I fell in love with cats when I was a little girl. Every time there was a stray cat in the neighborhood or one that needed a home, I was the first to grab some food and give it that home. My dad was highly allergic to cats growing up, so I wasn’t allowed to take them in. But I was always an outdoor girl, so these cats became my best friends. We played together and they listened to me when I needed a sounding board.
Once I ventured out on my own as a young adult and took on the responsibility of being a cat parent, I did what we had always done when I was a child… I loved them, I gave them somewhere to come home to (I did allow them to come into my apartment), and I fed them the food that I found while I was out shopping for groceries. My cats always loved their food, so I thought all was well in the world. Until the love of my life, Tigee, died at age 5. I had already been introduced to pet nutrition at the time and had already changed his food to a high quality kibble – but I didn’t know enough yet. So I kept learning and growing.
One of the main things I came to learn was that the processed foods I was buying my cats, even though they were considered ‘high quality holistic’, were still missing some critical enzymes that their little bodies needed to function correctly. These ‘live’ enzymes are what they would get if we left out on their own, in the wild – capturing their own prey. These enzymes are so critical to fight the free-radical damage that they endure as domesticated cats. These enzymes are what their bodies need for full cellular function – the cells that are the key to their overall health and longevity of life.
Amylase, Catalase, Protease, Lipase – these important enzymes are what every cat body needs. They are also the nutrients that WE need as humans. We get these nutrients when we eat fresh foods or take natural supplements. These digestive and metabolic enzymes function in your cat’s body as building blocks to maintain every single cell, tissue and organ. They are, however, very sensitive and can be destroyed easily. Heating food (which is what is done during processing) kills these key enzymes. Additives and preservatives can also easily destroy them. So, while I thought I was giving my fur babies the best nutrition available, it just wasn’t enough.
And then I knew – Cats require MORE than processed foods.
So what do I do now?
I did more research like I always do. And I found that there are two main ways to ensure your cats get what they need out of their diets.
1. Balanced Raw Food
This one can get tricky for a few reasons. First, if your cat is used to kibble or wet food (both are processed), then it can be difficult to transition them to this new diet. Finicky cats just won’t eat raw. Second, switching to raw can also upset their tummies. Don’t be too worried if this happens though – slow down the transition process and take your time. If your cat likes raw – more power to them. And third, cost. Cost of time spent weeding out the good raw from the bad (many raw food diets are NOT fully balanced) and the cost of the food itself. Because it has a much shorter expiration date than processed foods, raw can get very expensive. Nonetheless, if you go raw (fully balanced), this is one way to be sure your cat is getting more of his ‘natural diet’ – full of the live enzymes his body needs.
This is what we did. We tried raw and it was like pulling teeth. So we found cat supplements that we add to their wet food and it replaces those live enzymes simply and easily. Now, you will also want to do your research when it comes to supplementation. Just like the different foods, you will want to weed out the good from the bad. Many companies sell digestive enzyme supplements. Make sure that the type you get is enough for your cat – and don’t forget that the metabolic enzymes are just as important as the digestive ones.
So there you have it. Why cats require more than processed foods – in a nutshell.
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