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Lynn Curtis


Feline Nutrition: Nutrition for the Optimum Health and Longevity of your Cat

Table of Contents ExcerptsOrdering Information


Paperback: 132 pages

Published: July 2011

ISBN: 978-1461057338

Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 inches


Lynn's love for cats has inspired her to write a much needed book about feline nutrition. Many commercial cat foods are not complete and balanced as one would mistakenly believe. Commercial foods meet only minimum and maximum requirements that convey only minimum health benefits with minimum lifespan.

Lynn's experience with her own cats and their challenges both physically and medically pushed her to seek out information about nutrition and optimal health.

Many feline diseases such as diabetes, obesity, urinary tract disorders, chronic renal disease, and irritable bowel syndrome can be directly attributed to low moisture, low-meat-protein, and high-carbohydrate levels that plague many of today's commercially produced cat foods.

Many cats survive on these dry, supplemented, plant-based diets but they do not thrive.

This book will discuss feline anatomy and physiology (explaining how a cat's body metabolizes nutrients) coupled with interpreting pet food labels which will help you make healthy selections whether choosing to purchase commercial foods or making a home-prepared raw diet to feed your cat.



Chapter 1 - The Carnivorous Cat
Chapter 2 - The Basics
Chapter 3 - Proteins & Amino Acids
Chapter 4 - Fats & Fatty Acids
Chapter 5 - Carbohydrates & Fiber
Chapter 6 - Vitamins
Chapter 7 - Minerals
Chapter 8 - Water
Chapter 9 - Idiopathic Diseases of Cats
Chapter 10 - FDA & AAFCO Regulations & Guidelines
Chapter 11 - Interpreting Pet Food Labels
Chapter 12 - Choosing a Commercial Feline Diet
Chapter 13 - Feeding, Daily Caloric Intake & Weight Loss
Chapter 14 - Homemade Raw Cat Food
Chapter 15 - Switching Your Cat to a Wet Diet
Appendix A - Useful Websites & Information
Appendix B - Nutritional Calculations
Appendix C - Raw Cat Food Recipes
Appendix D - Supplies for Raw Cat Food
Appendix E - Cost Analysis

EXCERPT - from Chapter 1 - The Carnivorous Cat

Cats are obligate (strict or true) carnivores, meaning they require certain nutrients that they cannot synthesize which are only found in meat. The very name carnivore means devourer of flesh. Cats large and small, wild and domestic need to eat meat as their main source of nutrients. Dogs, bears, and raccoons are all facultative (optional) carnivores or omnivores, meaning they can and do eat both meat and plant matter. However, when given a choice, they will always choose meat if it is available.

A cat is solely designed to hunt, kill, eat, and process meat. Through millions of years of evolution, felids have developed unique characteristics of anatomy, physiology, metabolism, and behavior indicative of obligate carnivores.

Domestic cats have 38 chromosomes (strands of DNA in a cell's nucleus that carry genes) while dogs have 78. This demonstrates that cats ceased evolving further after reaching their obligatory carnivorous status, genetically. They never evolved to incorporate plant materials into their diets.

EXCERPT - from Chapter 5 - Carbohydrates & Fiber

Carbohydrates come from plant sources such as cereal grains, fruits, and vegetables. Grains are cheap and dry food is convenient. In the United States, corn is cheap and readily available. It also supplies a sizable quantity of protein, however, the cat cannot utilize this type of protein due to reduced bioavailability and low digestibility. Many grasses, including corn, are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, oils, and protein and although a staple for many human cultures, for cats these products are mostly carbohydrate with the remaining nutrients essentially unavailable.

Carbohydrates are not a required nutrient for obligate carnivores and the body needs of the cat for glucose (energy source for the brain) can easily be met by breaking down triglycerides (the glycerol component can be converted into glucose) and certain (glucogenic) amino acids that can also be converted to glucose, such as methionine and cysteine. When ingesting a high carbohydrate diet, the cat's pancreas responds by releasing more insulin which may cause low blood sugar, which in turns causes the cat to feel hungry, requiring more food. Unfortunately, this cycle causes the accumulation of fat in the cat's body which leads to obesity, all the while, never meeting the protein requirement and potentially setting the cat up for diabetes in the future.

EXCERPT - from Chapter 6 - Vitamins

The B vitamins protect against disease and viruses. The signs of a B-vitamin deficiency are vague, but are usually characterized by a loss of appetite and poor skin and coat, which could also mimic other diseases.

Several B vitamins are synthesized by bacteria in the intestines of healthy cats. Intestinal problems such as diarrhea, excessive drinking and urination, and administration of fluids can eliminate this source, as well as antibiotic use. B vitamin complex may be used for cats that are diabetic or have kidney disease as these conditions cause the flushing of the B vitamins out of the cat's body. B complex also helps with appetite and energy levels.

Vitamin supplementation is often necessary during prolonged illnesses involving the intestine or during prolonged antibiotic treatment. Some B vitamin sources are meat, heart, liver, and egg yolk.

EXCERPT - from Chapter 11 - Interpreting Pet Food Labels

Guaranteed Analysis (GA)
Guaranteed Analysis values are simply a range (minimums and maximums) of the levels of water, protein, fat, etc. that are contained in the cat food. So, if the label states that there is a minimum of 6% fat, there could be 12% fat in the food as long as the quantity is 6% or higher. Ideally, the label should contain the more accurate As Fed (exact measurement) and Dry Matter Basis (removal of water) values or the percentage of calories (metabolizable energy profile ).

As Fed Values (AF)
The exact or As Fed values are the actual measurements of the ingredients in a sample of the food. These values more accurately reflect what is in the product (unlike the GA with minimums and maximums). Obviously, between different production runs of food, there will be variations, but these variations will be minimal. Some companies list these As Fed values on their websites, if not, you may request this information from the manufacturers. Like the GA, the AF values also include the water content of the food so it is impossible to directly compare canned food to dry food by comparing the numbers listed on the package label.

EXCERPT - from Chapter 14 - Homemade Raw Cat Food

Your cat evolved to eat its food raw and makes efficient use of the nutrients in a raw diet for optimum health.

Cats in the wild often drag their food up trees or bury it to save for a later meal. Food poisoning is always a possibility, but with proper handling as you would with any meat product you would prepare for yourself or your family, cats may be fed a high quality raw diet safely.

Cat saliva contains an enzyme called lysozyme, which attacks bacteria as it enters the mouth by digesting the coating of the bacteria. Any remaining contaminants enter the cat's extremely short and acidic intestinal tract. A cat's short digestive transit time, as compared to other carnivores and omnivores, prevents the remaining pathogens in the gut to grow before they are evacuated from the body.


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