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.

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