Have you ever wondered how similar your cat’s DNA is to big cats in the wild? I have. Especially with some of our crazy kitties who exhibit ‘wild’ behavior. 😆 Well, the DNA research was performed and it turns out that a housecat’s DNA is 95.6% the exact same as a Siberian Tiger!
But wait… there’s more.
The genome sequencing study also revealed that “In big cats, several genes are altered in the metabolic pathways linked to protein digestion and metabolism. Those adaptations, which evolved over tens of millions of years, are thought to be what allows felines, as obligate carnivores, to digest and thrive solely on a diet of animal meat.” It also showed that our cats have a gene mutation that explains their amazing muscular structure and quick motions.
So what does your cat’s DNA reveal to us as cat parents?
To me, this study is an eye-opener. Some cats have lived into their 30s, but the average lifespan of housecats is said to be 12-15. Could this be attributed to the diet and exercise levels of indoor cats? If our cats are basically tigers, would they live longer if fed a species appropriate diet? If they were encouraged to exercise more, would we see less feline disease?
To date, the oldest living cat passed at 38 years of age. When the owner was asked what Creme Puff was fed he said, “fresh food”. She also lived in an anxiety-free environment and got ample exercise.
So, while this study reveals a fun fact about our kitties it also teaches us something. If we want our kitties to live the longest lives possible then we should pay close attention to their diet and exercise levels.
Hunting is a feline instinct that will increase exercise and decrease stress. We can use wand toys and schedule playtime with our cats each day to help bring out their tiger instincts. You can also hide treats around the house and encourage them to hunt for them.
Even big cats in the zoo are not fed dry kibble. They are given raw meaty bones and fresh food for survival. Our housecats can and should be eating a similar diet for best health. Cats are obligate carnivores and thrive on animal meat. They lack the ability to properly digest a high amount of carbohydrates so feeding a kibble only diet abuses them nutritionally. Add some raw meat into their daily meals to help reduce nutritional stress and extend their lives!
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