Why Cats Need Meat In Their Diet: 6 Compelling Reasons

Why Cats Need Meat In Their Diet: 6 Compelling Reasons

Jul 06, 2023Admin Petterati

Do you ever wonder why your feline friend has such a strong craving for meat? As cat owners, it's crucial to understand the unique dietary needs of our beloved pets. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means their bodies require meat to thrive. Here are the seven compelling reasons why you should add meat to your cat's diet. Armed with this knowledge, you can ensure your beloved kitty receives the optimal nutrition for a healthy and happy life. 

1. Feline-Specific Nutrient: Taurine

Cats have specific nutritional requirements that can only be met through a meat-based diet. Meat provides essential nutrients such as taurine, arachidonic acid, and vitamin A.  

Taurine is an essential amino acid for cats, vital for their vision, heart function, and reproductive health. Unlike some animals, cats cannot synthesize taurine in sufficient amounts, making it crucial to obtain it from their diet. Meat and fish are excellent sources of taurine, as outlined in a study published in the Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition. Research published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery highlights the severe health consequences that can arise from taurine deficiency in cats. 

Also Read: Vaccination for Cats – Protecting Cat’s Health 

Protein Powerhouse

Protein is essential for a cat's well-being, supporting its muscles, tissues, and immune system. Cats require a higher protein intake compared to many other animals. Meat serves as an excellent source of high-quality protein, providing all the essential amino acids necessary for optimal feline nutrition. A study published in the Journal of Animal Science confirms the significance of a protein-rich diet for cats. 

Unique Digestive System Designed for Meat

Cats possess a specialized digestive system that is well-adapted for processing and deriving nutrients from animal-based foods. Their short digestive tracts and highly acidic stomachs enable them to break down and absorb nutrients from meat effectively. In contrast, plant-based proteins can be less digestible for cats, potentially leading to digestive issues. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition demonstrates cats' efficient digestion and absorption of nutrients from animal sources. 

Essential Fatty Acids For Skin, Coat and More

Cats require specific fatty acids, such as arachidonic acid, which are predominantly found in animal fats. These fatty acids play a crucial role in maintaining healthy skin and coat, regulating inflammation, and supporting proper brain function in cats. The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association highlights the importance of animal-based fats in a cat's diet for optimal health. 

Palatability and Satisfaction 

Cats have discerning palates and a natural instinct for carnivorous diets. They find meat-based diets highly appealing due to the flavours and aromas of animal proteins. By offering a diet that aligns with their preferences, you ensure they consume an adequate amount of food and stay satisfied. Scientific studies, such as the one published in the Journal of Nutrition, consistently show that cats prefer the taste of animal-based proteins over plant-based alternatives. 

Bioavailability of Nutrients

Meat provides cats with highly bioavailable nutrients, meaning that their bodies can easily absorb and utilize them. Animal-based proteins offer a complete amino acid profile and are rich in vitamins and minerals that a cat's body can readily access. This ensures that cats obtain maximum nutritional benefits from their diet, as supported by research in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. 

Also Read: Obesity in Cats – Knowing the signs & causes 

Key Points To Remember While Feeding Meat To Cats 

When serving meat to your cat, it's important to provide it in a safe and appropriate manner. 

  • Lean meats such as chicken, turkey, and beef are often suitable choices. 
  • Avoid feeding your cat raw meat, as they carry harmful bacteria and parasites that can pose health risks to both cats and humans. 
  • It is generally recommended to feed cats cooked meat to minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses. 
  • Cook the meat thoroughly, remove any bones, and avoid seasoning or using additives that may be harmful to cats. 
  • Avoid giving your cat processed meats, such as sausages or deli meats, as they can be high in sodium and preservatives that are detrimental to their health. 

Also Read: Litter Box Training 

Understanding these seven compelling reasons why cats need meat in their diet is crucial for providing optimal nutrition to our feline friends. From providing essential nutrients and meeting their protein requirements to supporting their unique digestive system and supplying crucial fatty acids and taurine, meat plays a vital role in a cat's overall health and well-being. By offering a balanced and nutritionally complete meat-based diet, you can ensure that your furry companion gets enough stamina and strength to play with you all day. 

It's important to note that individual cats may have specific dietary requirements or health conditions that could impact their ability to consume certain types of meat. Consulting with a veterinarian is always recommended to ensure that you are providing the most appropriate diet for your cat's specific needs. 

Source & References: 

  • Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). (2021). Official Publication. https://www.aafco.org/publications 
  • Plantinga, E. A., Bosch, G., & Hendriks, W. H. (2011). Estimation of the dietary nutrient profile of free-roaming feral cats: possible implications for nutrition of domestic cats. British Journal of Nutrition, 106(S1), S35-S48. 

More articles