Cat Food : Nutritional Needs of Cats

Find out what your cat needs for a healthy diet. Learn about the main nutritional requirements that your cat needs to stay happy and healthy.

Cats are carnivores and hunters. This said they need a high amount of protein, very little carbohydrates and a moderate amount of fat. So the best diet for your cat is a protein-based one.

Do you know what kind of food your cat should be eating? Cats have some specific nutritional requirements, and if their diet isn’t right, they can end up with health problems. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the nutrients that cats need in their diet and provide some tips on how to make sure your cat is getting the right food.

A High-Protein Diet But Not Only

Cats are strict carnivores that need animal-based protein to survive. In the wild, they hunt their prey and consume all of the nutrients they need to stay healthy. However, as cats have evolved alongside humans, their way of feeding has changed. Today, most cats are fed a diet of dry or wet commercial cat food. While this food is convenient for us, it does not always provide cats with the nutrients they need to stay healthy.

A healthy diet is important for all animals, and that includes our feline friends! Cats need a variety of nutrients to stay strong and healthy, including proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Proteins And Amino Acids

As any cat lover knows, our feline friends require a lot of care and attention. In addition to providing them with a clean litter box and plenty of toys, it’s important to make sure that they’re getting the right nutrients. One of the most important nutrients for cats is protein. Cats need proteins for their contribution in essential amino acids that they cannot produce themselves. These proteins must be of animal origin in priority because they are better digested and absorbed.

In particular, two essential amino acids must be present in sufficient quantity in their ration: taurine and arginine. Taurine deficiency leads to heart failure and retinal degeneration in cats, while arginine helps keep the urinary system functioning properly. By making sure that your cat’s diet includes enough protein, you can help them stay healthy and happy.

Lipids And Fatty Acids

Lipids are an important part of a healthy diet. Not only do they provide essential fatty acids that contribute to cell function, but they also help to improve the palatability and texture of food. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are particularly important for the quality of skin, fur and the nervous system. In addition to their health benefits, lipids also make food more enjoyable to eat. They help to add flavor and creaminess to dishes, making them more enjoyable to consume. As a result, lipids play an essential role in both the health and enjoyment of food.


Vitamins are essential nutrients that help to keep your cats’ bodies functioning properly. While some vitamins can be synthesized by cats’ bodies, others must be supplied entirely through the diet. A lack of any one vitamin can lead to serious health problems. For example, a deficiency of vitamin A can cause serious eye problems. Vitamins play a variety of roles in our metabolism, and it is important to make sure that we are getting enough of them in our diet.


Cats are creatures of habit and generally like to stick to the same routine. But when it comes to their diet, cats need a little variety to make sure they’re getting all the essential nutrients they need. A dozen minerals are said to be essential for cats, and a good balance of these minerals is essential for maintaining their health. For example, a deficiency in calcium and phosphorus can lead to issues with bones and teeth, while an excessive intake of magnesium can promote the formation of urinary stones.


Cats are often portrayed as strict carnivores, but the truth is that they are actually able to digest small amounts of carbohydrates. However, their digestive systems are less efficient at breaking down complex carbs than those of humans or dogs, for example. As a result, cats have a more limited need for carbohydrates in their diet.

This is why most commercial cat foods are high in protein and fat and low in carbs. While your cat may be able to enjoy the occasional carb-rich treat, it’s important to make sure that the bulk of their diet is composed of meat-based proteins.

Enough Water

As any pet owner knows, water is essential for keeping your furry friend healthy and hydrated. In fact, water is the most important nutrient for any animal, and cats are no exception. Unfortunately, cats are notoriously bad at drinking enough water, which can lead to health problems like urinary stones or kidney disease.

One way to encourage your cat to drink more water is to invest in a water fountain. Cats are naturally attracted to running water, so a fountain will help keep them hydrated and healthy. Plus, it’s just really fun to watch them play!

Regardless of your cat’s preferences, it is important to always have fresh water available. Be sure to place water sources in quiet areas where they won’t be disturbed. This will help your cat stay hydrated and healthy.

Nutrient and EffectsRequirements
Movement, maintenance of body heat, physiological mechanisms…
60 to 70 calories/kg per day
Synthesis of bones, muscles, nerve structures.
30 to 40% of the total energy intake
Source of energy, increase the palatability of the food, provide essential fatty acids.
Ideal: 10 to 12% of dry matter. Never more than 19%.
Source of energy for the brain. No risk of deficiency. Not essential, often poorly assimilated, but constitutes a source of energy less appetizing than lipids, thus limiting the risk of obesity.
Do not exceed 45% of dry matter.
For the hygiene and efficiency of the digestive system. Helps to reduce stools and odors.
A moderate and combined intake of fermentable and non-fermentable fibers allows to take advantage of the qualities of each one.
Essential for the proper functioning of various organs such as the eyes and the heart, as well as for reproduction, formation and development of the fetus
5 mg/kg/day, i.e. 1000 mg/kg of material in dry food and 2500 mg/kg of material in wet food
Allows the elimination of certain toxic waste produced by the body (ammonia)
250 mg/day
Acidifies the urine and limits urinary infections.
 500 mg/day
Essential fatty acids: linoleic, linolenic and arachidonic acids Relief of pruritus of allergic origin, skin hydration, reduction of inflammation. If deficient: growth retardation, infertility, hair loss, hepatic steatosis, coagulation disorders.Ratio omega-6 / omega-3 = 5 to 10
A Harmful in case of deficiency (reproductive disorders, growth arrest, vision disorders, hair loss, lowered immunity) as well as in case of excess (spectacular in cats fed exclusively on liver: pain and lethargy that can go as far as the welding of the vertebral bodies).
The ratio of vitamin A to vitamin D must be higher than 10
Vitamin D
An excess can lead to ectopic calcifications (kidney, liver…)
Vitamin E
Has an anti-free radical effect (against cellular aging), and strengthens immunity.
Most dry cat foods have a particular mineral composition that contributes to the prevention of stones in the urinary tract.
If deficient: growth disorders, lethargy, muscle weakness
Need increased when the protein level of the ration is high.
Copper  From 7 to 10 ppm*/day
If deficient: growth retardation, lethargy, convulsions and muscle weakness. If the urinary pH is insufficiently acidic (pH>6.5), magnesium increases the risk of stone formation.
Minimum intake: 0.08% of dry matter
If deficiency : blackening of the coat in Siamese
50 ppm/day
Calcium and Phosphorus Essential
For bone growth, nerve transmission and muscle contraction. If excess: zinc and copper deficiency
Calcium: 100 to 200 mg/kg/day Ca/ P ratio between 1 and 2 (ideal: 1.3)
If deficient: hair discoloration
5 ppm/day
Nutritional Needs For An Adult Cat

