Cat food for sale at an Istanbul animal market (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A researcher, P. Roudebush, has compiled information on studies done to determine adverse reactions to foods (ingredients) in cats. Only 10 different studies, representing a total of 56 animals, have described cutaneous lesions, gastrointestinal signs, or both, associated with adverse reactions to specific foods or ingredients.
In these studies, adverse reactions to beef, dairy products, and fish accounted for nearly 90% of all the reported cases in cats.
Animal proteins were reported to cause primarily cutaneous lesions or a combination of cutaneous and gastrointestinal signs, while wheat and corn were more often associated with gastrointestinal signs. No specific food allergens have been identified in cats, thus more research is needed.
One of the biggest problems with getting cats to lose weight is realizing why they are gaining it. It is wrong to assume that it is only because they are eating too much food, particularly if fed free choice. Limiting carbohydrates is the number one weight loss and weight control tactic.
Many cats fed animal protein and animal fat with limited to no carbohydrates, may actually be fed free choice. Since their protein and fat requirements are reached, these cats will typically stop eating when sated.
Water is essential for feline health and regulation of body functions. Flushing the kidneys and bladder are also important to reduce or negate urinary crystal formation. Continue reading
So, we know that the typical 4 Step Program doesn’t work. However, steps 1 (reducing quantity) and 4 (exercise) aren’t exactly necessary if you change steps 2 (changing food) and 3 (feeding mealtime), particularly step 2. It really all comes down to the type of food you feed your cat.
While reducing the quantity of food and feeding mealtime only can be helpful, it won’t be unless you change the type of food that is being fed. By feeding the wrong type of food while reducing the quantity, you will essentially be starving your cat. The cat requires high levels of protein in its diet and will begin utilizing its own organs and muscle (digesting them) if given a reduced protein diet or a reduced quantity of food thereby reducing the protein load. The majority of overweight cats are eating a free-choice dry diet. The problem is threefold: too many carbohydrates, not enough animal protein and not enough animal fat. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they require certain nutrients that they cannot synthesize which are only found in meat and are able to metabolize only a small amount of carbohydrates. Continue reading
Plantinga EA, Bosch G, Hendriks WH. Estimation of the dietary nutrient profile of free-roaming feral cats: possible implications for nutrition of domestic cats. Br J Nutr 2011;106 Suppl 1:S35-48.
Cats in the wild rely solely on animal tissues to meet their specific and unique nutritional requirements. This has led to unique digestive and metabolic adaptations. In order to better understand how the domestic cat has adapted to its physiologic needs, the diet of feral cats was assessed. The researchers reviewed 27 published studies reporting the feeding habits of feral cats and obtained data on the nutrient composition of the cats’ prey. The results showed that feral cats are obligatory carnivores with a diet high in protein (52% of daily energy) and fat (46% of daily energy) content, but low in carbohydrates (2% of daily energy). Minerals and trace elements appeared to be consumed in higher concentrations than current recommended allowances. The authors conclude that future research should focus on the value of feeding a natural diet of whole prey as an enhancement of feline health and longevity.
It is just as likely for dry cat or dog food to contain bacteria, fungus, molds, and parasites as it is for raw food. Many people believe the dry food is safe and therefore it is not handled as carefully as raw food may be, therefore it is more likely to produce infection and even outbreaks. Small children should never be allowed to handle dry pet food without proper supervision and safety protocols.
Investigation of Multistate Outbreak of Human Salmonella infantis Infections Linked to Dry Dog Food
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state and local officials to investigate a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella infantis infections. FDA became involved in early April when the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development reported detecting Salmonella from an intact package of Diamond Naturals Lamb and Rice Formula for Adult Dogs, collected during retail surveillance sampling. Diamond Pet Food was notified of the sampling results, and agreed to voluntarily recall this product on April 6, 2012. Continue reading
Progress report, Winn grant 09-002
Nutritional adequacy and performance of raw food diets in kittens
Investigators: Beth Hamper, Claudia Kirk, Joe Bartges University of Tennessee
This study examined the feeding of a raw diet and its effects on kittens. The feeding trials have been completed using 24 kittens and two different raw food diets (homemade and commercial). The control diet was a commercially available kitten food. Weight gain over a 10-week period was at the high end of previously determined data for all kittens. Male kittens had higher weight gain than females, but all diets performed equally well. Blood protein and amino acid levels were in the normal range. Evidence of Salmonella infection was evident in some kittens fed the raw diet, but was not clinically significant. Continue reading