MERCOLA'S CAT DIET WEBPAGE rewritten slightly by Anita Sands Hernandez -- cat devotee) original article unneutered is at
Here ONLINE human Dr. MERCOLA's VET explains what foods you should feed your cat for optimum health and wellness, what the proper feeding pattern is for cats, and how to easily wean your kitty off unhealthy foods.
A pair of glowing green eyes shimmers in the moonlit night…still and watching. Waiting. Patient. Then suddenly, like a spring—the shadowy figure leaps out and pounces on its unsuspecting prey. Unwilling to end the hunt so easily, the Mighty Hunter tosses it into the air, letting it fly, again and again, down to the ground and up again, letting it fall to the earth and scamper free. Just when Little Gray Mousie thinks it’s crafted an escape, it’s captured again. When Little Gray finally gasps its last breath, the Mighty Hunter revels in his moonlight snack.
Chances are, since you’re reading this article, you’re a cat owner and the above scenario rings a familiar bell. Why do cats display this perpetual hunting behavior, despite having a full bowl of kibble inside? Cats not only evolved to catch and kill prey and are hard-wired that way but also they want warm, throbbing, bleeding MEAT, dummy! FRESH KILL. Something YOU never provided for them!
House cats descended from their carnivorous wildcat ancestors who roamed the desert plains of Africa, feeding on mice and other small mammals. They have sharp, interlocking canines built for grasping, puncturing and tearing animal flesh. Their jaws are hinged to move up and down, unlike herbivores such as cows and horses whose jaws move side to side, performing a grinding motion that breaks apart fibrous material. They DO NOT HAVE two or three stomachs like bovines who chew their cuds to break down grains & grass! Imagine what the cud would have to do to break down CORN!(Most kibbles are corn.)
The first documentation we have of cat domestication is from Egypt, where they used felines outside the granaries to keep the rat and mouse populations down. Here is the file we found: " Tumrates of Alexandria is my advisor in the matter of the diet of the Royal Cats. Many lifetimes Tumrates has served Pharoah Thutmose' family, in the palace at Thebes where the royal cats are known to live for a thousand years. Having observed the working cats at the graneries, Tumrates knew the God known as 'Cat' had a food preference, Mice. Rodents. Tumrates fattened mice on corn for a half Nile year, from flood to wane only. The mouse thusly cared for, will grow to the size of a newborn dog. The mouse is cut in two, skinned and served to the Cat God while still warm. The intestines are left intact as pre digested grain served the cat well. On that diet, cats lived for a thousand years \. May Pharoah's grace bless all our cats, guardians of our soul in the land of Ra our final resting place but I must add one warning. The only difficulty in the TumRates method is this: keeping a mouse to be fattened requires a large cage of finest bronze or better yet, gold. And of course, one or two mice for each day of the year means that 400 cages are needed, something only a palace with a large store room full of these cages and with plenty of metallurgists to turn gold bars into cages --ergo something only a Pharaoh could accomplish. Last, rats are smart, loving and cute, only a psychopath could kill even one. Still, the obvious fact remains. The Cat God is worth it! For he protects the coin of our realm, our precious wheat."
That superlative and tedious dietary method comes from the First Kingdom of Thutmose and Akhnahtan and dates back 5,000 years and probably never has been excelled. The poor rats. Everybody has it in for them, except one woman I knew. VICKIE. She had 20 rats in her house, in and out cages and runs. And there was this one Alpha Rat who just adored her. One day Vickie's male human BF started slapping her around. She was screaming wildly and guess what? The Alpha Rat went from cage to floor zip zip leapt to bureau drawer, leapt up onto the bureau top surface and threw himself at the guy's throat and the vicious rat bites absolutely stopped the guy from beating Vickie up! This really happened, near Overland Avenue in West L.A. So it's also a very sad thing to kill a rodent as they love, they serve! Why don't we feed rodents daily and erect statues and heiroglyphics to them as some Hindus do. I mean, who ever had a CAT try to protect 'em! But that is a philosophic argument, for another day.
