Cats + Diet & Nutrition

  • This handout discusses the risks and benefits of feeding a home-prepared versus commercial diet to your cat or dog. Topics highlighted include food safety, nutritional imbalances, and the need to ensure that any home-prepared diet has been well researched for nutritional safety and completeness.

  • Veterinarians recognize the relationship between nutrition and the health of the skin and haircoat. It is important to prevent malnutrition, both by preventing deficiencies AND excesses of nutrients. Your veterinarian is the very best source of information and guidance for choosing the most appropriate nutrient profile for your cat.

  • By-products are ingredients commonly found in commercial pet foods and are considered highly desirable by many human cultures. However, there is ambiguity surrounding this term and misperceptions related to overall nutritional value. This article reviews the formal definition of by-products in the pet food industry and highlights the nutritional and environmental benefits they provide.

  • Corn and grain have been included in commercial pet foods for many years. Recently, however, these ingredients have been portrayed in the media as "fillers" that provide little nutritional value to pet foods. Conversely, corn and grain provide a wide range of essential nutrients that support the health of both dogs and cats. This article explores this topic with reference to specific nutritional benefits.

  • In North America, obesity is the most common preventable disease in cats and is one of the most common overall. Almost 60% of domestic cats are overweight. Scientific evidence now reveals that fat tissue is biologically active; it secretes inflammatory hormones and creates oxidative stress on the body’s tissue, both of which contribute to many diseases and decrease quality of life. Treating obesity as a chronic, low-level inflammatory condition is the new approach.

  • The American Animal Hospital Association and American Veterinary Medical Association have established guidelines to standardize preventive health care for cats, helping them to live longer, healthier lives. This handout provides an overview of the recommendations within these guidelines and why they are so important.

  • Adding a new kitten to your family is a lot of fun, but it is also a big responsibility. This handout reviews basic kitten care, including vaccinations, internal and external parasites, nutrition, and nail care. It also reviews the importance of early spay/neuter and microchip identification.

  • The "ancestral diet" for dogs and cats is a broad term for a feeding plan that generally mimics what a wolf or wild cat might consume in the wilderness. In practice, there is great variability in nutrients, ingredients, and safety considerations for food sold or produced as an ancestral diet. This article reviews these considerations, so that pet owners, along with their veterinary care teams, can make informed decisions for their pets.

  • Taurine is a type of amino acid. Amino acids are the building blocks of all proteins. Taurine is an essential amino acid for cats. Taurine deficiency leads to feline taurine retinopathy, a weakening of the muscle cells in the heart (dilated cardiomyopathy) and may cause digestive disturbances. Since the 1980s, all cat diets are supplemented with enough taurine to meet the normal cat's needs. A healthy cat that eats a high-quality cat food that is appropriate to its life stage does not require supplementation. Supplemental taurine is used as a treatment for dilated cardiomyopathy in cats.

  • Nutrition plays an essential role in treating and preventing urinary stones (uroliths). Since the diet can affect urine dilution, composition and pH, pet foods can be critical to the success or failure of treatment and prevention. Important factors are covered, such as the importance of water intake, diet composition, relative supersaturation (RSS) testing, and urinary diets.

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