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Mistakes People Make Feeding Cats

Are you making one of these blunders when you feed your precious puss?
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Cat Feeding Mistakes: Going Vegetarian or Vegan

According to some vets, another up-and-coming mistake made when feeding cats is trying to make cats vegetarians or vegans.

Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they must eat mainly meat and animal organs to thrive. The amino acid taurine, for example, is found only in animal tissue. Lack of taurine can lead a cat to experience heart problems, blindness, and even death.

“The nutrients cats need that come from meat, can be provided in the food synthetically,” Case says. “But you have to be very careful, and aware of the cat's nutritional idiosyncrasies.” Because most of us aren’t quite sure of our own nutritional needs, it can be next to impossible to guess the needs of our cats.

Cat Feeding Mistakes: Creating Nutrient Deficiencies

The interest in homemade food for cats (and dogs) is on the rise, say the pros. It is important to realize however that homemade does not always mean healthy.

“A mistake that I often see well-meaning people make is the feeding of unbalanced homemade diets,” Pierson says.

That’s because when making cat food from scratch, some people fail to balance the meat with the correct amount of calcium, forgetting “that a cat would be eating both the meat and bones of their prey, which provides a proper calcium-to-phosphorus ratio.”

A cat diet too heavy in tuna, liver, or liver oil (such as cod liver oil), can lead to vitamin A toxicosis, resulting in bone and joint pain, brittle bones, and dry skin. A diet too rich in raw fish can destroy vitamin B1, causing muscle weakness, seizures, or brain damage. “If a feline caregiver wishes to make their pet's food, they need to follow a properly balanced recipe,” Pierson says.

One way to do that is to start by talking to your veterinarian, who can guide you away from food fads and steer you toward a balanced, healthy eating plan for your cat.

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Reviewed on April 21, 2012
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