There is one thing that has NOT changed from Pharoah's time, cats and especially kitties ---have warmed their way into our hearts and thusly slid in through our front doors to actually lie with their litter soiled feet on our very beds all cuz we discovered what lovely companions they could be. Veritable EYE CANDY so they no longer have to fend for themselves. Problem is, their transition from the wild has not been altogether helpful to their overall health. My pal Edythe's two year old cat has diabetes, cost her a grand so far. I feel it's that cats are not supposed to eat carbs, not in the wild. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that we produced the first bag of starchy cat food, more for our own convenience than the well being of our feline friends, whose digestive systems were designed to process live meat, a far cry from dry kibble. And when kibble came in the door, health went out and we had a sub-culture of veterinarians to deal with the tsunami of cat disease we had. If you want convenience food, canned meats are no better. They are made of some mysterious part of the barnyard animal called 'by products.' and that is truly scary but it is way better than grain! (i.e. kibble.) The cat is more than a carnivore—she is an obligate carnivore. To survive, the cat must eat meat.
Basic Cat Nutritional Requirements. Cats, like all animals, require six classes of nutrients:
* Essential fatty acids
Notice that carbohydrates are not listed. Cats have essentially NO requirement for carbohydrates, (corn or barley or any of the grains used in kibble,) deriving all of their energy needs from a diet rich in protein and fat. The only carbohydrates their ancestors ate were the vegetables in the digestive tracts of their prey, which were already “pre-digested.” These carbohydrates made up about 3-5 percent of the cats’ diet.
The metabolic requirement for glucose in your cat is derived from proteins (glucogenic amino acids) and fats (glycerol)—she has no mechanism for converting carbohydrates to energy, like dogs and humans do. This is why animal protein is so crucial for cats. Cats need more protein than other carnivores.
One reason for this is, certain liver enzymes that break down proteins are always functional in cats (they are turned “on” and “off” in other animals). Therefore, your cat uses some energy merely to fuel this process, and that energy has to come from protein.
Two amino acids that are particularly important for your cat are arginine and taurine. Cats lack the enzyme that allows them to convert other amino acids into arginine, so they must obtain this from their diet. Cats use taurine alone for bile salt synthesis, so they need much more of this than other animals.
The secondary source of energy for cats is fat. Cats require more fat than dogs or humans—it is recommended that 15 to 40 percent of the energy content of your cat’s diet be derived from fat.
Unlike proteins, excess fat can be wasted/excreted by your cat’s system; therefore, it’s not a burden to her kidneys. Consequently, as a cat enters her senior years, the fat content of her diet should be increased somewhat while the protein is decreased proportionately. This way, the proper energy content is maintained while easing the burden on her aging kidneys.
Even your cats’ physical organ structure reflects her highly specialized digestive system.
She has a fairly small stomach and small, short intestine, because her diet is supposed to be concentrated, highly digestible, and low in residue—i.e., mostly protein. When she eats an excess of carbohydrates, much of the food is only partially digested by the time it reaches the large intestine for fecal formation, overloading the digestive and excretory systems.
What’s In Your Bag of Cat Food?
Now, take a look at the label on that bag of dry cat food in your pantry. Even if you have a “reputable” brand, chances are it has a fair amount of vegetable-derived carbohydrate and grain ingredients:
Even HUMANS would fester on a diet of that! Especially since all SOY has been hybridized and transmigrated into material suitable for Henry Ford's PLASTIC manufacturing. It isn't the SOY OF OLD China at all! Unfortunately, catfood manufacturers want something they can package up real pretty with photos of happy cats on the front and it’s hard to make a bag of dried meat. So they invented kibble. Bad move. Typical dry foods are 35-40 percent carbohydrate, and some are as high as 50 percent. SHUN THEM. Anyway, the *(&#%(@& just raised the price to $15.99 and lowered the weight from 18 to 16 pounds so VOTE WITH YOUR FEET! ENOUGH ALREADY! Tell Purina you're mad as Hell and won't take it anymore.
