2023 Author: Alex Livingston | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 11:39
When it comes to the right diet for our cats, it is normal to look everywhere for information and suggestions on what is more or less suitable for them. However, conflicting opinions often circulate about what is best to do, perhaps with regard to a certain type of food. For example, this is the case of cereals: there are those who claim that they are absolutely safe for a cat and those who instead make it a matter of the quantity administered or think that everything depends on the specific cereal taken into consideration. So let's try to clarify the question: i cats can eat grains in complete safety?
Cereals are an excellent source of fiber for us, which we consider healthy for our body. Some cat owners seem to believe that this could also apply to felines. This is not exactly the case: if we are omnivores, cats are descended from generations and generations of wild predators and are still carnivores.
What does this difference mean? First of all, a different nutritional and energy requirement, which is mainly based on the intake of proteins and fats of animal origin for sustenance. Their organism has evolved for millions of years based on the consumption of meat, and therefore this is the food in which a large part of their diet must consist.
This does not necessarily mean that our cat should not consume any other type of food: plant-based foods can be a pleasant supplement for him and provide him with an additional supply of useful nutrients, but it is essential to make sure that they are only a minimum part of the animal's meal. In fact, his digestive system is unable to assimilate some substances, especially if taken in large quantities.
Let's take an example: the dog, considered basically omnivorous, produces a certain amount of said enzymes amylase, which allow it to digest complex starches and carbohydrates contained in vegetables and cereals. A cat produces only a third of it than it does, and it is therefore evident how a diet based on carbohydrates and starches can cause it not only digestive problems but also long-term ailments such as obesity and diabetes (due to excess glucose which forces the pancreas to produce more insulin than it should).
But it does not end there: regardless of the differences between carnivores and omnivores, it is good to consider the specific case of cereals. They are low in vitamins and minerals, and the shells of their seeds contain substances (such as gluten, lectins, phytates and exorphins) called antinutrients as they are actively harmful to the body.
In fact, they cause many problems both to us and to our cat friends: not only that they destroy digestive enzymes but they make it difficult to absorb other substances (such as proteins, iron, calcium, zinc, manganese and magnesium) and weaken the intestinal walls, favoring the onset of autoimmune diseases such as arthritis and dermatitis. They also tend to be addictive without satisfying enough. This applies to all cereals except white rice.
It goes without saying, therefore, that if a small portion of plant-based foods can be introduced into a cat's diet, cereals they are not good food for them. This does not mean that by consuming it they will certainly have problems, but controlling the quantity and above all the quality can only do them good.
Many brands of industrial cat food, in fact, aim to save (theirs and yours) by inserting in their kibble waste cereals insufficiently controlled, perhaps containing pesticides and toxic substances; and they are often given preference over meat, which we know is much more important to a cat. Some animals subjected to this diet even for a long time may not be very affected, at least at the beginning, but others are much more sensitive. So why take the risk?
Fortunately, there are exceptions: FirstMate treats are totally free from cereals and legumes. Furthermore, the nutrients they contain (proteins, fats and carbohydrates, plus the antioxidants of some fruits) are perfectly balanced to fully satisfy the nutritional needs of a cat and keep it always healthy.
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