How do I choose the right food for my fat kitty?
When choosing a food for your cat there are three primary
nutrients you need to consider. Protein, fat and carbohydrates are the only
variables in determining the energy content of your cat’s food. How these
variables are mixed and matched will determine how that food is digested and
what effect it will have on their metabolism and their long term weight and health.
Your cat is an obligate carnivore and by definition; cats
have no nutritional requirement for starch/carbohydrates. In the wild, cats primarily
consume small prey animals of every type. Since mice are a main stay for many
small carnivores around the world, it may be helpful to use them as a model. The
body composition of the typical juvenile mouse is 52-56% protein, 22-28% fat
and 4-6% starch/glycogen/carbohydrates. As you can see, your cat was only meant
to consume a very small amount of starch/carbs. Think of starch/carbs
metabolically as a diabetic human would high fructose corn syrup. For your cat,
starch digests much faster than protein and yet protein and starch both have
the same 3.5 calories per gram.
Because your cat is an obligate carnivore, the rate at which
their metabolism operates and absorbs glucose from the blood stream, is the
same rate that the digestion of protein/fat will supply glucose to the blood
stream. Because starch digests much faster, it dumps more glucose/energy into
their blood stream than they can use to fuel their metabolism at any given
time. The excess glucose has to be removed from the blood to prevent harm, so
the body produces excess insulin to remove the excess glucose from the blood
and then stores that excess glucose as fat. Now with the blood glucose levels
reduced, your cat again becomes hungry and the whole process starts again.
Their body fat slowly rises over time and the pancreas continues to do double
duty. This unnecessary over use of the pancreas is most likely why we see such
an epidemic of diabetes
in our cats. Before 1960, diabetes was rare and the
diet of the average cat consisted almost entirely of meat and virtually no starch/carbs.
It is all about balance and nature has already showed us the
balance that is necessary to properly maintain your cat. We believe that every
diet should contain less than 6% starch. Once you are feeding a carnivore
balanced diet it is unlikely that you will have weight issues with your cat.