Also, all this time you were buying that pricey #*%& and feeding your precious felines a diet lower in protein, lower in moisture, and higher in carbohydrate than what they are biologically designed to eat you were KILLING THEM! Yes, the end result of that costly diet --Cats now share one major health problem with their human companions: obesity. The Dangers of Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and all the mucus based diseases as grain creates a body littered with pockets and lumps of pus and mucus. Bacteria find mucus in a living body, they think it's Acapulco. They proliferate. All the woes that migrated to the cat emulate those of the HUMAN chomping cake, pie, bread, milk, acidic meat without a serious side of green vegies. Cats were forced to eat costly and fatal junk!
Twenty five to 33 percent of cats are overweight or obese. In fact, obesity is the most common nutritional disorder among dogs and cats in the United States today.
In addition to dietary factors, neutered or spayed cats actually require about 25-30 percent fewer calories than non-neutered. There is some evidence that neutering might lead to disordered leptin control of body fat in male cats. Just like you and me, cats store excess carbohydrates as fat.
I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t neuter your Tom, but you should adjust his diet appropriately. Obese kitties are at risk for:
* Joint problems
* Heart disease
* Lower urinary tract diseases
* FHL (Feline Hepatic Lipodosis, aka “fatty liver syndrome”)
* Kidney problems, and
* Skin conditions
The majority of diabetes in cats is type II, at 65 percent, whereas in dogs, the overwhelming majority is type I diabetes (insulin-dependent). Since it is known that type II diabetes can be controlled and even prevented through diet, you have a very good chance of preventing your cat from developing this condition with the right choice of diet.
Excessive carbohydrates is directly linked to diabetes in cats. Carbohydrates break down into sugar, and sugar stresses your cat’s pancreas. Your kitty’s pancreas is designed to secrete insulin to balance the blood sugar, but when you’re feeding him an excessive amount of carbohydrates, which shouldn’t really be in the foods in the first place, diabetes can result.
High carbohydrate diets can lead to serious bladder problems for your kitty. Excessive carbs cause alkalization of your cat’s urine, which causes crystals cystitis and painful inflammation of the bladder.
Kidney and bladder stones can also occur from feeding your kitty food he wasn’t biologically designed to consume. In fact, the leading cause of death of cats in the United States is kidney failure.
Important Concerns Regarding the Overweight Kitty
Overweight cats have one particularly important health caution when it comes to diet and weight loss that I must mention, because it can be life-threatening. It is called Feline Hepatic Lipidosis (FHL, aka “Fatty Liver Syndrome”) and is characterized by excess fat accumulation in the liver of cats.
Fatty Liver Syndrome is the most common form of liver disease in cats in North America, and it is unique to felines.
It can occur in cats of any age or breed, and it occurs after a period of anorexia (loss of appetite) of a few days’ to a few weeks’ duration. After a few days without adequate food, the cat’s body will begin to use fat for energy. Cats do not metabolize fat well; therefore, the fat cells build up in the liver and rapidly prevent it from functioning normally. It isn’t long before the liver shuts down completely, which is life threatening if left untreated.
The cat developing FHL will begin to feel sick, which further suppresses his appetite, which accelerates the problem into a vicious cycle. Symptoms commonly seen with FHL are anorexia, weight loss, lethargy, vomiting, jaundice (yellow tinge to the skin, inside of the ears, and gums), and occasionally behavioral or neurological signs such as excessive drooling, blindness, coma or seizures.
Are You Feeding Your Cat High Quality Protein?
Another issue you have to contend with is the quality of the protein found in commercial cat foods. Initially, proteins used in cat foods were from fresh, living, whole sources. But in time, as with all big business, the almighty dollar demanded cheap substitutes. (horrific items!) To top it off, they baste everything in some very deadly oils! Yep, this is when rendering entered the scene.
Rendering is the recycling of animal remains into usable material. It involves cooking down raw animal parts to separate out the moisture and fat. Rendering plants are like giant recycling kitchens, boiling down the carcasses of everything from road kill, dead and diseased farm animals, poultry waste and supermarket rejects.
