Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they require a diet that is high in animal-based proteins and fats. In addition to these macronutrients, cats also need essential vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. Knowing which nutrients are essential for cats can help you provide your pet with the best possible nutrition.
Protein is the most important nutrient for cats. It provides them with essential amino acids that their bodies cannot produce on their own. Animal-based proteins such as chicken, beef, fish, and eggs are the best sources of protein for cats. Plant-based proteins such as beans and grains should be avoided as they do not provide the same quality of amino acids that animal proteins do.
Fats are an important source of energy for cats and provide them with essential fatty acids such as omega-3s and omega-6s. Animal fats such as chicken fat or fish oil are the best sources of fat for cats. Plant-based fats such as vegetable oils should be avoided as they do not provide the same quality of fatty acids that animal fats do.
Cats need certain vitamins to stay healthy, including :
- vitamin A
- vitamin D
- vitamin E
- thiamine (vitamin B1)
- riboflavin (vitamin B2)
- niacin (vitamin B3)
- pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
- pyridoxine (vitamin B6)
- biotin (vitamin B7)
- folate (vitamin B9)
- cobalamin (vitamin B12)
These vitamins can be found in animal-based foods such as liver, eggs, fish, and dairy products. Some commercial cat foods also contain added vitamins to ensure your cat is getting all the nutrients it needs.
Cats need certain minerals to stay healthy including calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium and iodine. These minerals can be found in animal-based foods such as liver and eggs or in some commercial cat foods that contain added minerals.
Providing your cat with a balanced diet that contains all the essential nutrients it needs is key to keeping it healthy and happy. Animal-based proteins should make up the majority of your cat’s diet while providing it with essential vitamins and minerals from other sources will ensure it gets all the nutrition it needs to thrive.