There are so many different types of cat food that it is not easy to keep up with all of them. Especially because there are many differences with respect to the composition. One of the main ingredients that your cat’s food should contain is protein. So why is protein essential for your cat? Or rather, which proteins does she need and which other nutrients should a healthy cat food contain?
How do cats eat in nature?
Food essentially consists of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and water, plus additional vitamins and minerals. But the human body has quite different requirements of its food than your cat’s body requires of its feed. This is because people are more or less omnivorous and, even if your cat sees itself as a cuddly indoor pet, they actually are predators that need to hunt their food in nature.
For this reason, cats need a lot from their food. A variety of prey animals in nature not only covers the energy requirement in general, it also provides an optimum variety of amino acids (the components of proteins) and fatty acids (the components of fats). Such a balanced diet is the best way for cats to prevent deficiencies, guarantee performance and live healthily to a ripe old age.
Proteins in the cat food: What does it all come down to?
Healthy cats need more protein in their food compared to dogs. In nature, cats live a strictly carnivorous life, which means that they are purely meat eaters. For this reason they do not tolerate carbohydrates as well as dogs, and they also need to absorb more essential nutrients through their food, and these occur primarily or exclusively in animal tissues. The exception to this protein content rule applies to cats with kidney disease. For them, a food with a lower protein content is gentler on the kidneys. If your cat suffers from a kidney insufficiency or other health problems, we recommend that you discuss a suitable diet first with your vet.
Like people, cats also need essential amino acids and fatty acids. These are nutrients that their body is unable to make itself, so they have to be absorbed from their food. For example, cats need to absorb adequate amounts of the *amino acids taurine and arginine and the fatty acid arachidonic acid** from their food. A taurine deficiency can lead to heart damage, weakened immune defences and retinal damage, for example.