Cats are very different from dogs in terms of physique and behavior but have you ever considered that the nutritional needs of a cat are different from that of a dog. This difference is due to the fast metabolism of cats. It helps to know your pet’s food requirements. The cat is an obligate carnivore whereas a dog is an omnivore. It means the cat likes to eat meat to fulfill its protein requirements. Cat’s protein requirement is higher than that of dogs. As cats digest protein faster comparatively which means they need more protein on a daily basis.

Protein requirements of a dog and a cat on a daily basis?

The ideal body weight of a dog needs 1 pound of protein daily whereas a healthy cat needs 2 pounds of protein to meet body requirements.

According to official guidelines of the Association of American feed control for cat nutrition, adult cat food must contain at least 26% crude protein (CP) by weight and kitten food must contain 30% CP by weight.

Many veterinarians believe that cats need 35 to 45% protein daily in their food. This percentage is enough to grow strong tissues and muscles in cats.

How to calculate the protein requirements of a cat?

To provide your cat with an adequate amount of protein on a daily basis, you need to know how much food she eats and what percentage of protein is present in that food.

  1. Firstly check the weight of your cat. For example, it is 10 Pounds.
  2. Determine how many grams of food your cat eats.

Suppose that your cat eats 160 grams of canned food daily.

  1. Determine how many grams of protein she is fed daily.

If the company claims that 160 grams of canned food contains 16 grams of protein; it means that your cat is intaking1.6 grams of protein per pound of its weight. (Amount of protein/weight of cat)= 16/10 = 1.6 gram

  1. In the case of dry food, we can say that if a cat eats 50 grams of food each day and the company claims that 50 grams of food contains 20 grams of protein. It means that a cat with a weight of 10 pounds is taking 20 grams of protein per day to meet its nutritional requirements.

What is the importance of protein for cats?

Protein is an essential part of a cat’s diet. Your cat needs an optimum protein diet daily to make hair, skin, and muscles strong

It is fuel for al biological processes occurring in the cat’s body. Protein is the main source of energy for a cat. Good quality proteins are highly digestible in cats.

Why do senior cats’ protein requirements are different from cats of other age groups?

 We know that cats need more protein in food than any other pet but its requirement changes with the age full stop in case of kittens. We need to add a high protein diet to maintain adequate protein levels in the blood. Senior cats’ needs for protein are different from adult cats and kittens.

High-quality protein like chicken should be added to their diet.

Senior cats mostly suffer from chronic kidney disease due to the intake of high protein in their diet or low-quality protein.

Sometimes they suffer from loss of body muscles due to deficiency of protein.

 So care must be taken while selecting a diet for senior cats.

Cat food with good digestibility and high-quality protein should be selected for them.

Why must taurine be present in a cat’s diet as a protein source?

Taurine is an essential amino acid for a cat’s health. High-quality animal-based protein diets will supply an appropriate level of taurine for healthy cats. Cats have limited ability to make taurine in the body. It must be provided from outer sources in the form of a diet.  It is important for heart function, digestive system, normal vision, to maintain pregnancy, and for a healthy immune system in cats.

Cats must consume taurine regularly as it is not stored in large quantities in the body.

What are high-quality protein sources for cats?

Cats love to eat food that contains animal protein sources. These protein sources are high-quality protein sources to add to cat food.

 Animal protein presents in cats diet mainly obtained from

  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Lamb

Animal proteins are the best source of essential amino acids and they are easiest to digest for cats.

Before purchasing any cat food, check the label on food showing the composition of that food. It must contain animal protein like salmon, chicken, and turkey, etc. 

Purchase cat food that contains protein in the form of specific protein sources other than meat derivatives like a fish meal for poultry meal.

What status of protein should be considered in readymade cat food?

  • It must contain at least 25% protein content
  • Look for cat food that contains specific protein source other than need derivatives coma
  • Select that food that contains high-quality animal protein from tuna, salmon, etc.
  • Cat food must contain taurine as an essential amino acid because a cat’s body cannot make the required amount of taurine.

Does wet food provide a good amount of protein or dry food?

Canned food (wet food) is mostly a meat-based diet that contains high-quality animal protein sources. Whereas dry food contains plant-based protein sources.

Cats can easily process animal protein as compared to protein drive from plants like grains and vegetables.

Wet food (canned food) usually contains more protein than dry food. As canned food mostly prepared from meat sources.

According to the thumb rule, canned food must contain 10% protein and dry food 40% protein.

What are the side effects of feeding a cat protein-deficient diet?

If your cat is not getting enough protein in its diet then she may have the following problem

  • Unhealthy skin
  • Inactive
  • Dullness
  • Rough coat
  • Poor digestive health
  • Poor eyesight
  • Inefficient immune system to fight  against infections
  • Infertility

What are the side effects of feeding a cat on a diet containing more than the required % age of protein?

If your cat feeds on an excessive protein diet, it results into  following problems

  • Obesity
  • Kidney stones
  • Liver problems
  • Release of more nitrogen into the environment through feces and urine


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