*ppm = parts per million

A Balanced Energy Intake

While we might think of our cats as lazy creatures who love to sleep all day, the reality is that obesity is a serious problem for many of our feline friends. In fact, studies have shown that more than 50% of cats are overweight or obese. Being overweight increases the risk of several diseases, including diabetes mellitus, constipation, and arthritis.

It is therefore advisable to help the cat to reach an ideal weight from a young age in order to maintain it throughout its life. And yes, making a cat that is already overweight lose weight is often less easy. A cat’s energy needs vary depending on its lifestyle. Cats that have access to the outdoors will tend to exercise more than cats living in apartments.

Spayed or neutered cats also have reduced energy needs. Indoor cats should be fed a diet that matches their level of activity and helps them maintain a healthy weight. If you are unsure about how much to feed your cat, ask your veterinarian for advice. Making sure your cat stays at a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do for its long-term health.

With all the different cat food brands and formulas on the market, it can be hard to know how much to feed your feline friend. The good news is that there are some general guidelines you can follow to make sure your cat is getting the right amount of food. The first step is to calculate your cat’s ideal body weight.

This can be done by consulting with your veterinarian or using a online calculator. Once you know your cat’s ideal weight, you can then determine the amount of food to give based on the recommendations of the cat food manufacturer.

A Feeding Method Adapted To The Cat’s Behavior

Cats are notoriously finicky eaters. Even the most basic change to their diet – such as switching from wet food to dry food – can result in a major meltdown. Cats are very sensitive to the texture and taste of their food, and they can quickly develop strong preferences. For this reason, it’s important to be careful when introducing a new type of food to a cat.

Sudden changes from one type of food to another are not recommended, as it can cause tummy issues or even refused to eat altogether. However, don’t hesitate to introduce a young cat to several types of food. This will help them develop a taste and tolerance for different flavors and textures. In the end, it’ll make mealtime much easier for both you and your feline friend.

Cats are real nibblers. They can make 12 to 20 small meals in 24 hours. The way they are fed is therefore an important point to adapt so that they can express this natural behavior. Many owners fill the bowl and let their cat regulate itself, but an uncontrolled weight gain often results from this all-you-can-eat feeding method.

There are now many fun bowls that allow you to control the amount of food given while allowing cats to spread their food intake over a longer period of time. For example, some bowls have a built-in timer that dispenses a set amount of food at regular intervals. Others have a maze-like design that encourages cats to play and hunt for their food.

The Choice Between Dry And Wet Food

When it comes to feeding your cat, there are many options available. Industrial food ranges provide a complete and balanced supply of nutrients, so you can be sure your cat is getting everything they need. Dry foods (kibbles) are often more concentrated in proteins, making them a good option for active cats. They’re also easy to store and distribute. However, dry foods can be richer in carbohydrates, so if your cat is prone to weight gain, you may want to opt for a wet food diet instead.

Wet foods are usually lower in carbs and higher in water content, making them a great option for hydration. Plus, they tend to be more palatable for cats, so even the pickiest eaters will enjoy their meals. No matter what type of food you choose, be sure to consult with your veterinarian to ensure your cat is getting the nutrition they need.

When it comes to choosing between dry and wet food for your pet, it really depends on what you are looking for. If you want a food that is high in protein and low in fat, then dry food is the way to go. On the other hand, wet food is richer in water and generally more appetizing and filling, but it is less proteinous and richer in lipids. Many nutritionists recommend a mixed ration of dry and wet foods to get the benefits of both types of food.

While some pet owners may be tempted to save money by making their own pet food, it is important to remember that nutrition is a complex science. Without the proper knowledge, it can be difficult to create a balanced diet that provides all the nutrients your pet needs for good health.

If you are unsure about what to feed your cat, it is best to consult with a veterinarian or pet nutritionist who can help you create a diet that is tailored to your cat’s individual needs. By taking the time to ensure that your cat is getting proper nutrition, you can help them enjoy a long and healthy life.


Nikol Toteva was born into a family with a Saint Bernard and spent her childhood on a farm surrounded by animals. Animals have always been a big part of her life. Her upbringing has created a special place in her heart for animals, which she enjoys writing about. She has worked as a writer in different industries for many years. Nikol has a degree in History and loves to spend time with her cat Napoléon.

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