Recall your pet cat’s wild ancestors? They were obligate predators. Unlike canines, a feline’s dietary system has adopted the intake of more proteins than carbohydrates. A high grain diet consists of many carbohydrates. Through evolution, a cat’s metabolism and physiology have adopted the strictly composed diet of animal tissues. This has led to a unique evolution of the digestive system on carbohydrate metabolism in domestic cats that represent their wild ancestors closely.
Cats metabolize dietary carbohydrates differently than other species
High grain diet can prove detrimental to your cat and lead to diabetes mellitus and obesity. The feline members of our family get their energy from oxidizing proteins, carbohydrates and fats and the proportions depend on the type of diet they consume.
It has been observed in healthy cats that they can efficiently digest and metabolize processed starches and complex carbohydrates.
Grains contain glucose, dietary fiber and starches. High grain diet induces many carbohydrate into a feline’s metabolism system. Consumption of high concentration starch or osmotically active sugar induces adverse changes in a cat’s intestinal metabolism.
A healthy diet for an adult cat should consist of around 54% protein and 46% fat and carbohydrate. Carbohydrates including grain diet are conditionally essential during a cat’s phrase of lactation and gestation.
When a cat ingests high amounts of grain, a lot of carbohydrate is induced in its metabolic system. And a cat must workout to shred the carbohydrate from their system or else it may lead to diabetes mellitus. An aged cat does not seem to play or walk around much. In such cases, the energy needed by the cat is exceeded resulting in the additional amount of glucose that is produced by the digestion of carbohydrates to get stored in fat tissues. Although excess intake of any of the three- carbohydrate, fat or protein can cause obesity, carbohydrate is said to be the source that can easily be transformed to glucose.
Digesting and Metabolizing Grains for CatsThe diet containing heavy grain concentration leads your cat to develop health issues such as
Lack of glucokinase: Glucokinase is an enzyme that is used to phosphorylate glucose inside cat cells.
Lack of salivary amylase: Salivary amylase helps in the cat to metabolize carbohydrate digestion.
A high grain diet can also lead your cat to develop signs of mal-digestion. Signs can be very mild to acute gas or bloating and in some case result in diarrhea. Complex enzymes are broken into simpler forms with digestion of the carbohydrates. If the cat experiences enzyme deficiencies due to age, digestion of carbohydrates become more and more difficult. This results in fermentation which will cause bacteria to overgrow. There can be infectious manifestation or inflammation in the intestinal tract may be experienced by the cat.
Domestic cats seem to feed on small multiple meals. It should be kept in the owner's notice that they do not feed them with high grain diet all the time.
Although the domesticated cats can digest cooked grain containing starch, they cannot digest all forms of starch. Cooked carbohydrates can be easily digested by the cat. Raw cereal grains take longer time to digest in their intestine and create resistance tin digestion.
So what type of diet is best for cats?
According to scientists, a grain less diet is better for cats as they are carnivorous animals. Rich Foods in proteins and not grain-based carbohydrates resemble more closely to a cat’s natural diet.
Feeding a diet to the cat that is consistent with the nature of a true carnivore i.e. a meat-based diet or grain-free diet is more suitable to a domestic cat despite the environment and the condition it is living in. The ideal diet for a feline consists of high protein level, between 35 to 45 percent range on a dry matter basis. Moderate fat content with a low percentage of carbohydrate ie. grains is said to be the ideal diet for a feline.
Grain-less diet contains more ingredients that a cat would rather feed. Fish and meat are protein rich that are found in greater amounts in some canned grain-free cat foods.
A cat’s metabolism is suited better to grain-free diets consisting of high protein and less carbohydrate. A low carbohydrate level helps cats to manage their appetite and as a result, they become less inclined towards overeating and obesity.
A part of a cat’s diet should be grain-free and rich in protein from animals. But their digestive system is also a bit better in the digestion and absorption of nutrients from grain-based ingredients.
Most cat owners do not realize when their cat is suffering from allergies. Allergies may be caused due to the unsuitable diet of a cat. So according to the vet, grain-free diets are good options for cats having allergies or to avoid allergy.