrates.
The three common types of cat foods available in the market are dry, moist or wet (canned). Dry foods frequently use cheap sources of calories like wheat, rice and corn to give them a semblance of a structure. Cereals are primarily a source of carbohydrates, a nutritional component that does not suit the constitution of cats. The cat liver is not very efficient at metabolizing carbohydrates and is more efficient in processing proteins and fats. Over consumption of carbohydrates often leads to storage, obesity and other clinical disorders.
Although the absence of moisture in dry cat foods can be addressed by adding water, they can still disturb urine pH, which is one of the leading causes behind feline urinary infection. Although all brands of commercial cat foods profess that their formulations meet the necessary nutritional requirements of a cat, most of them fail to recognize that even a slight deficiency can be detrimental to overall health, especially when the commercial food is being taken on regular basis. Moreover, the preservatives that are used to increase shelf life can interfere in the metabolic process and the elimination of wastes. Free flow of urine is extremely necessary to avoid urinary infection and bladder stones.
Commercial foods, whether dry, moist or wet are driven by motives like convenience and cost. Therefore, there is a tendency to compromise on the quality. The natural nutritional requirement of a cat can easily be met if you provide your cat with food that is as close to the original as possible. This would mean a significantly larger proportion of animal protein and fat as compared to grains and cereals. It also essential to provide enough water content in the diet to avoid urinary tract infection in cats.
Courtesy of Tess Thompson, PetAlive.com
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