Cats and dogs are both carnivores and therefore related in their nutrtional requirements. However, cats are what are call "obligate carnivores" which means they are obligated or must have meat in their diet. In fact they need quite a bit of animal protein to do well. Therefore, NO vegetarian cats please.
Here are some of the differences between these two of our most common pets to love as far as food goes.
1.) Cats cannot make Vitamin A from other sources so it must be supplemented directly in foods. Animal fats (but not plant ones) contain a good amount of vitamin A.
2.) Cats need to have a direct source of the B vitamin niacin as they again can't make it from other things (the usual being tryptophan in other species.)
3.) Cats need an essential fatty acid called arachidonic acid. This. too. is supplied in a meat diet.
4.) Cats don't do well on a high carb diet as they don't make much of the pancreatic enzyme amylase that digests carbs. Too much carbs can cause diarrhea in cats. Dogs can tolerate 3 times the amount of carbs in the diet.
5.) Cats actually need a high amount of protein as well due to how they metabolize it (fairly inefficiently).
6.) Cats need an amino acid (a protein building block) called arginine. If deficient in this nutrient cats cannot break down the toxic metabolic byproduct called ammonia. They will very soon develop mental and neurologic effects from such a state.
7.) Cats need Taurine as well. This is the most commonly known required nutrient of cats. Without it, cats will develop blindness and severe heart disease and breeding cats will have reproductive dysfunction and the kittens won't grow well. This is also due to a deficient ability to metabolize one thing into another. Dogs can make Taurine from certain amino acids.
Most all cat foods are supplemented appropriately these days. Home cooking can be a bit tricky for cats due to all the special needs of our feline friends. And definitely don't feed cats dog food as a primary diet, even if they like it (some do).
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