Metabolism in cats: what is special?

The metabolism in cats differs from that of many other living things, such as dogs or humans. Our beloved velvet paws have the metabolism of true carnivores, for example they need a lot of protein and little to no carbohydrates. Find out more about this here. Cats have a remarkable metabolism - Shutterstock / Joseph M. Arseneau

In nature, the rule applies: the larger the living being, the slower the metabolism. Cats resemble human infants in terms of size and heart rate, with around 120 heartbeats per minute. In order for every metabolism to function properly, the right food must be supplied.

Metabolism: high protein requirement

A cat's metabolism craves proteins, colloquially called protein. So-called gluconeogenesis, i.e. the conversion of proteins to glucose in the body, depends on a rich supply of protein. This differentiates the metabolism of cats, for example, from that of dogs that need carbohydrates in their food. As a rule, cats only eat up to two percent of carbohydrates through their food. In contrast to dogs, they lack certain digestive enzymes that are necessary for the utilization of carbohydrates. For example, you should not and should not give cats carbohydrates, such as rice or noodles, in cat food and make sure that there is no grain in the finished food.

Cats rely on certain amino acids

The specialization in proteins has the peculiarity that cats need certain amino acids and have to ingest them through their food. The conversion of the large amount of protein produces ammonia, which can only be properly excreted if the amino acid arginine reaches the metabolism of a cat. Usually, however, this is not a problem, since arginine is found in many foods, for example in chicken meat. A deficiency is therefore rare.

Another amino acid important for cats is taurine, which our sofa lions rely on. This was not known in the past and cat food lacked taurine - no one knew better at the time. Today, all common ready-made foods usually contain the amino acid, so a deficiency in normal cat nutrition is also rare. If you make your cat food yourself, you should add the necessary additives for your fur nose - it is best to consult your veterinarian if you are unsure about what your cat needs. You can also find the first tips in our guide: "Cat fishes: 4 things you should know"

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Cat metabolism requires no sugar and little fat

Cats need no sugar and little fat. When buying cat food, make sure that no sugar is added. The cat's body tolerates fat relatively well, but with the exception of the essential fatty acid arachidonic acid it cannot do much with it. If you give your cat too much fat, it will accumulate and there will be weight gain. Diarrhea can also be the result of too much fat in the cat's diet.

Cats need little water

Since our Felltigers originally come from dry savanna areas, they still need little water today. They can use the drinking water available to them very efficiently and therefore have to drink significantly less than dogs or humans. The highlight: cats cover their fluid requirements in the wild to about 80 or 90 percent from their prey (birds or mice, for example). In your home, this depends on the cat food. In any case, every cat owner must constantly offer fresh water to his kitty. Caution with dry food: This contains hardly any liquid and increases the cat's water requirements considerably. Dry food is also suspected to trigger dental problems. Try to feed your fur nose as much as possible, preferably exclusively, with wet food or barf that is tailored to the needs of the cat.

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