Although humans will often cut out entire food groups such as fat and carbs out of their diets, cats can’t afford to take the same liberties with theirs. Good diets for your kitties will include protein, carbohydrates and fats. Despite what marketers may have led us to believe, fat is an essential part of every cat’s diet—even if they’re a little bit of a “chonker.”
A balanced diet is key! You should never limit your cat’s fat intake, because the feline body can’t produce certain fats on its own. They get most of what they need from supplements in cat food. This is one of the many reasons it’s important not to feed your cat “people food” if it can be avoided.
Why are fats important to cats?
Cats get their energy from fat. Your cat is a carnivore that relies solely on a meat-based diet. That means they don’t get energy from carbohydrates like you and other omnivores and herbivores. Fat also plays a role in a cat’s nutrient absorption, cell membrane integrity and metabolic processes.
Is my cat getting the right kinds and right amount of fat?
Leading cat food brands carefully balance the fat content and other nutritional values. In fact, the fat content is similar to the nutritional profile of a cat’s natural prey: mice.
Balance is key!
If you want to be sure about your cat food’s nutritional balance, locate the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) statement of nutritional adequacy on the label. This organization provides guidelines for the manufacture of pet foods.
Did you know?
Just as they do for human food, the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) puts sanitation and preparation regulations in place to keep pet food safe. When researching possible food options for your cat, it is a good idea to check for pet food recall information from the FDA’s Recall and Withdrawal page. This page includes recall dates and reasoning and the names of both the companies and the foods they manufacture.
As helpful as these resources are, one of the most important resources you can use in search of nutritious cat foods are the veterinarians most familiar with your cats. Veterinarians are able to correlate nutrition with health conditions and have been taught to use food as a tool for disease prevention and treatment. As professionals who frequently look at your cat’s medical history and the state of their health, your veterinarian will be able to use that information to recommend a unique diet to keep your cat in the best shape possible.