When you see ingredients such as meat meal, fishmeal, poultry meal, meat by-products, tallow, beef fat, chicken fat, etc—these came from a rendering plant, which were then sold to feed industries, including pet food manufacturers. Rendered means “not for human consumption.” DEADLY.
As important as recycling is today, the problem comes from the contaminants that go into the mix. Rendering plants are unavoidably processing toxic waste.
Animals are frequently tossed into “the pit” with flea collars still on, so you have insecticides going in. Pharmaceuticals given to livestock, euthanasia drugs given to pets, and heavy metals from pet ID tags, surgical pins and needles, and a variety of plastic ends up in the toxic soup. Every week, millions of packages of expired plastic-wrapped meat go through the rendering process and become one of the unwanted ingredients in animal feed.
Obviously, this recycled, ultra processed matter does not offer your kitty much in terms of nutritional value, and the sad fact is that rendered material exists in more than 90 percent of cat foods on the market today.
There is some good news, however. There are a few smaller companies who offer quality cat food made with human-grade ingredients. They are a bit harder to find, but they’re out there. If you are in love with your current pet food and the label looks decent, I suggest you call the company and simply ask if the food is approved for human consumption. That’s a good start.
Canned or Dry?
From the perspective of moisture content, canned food is by far superior to dry food in meeting your cat’s needs, for the reasons discussed in the previous section about moisture content. Of course, we’re used to convenience, and it’s really easy and quick to scoop some kibble into a dish and leave it out, and expect our kitties to thrive.
Unfortunately, this is a convenience we need to break.
Dry food has been touted to be the saver of cat’s teeth. Supposedly, chewing the dry food cleans their teeth. However, this has not proven true since most cats swallow dry food whole, chewing very little of it, and what does get chewed often gets stuck between their teeth due to the type of jaw motion cats have. There, it ferments, causing dental problems. Yet you pay 16$ a bag for all this???
In general, canned food is also higher in protein than dry kibble. The carbohydrate isn’t needed for “structural” purposes. Since your kitty doesn’t need the carbs for nutrition, this is just one more reason that canned food is better for him.
I challenge you to gradually wean your kitty onto home cooked meats very inexpensive as good human fare costs less than 99c. an lb if you buy it on sale and every supermarket has a sale of some kind every weak. You buy the meat loss leader items. In last few weeks, chicken quarters were given at 49c. lb and 39c lb if you buy a ten puond pack. You freeze packages in the size you need for a day's fare. Breaking the big pckg down. Pork shoulder and loin chops usually at 3$ went for 99c.lb at the height of the Swine Flu scare Spring 2009. Barring that cooking tactic, use a high quality, human-grade canned cat food. It is important to do this in a gentle way since cats don’t respond well to a mandate. It requires patience. But the benefit to your kitty’s health and happiness will be so worth the time and effort.
Once your cat is eating human-grade canned food, consider weaning him or her onto a balanced raw food diet. This is the most biologically appropriate food you could offer your cat.
What to Look For in Your Cat Chow
The canned food should be USDA-inspected and declared safe for human consumption, and it should contain essentially no carbohydrates (less than 3-5percent). Here are some other considerations:
* The use of by-products: Heads, feet, bones, tendons, ligaments, intestines and other unsavory body parts can all be labelled “protein,” but are inferior sources of protein and difficult to digest. This means less nutrition and more clean up.
* Chemical preservatives and artificial colors: BHA, BHT, and ethoxoquin can be very harmful to pets. Artificial colors are also linked to health problems.
* Grains: Corn, soy, wheat gluten and corn gluten are often used instead of meat, but are nothing more than cheap fillers and are difficult for your cat to digest.
* Freshness: Many large manufacturers make pet food in huge batches formulated to last for a very long time, so you may be buying food that has been sitting on warehouse shelves for six months to a year.
* Cooking Method: Often companies use rigorous cooking techniques that destroy most of the beneficial nutrients—just like when you boil vegetables to death. The result is poor nutritional quality.
Now, look at the first five ingredients. These play a significant role in the nutritional make-up of the food. Ask yourself these questions:
* What are the protein sources? The primary source should come from quality animal protein, not vegetable protein or grain. Foods that list 2 or more grains in the first 5 ingredients might have more vegetable protein than animal protein, which is not as good for your cat.
