For a cat’s diet to be satisfactory, it must contain all the necessary nutrients and in the right proportions to make it complete and balanced. The diet must also be palatable and digestible by the cat. Most cats are known to be notoriously picky eaters, and choosing a nutritional diet could be difficult.
Dry cat foods are made of grains, which include cornmeal and rice. This explains why they contain more carbohydrates than wet cat food, with some even containing proteins from vegetables rather than meat, which is not ideal for an obligate carnivorous.
Why do people feed Dry food to cats?
As compared to wet food, dry food costs less and can last longer. Manufacturers use fillers as their main ingredients for dry cat food, which are cheap to obtain, making it an ideal option for cat owners on a budget.
Dry cat food is easy to store as it does not require any refrigeration, easy to measure portions and feed. Due to the low moisture content, the food can be left for cats to graze as they prefer, unlike the wet food, which requires leftovers to be thrown away if they stay out for more than 4 hours. Dry cat food is a good choice for parents who leave their cats unattended for some time as they have the freedom to feed at their preferred.
Nursing mums require a lot of energy for milk production, and most of them find difficulty in eating. Due to its high energy content, dry cat food is recommended to ensure kittens get enough milk for their growth.
Why is Dry cat food bad for Cats?
Dry cat food is not considered good for the cats as it does not meet all the nutritional requirements needed. This is because it contains;
Low Moisture content
Unlike other pets, cats do not have thirst drive; therefore, they do not frequently drink water but rely on moisture from their diets. The ideal diet of a cat should contain at least 65% to 80% moisture, and since dry food does not meet these criteria, feeding it to cats continuously could lead to dehydration.
High in Carbohydrate
Cats being obligate carnivorous means that their diets should have a higher content of animal protein instead of carbohydrates. On the other hand, dry food has a very high carbohydrate content of about 25% to 50% depending on the brand. Carbohydrates are known to be energy foods, but cats do not require them as they efficiently utilize fat and proteins for their energy. Since cats do not have any dietary need for carbohydrates, their bodies have a decreased ability to break them down. Accumulation of these carbohydrates in the cats’ bodies from dry food consumption could pose a health risk.
Protein from plant sources
A cat’s ideal diet should contain essential amino acids and have a high biological value in proteins. A high biological value means the protein will be easily absorbed in the body with ease in digestibility. Chicken legs have the highest protein biological value of 100%, with other proteins ranging from 60% and above. Since most dry food cats come from plants, they lack the amino acids and have a low biological value, which is not recommended for cats.
Depending on where it was cultivated, stored, and during transportation, dry cat food might contain mold, fungus, and mycotoxins, which occur when dry food comes into contact with moisture. Improper drying of grains such as corn and wheat, which are a key ingredient in dry cat food, could lead to mycotoxins’ contaminations. A very powerful poison called aflatoxin released due to mycotoxins’ presence has been known to cause illness and death to cats when eaten.
Health Implications Associated with Dry Food
Urinary tract Problems
Dehydration, which results from feeding cats with dry food for a Prolonged time, irritates the cat’s urinary tract and could lead to bladder and kidney-related problems.
The high carbohydrate content in dry food is not broken by cats, which leads to unnaturally high levels of sugars being dumped into the cat’s bloodstream. This may lead imbalance of the cat’s natural metabolic processes resulting in diabetes.
When your diet is mainly carbohydrate like dry cat food, it results in weight gain. If not careful, this could result in obesity, which puts the cat at risk of chronic diseases like heart disease.
What is the best way to transition from Dry Cat food?
Switching a cat’s diet requires time and patience, which may take 7 to 14 days. To make Dry cat food palatable, manufacturers spray digests on the outside of the kibble. These fermented by-products of meat with no additional value and other flavorings make cats addicted to carbs, making it hard for an abrupt diet change. To transition, start by adding a little bit of the new diet to the cat’s dry food and continue increasing portions of the new diet while decreasing the amounts of dry cat food until the cat can comfortably feed on the new diet alone. Before any transition, you must ensure the ingredients of the new diet are tolerable to your cat to avoid any allergies or stomach upset.
Dry cat food alone is not a good choice for your cat. Not only does it lack moisture, but it also lacks animal protein, which is an ideal component for obligate carnivorous like cats. While most cats may be addicted to them, it is recommended that you ensure your kitty is eating a balanced nutritional diet. Not only will they be safe from contracting deficiency diseases, but it is also good for growth for our furry friends. It also ensures that the various organs of their bodies are functioning effectively. Mixed or blended feeding routines, which entail giving your kitty small portions of different food types, give your cat the best diet with great nutritional value while ensuring that you stay on your budget.