Did you know your cat has special protein needs?

Just like their owners, cats need a balanced diet which contains just the right amount of protein, fat, carbohydrates and various vitamins and minerals to ensure they stay in peak condition. These nutrients must be present, not only in the correct amounts, but also in the correct proportion to each other to provide a nutritionally complete diet. A balanced diet is crucial for the healthy growth and development of a cat to prepare him for an active, long, and healthy life.

Homemade diet not enough
The nutritional profile of any diet, including homemade diets, depends on how the recipe was formulated, the nutrient content of the ingredients, and how the owner prepared the diet. Other than that Homemade diets...
- may contain contaminants and food-borne microbes if the owner isn’t careful
- consists of rice with milk and protein from meat sources (fish, chicken and lamb) and non-meat sources (lentils, soya and eggs).
- vegetables are also often included.
- in India, pet meals are based around the family meal and it is common for vegetarian households to feed cats a vegetarian diet. It doesn’t work.


What cat hunting instincts tell us

Cats have evolved to hunt and kill living things whereas dogs have evolved to be scavengers. So, this is possibly not about a preference but about natural instinct. Cats sometimes maintain their hunting instinct and catch mice, etc. but not eat the prey. A large number of studies has revealed that cats always choose a certain amount of protein, fat and carbohydrate – and this is termed their macronutrient target. They generally ‘prey’ items which are rich in water, protein and fat and low in carbohydrate and ash (minerals). They have no requirement for plant materials. Food preferences of cats are very individual, and cats are finicky eaters. Because of their carnivorous nature, cats are less equiped to handle carbohydrate diets than dogs or humans. They do not have a receptor for sweet taste in their mouth.


The importance of taurine in a cat’s diet
Cats require relatively large amounts of taurine in their diet. To put it simply, omnivores can synthesise sufficient amounts of taurine from other amino acids but
for cats, it’s a must-have dietary supplement. Mainly because cats don’t produce sufficient amount of taurine required for the proper functioning of the body.

By Dr Umesh Kallahalli


Bird facts
- Hummingbirds are incredibly lightweight. The average hummingbird is around 4 grams

- Believed to be the first domesticated bird, pigeons were used for millennia to deliver messages, including important military information, and the outcome of the early Olympic games

– mentalfloss.com


Reader stories
Hi,
I am a regular reader of Times Life, and love the section on pets in particular. Our pet, Bell, who was 13.5 years old passed away a week ago. He was one of the most amazing pets – a Spitz and Lhasa-Apso mix. I have written a tribute for him and will be grateful if you consider it for publication.


This is not about mourning, Bell
But a note of thanksgiving to you.
I wrote for your mother, and it is only fitting that I do it for you
Because angels like you are very few,
Actually none- so innocent, charming, beautiful.
We are lucky that you are with us,
Even though I am having trouble not being able to see you, just yet.
I know you are around with your beady black eyes that twinkle like
the Sun
With your own erratic definition of fun-
Chasing others around, telling them who’s boss,
Munching on khatta-meetha, wafers and pencils too,
How can I not love you?
Following me around wherever I go,
Caring for me even when I forget to,
Hanging in there even when I left you
You always pull me back with your sonorous laugh.
How can I not love you?
You belong to a
golden era, always stay the same.
If ever there is a manifestation of pure love,
It is you and we are so fortunate to be with you,
And while I am in tatters now, I know everything will be alright,
Because whatever happens, we always have each other to hug tight…
I love you
—Anujaya Krishna


Are you a proud pet parent? Have a cute cat story to share? Maybe your guinea pig is giving you trouble? Whatever is your creature companion, we are here to listen to you. Send your photos, queries and stories to timeslife@timesgroup.com

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