* What are the fat sources? The primary fat source should be animal-based because animal fats contain a profile of fatty acids that are easily metabolized and thus generally more bioavailable to your cat.
* Are there by-products? You don’t want any of those!
* Are there other health-promoting ingredients? Vegetables and fruits, antioxidants, chelated minerals, bacteria cultures (probiotics), eggs, and essential fatty acids seed meal are excellent things to find in the ingredient list.
However, cats can’t convert ALA to EFA/DHA, so make sure it does not contain flax (unless you need to bulk up your pet’s stool).
You might need to call the manufacturer to get answers to some of these questions, since there is limited information on the label. Any company worth their salt should be happy to have a representative speak with you. Cats should be fed two to three times per day (consult your holistic vet if your cat has health problems). The days of the all-you-can-eat kitty buffet have come to an end.
To stimulate your cat’s desire to try new foods, you have to create a little bit of hunger throughout the day. Cats were meant to fast between meals, so these periods of hunger are actually good for their metabolism (although Sylvester will undoubtedly try to convince you he is close to dying of a cruel and painful starvation). Start by picking up your cat’s bowl in between 2-3 square meals a day. After your cat is regimented to twice daily feeding, begin slowly mixing in new foods with their old diet. With persistence and help from your holistic veterinarian, you can successfully wean your cat onto a healthier diet.
Don’t give in, no matter what! You KNOW how persuasive he can be. There are times your cat will want you to believe he is on his last, dying breath—especially if he’s been free-feeding and has forgotten what hunger feels like--but this will pass as he adjusts to his new routine. Don’t feed your cat when he’s begging for food…stick to feeding your 2-3 meals a day or you’ll only create a diabetic, overweight monster! By lovingly, yet firmly sticking to your commitment to improve your cat’s diet you can successfully wean you cat onto healthier food and create a healthier future for your feline friend.
I take my cats to a homeopathic specialist and she has recommended the same thing in the way of feeding. She recently began selling a new raw meat food especially conceived for cats. Since my cats are used to eating raw meat (chicken, chicken hearts and liver, and groin), I decided to try the new food that comes frozen. Unfortunately, they refused to eat it, no matter what I tried. I have to admit that I got weak as two miauing cats kept following me around. What no one told me so far is to only feed them 2x daily. I will try again and see if that works. But can one teach an older cat (12 years) to eat new food? I tried the raw meat diet with my dog (she was 11)and she developed a liver weakness. I then went back to the canned food after finding a super organic food. After that she was healthy and had the nicest fur she ever had in her entire life.
I bought 2 new cats, and have fed them a raw diet since I got them at 4 months old.. They have done extremely well on it until now. One cat has developed an allergy to the commercial food or supplement, and I have to start giving him something else. My vet thinks, and this agrees with what Dr. Becker says, that since they have gotten the same food for 2 years, they have become allergic, and I have to rotate food. I have no clue what to use, since this is the only raw food I have available in my area. I have been feeding a mix of raw chicken and bones with livers and gizzards, and supplementing with Platinim Performance. Good luck
NOTE: It is surprising how difficult it is to find a dry food brand that has no grains. In fact I haven't been able to find another one so far, apart from Innova Evo.
Also, I did try to give my kitties the canned version from the same brand but they don't like that. They will only eat the can version if they are really hungry. So I stick with the dry one and revitalised water (http://www.alivewater.net).
Anita's Response. The RECIPES AT MY HOMEMADE FOOD page will really help you out. Its next best to PHARAOH'S GOLDEN CAGES. Find a lower life form that will not protect you if your boyfriend beats on your face, like a fish, a tilapia or something, a possum would be good as they're dumb as a bag of hammers and are abundant on all city and rural properties. So hook it or shoot it and cook it up daily for your furball. Or just split, peel and serve warm and bloody but Rodents are a higher life form and I wish long life to them. They are the Vegan spiritual being that all California yuppies only dream of being. Ask Vickie!
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