Video: Basic Principles Of Feeding Cats
2023 Author: Molly Page | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 22:49
Even Karl Marx wrote that human life is unthinkable without three things - food, water and clothing. In this regard, the life of cats is somewhat easier, at least they do not need clothes. But our four-legged friends also cannot do without food and water. For a cat to grow and develop normally, the diet must contain all the components necessary for its metabolic processes (proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and water).
Feeding is one of the main determinants of the health, production and use of animals, as well as their longevity - this is approximately where I start a conversation with pet owners who are having problems feeding their pets. Every year I notice that my instructions are becoming more concise. It is possible that the years take their toll and much is forgotten. Or maybe the reason for this was the massive transition to dry food and canned food. Indeed, the wave of ready-to-use pet foods has divided owners into two irreconcilable camps.
Some argue that they will not be able to calculate how many different components of the diet are required for his pet in different periods of life - there is no time, and they will not be able to do it as accurately as specialists involved in the production of ready-made feeds.
Others, foaming at the mouth, prove that they have raised more than one generation of cats on natural products. At the same time, they will definitely point a finger at some shabby cat with urolithiasis from the next apartment, who in their lives have not eaten anything else except these “ready-made surrogates”.
Both opinions are not groundless, but we will not discuss them now because:
- the principles of composing the diet in both cases are the same;
- they are based (or should be based) on the physiological needs of the animal.
Principle 1. Optimal ration volume. Still "not knowing measures" and kittens feel that they have satisfied their hunger only after filling most of the stomach with food. Sometimes this happens with adult animals, especially if they get some tasty food. An excess amount of food is poorly processed by the secretions of the digestive tract (saliva, gastric and intestinal juices, bile) and simply cannot be fully digested. As a result, most of the nutrients are not absorbed. Disposal of fodder filling the stomach and intestines comes with vomiting or diarrhea. Their consequences can be very different, but they do not exhaust all possible troubles. An overcrowded stomach has a high degree of inertia and when the animal moves sharply, it twists around its axis. It is only possible to save the life of a carnivore with gastric volvulus with a timely visit to a veterinarian, and even then not always, because to do this, you must first cut off and then sew this organ to the esophagus and duodenum, on which it hangs.
The required amount of ration is determined for each cat individually. It varies widely, both between animals of the same weight of different breeds, and between individuals of the same breed. In general, the amount of food should be sufficient to satisfy the hunger, but not have a significant long-term negative effect on the activity of the cat. In most cases, when an animal gets used to a constant feeding regimen, its body itself limits the amount of food taken.
Principle 2. Optimality of calorie content. Cat food is primarily a source of energy that allows you to maintain a constant body temperature, muscle function and all organs of the animal.
Experts at the Waltham Research Center recommend determining the average daily energy requirements of animals in moderate climatic conditions using the formula:
E = 125 M (0.7) kcal, where M is the body weight of the animal (kg).
A cat's energy needs depend on the ambient temperature, coat condition, gender, age, physical activity and physiological state of the animal. Indoor animals also use 8-10% less energy than cats constantly living outdoors or in open enclosures. In the latter, energy needs decrease by about 15% in summer and increase by the same amount in winter. All other conditions being equal, long-haired cats need less (by about 10-15%) amount of energy than short-haired cats. Small animals have a more intense energy metabolism than large ones. Cats use 5-7% more energy than cats. Greater mobility requires more energy supply.
With growth, pregnancy, lactation and physical exertion, the need for energy increases in proportion to its consumption.
With an energy deficit in the diet, the cat uses the reserves of its own body, and when they run out, it will begin to lose weight and become less active. Excess energy is also not beneficial - most often its consequence is the formation of abundant fatty deposits in the subcutaneous tissue and on internal organs (liver, heart, etc.).
To calculate the energy capacity of the diet according to the above formula, you need to know that “burning” in the body 1 g of protein gives 4 kcal, 1 g of fat - 9 kcal, and 1 g of carbohydrates - 3.5 kcal.
Principle 3. Completeness. The amount of fats, proteins and carbohydrates a cat needs can be determined without much difficulty. But the nutritional value of the diet is not limited to just these components. We must not forget about minerals and vitamins. Without them, the normal course of biological processes is not possible, incl. and assimilation of nutrients obtained from the feed.
Principle 4. Food should be enjoyable. You can create a diet that fully meets the needs of your four-legged friend. But all the work will go "down the drain" if he refuses this diet or its individual components. The taste of our pets is of paramount importance in this matter, and one cannot but reckon with it. Thus, a properly compiled diet should be considered the set of feed and dressing that not only meets the physiological needs of the animal, but also brings him pleasure.
Principle 5. Harmlessness. The evidence of this does not need proof. Probably, it would never occur to anyone to specifically add hazardous or toxic substances to the food of a four-legged companion. But often we do it out of ignorance. For example, do you know what is the most common reason for visiting veterinarians (especially after the holidays)?
But the presence in the diet of sugar, starch, wheat (and to a lesser extent corn) flour, raw egg white, excess salt will make itself felt later (sometimes after several months). Such "excesses" lead to diseases of the skin, pancreas, and digestive tract.
There is also the danger of increased sensitivity of the organism of individual animals to certain foods. Including them in the diet will certainly lead to the development of allergies. Some firms that produce ready-made feeds are strongly instilling in their customers the idea that meat for many animals is an allergen. It seems to me more likely that for our smaller brothers, as well as for their wild relatives, it is not meat that causes allergies, but those components of the diet with which they are trying to replace it.
Source: Doctor Dobrodeev, magazine "Between a cat and a dog", 2002 - 1
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