Dear Porky and Buddy,
I have been feeding my new kitten, Ebenezer, regular dry and canned kitten food and he seems to be doing OK, but I keep reading the ingredient lists and they are, to be honest, sort of gross.
I mean, “chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, animal liver flavor, pyridoxine hydrochloride.”
What’s that all about? So I am considering switching him to a home cooked diet with real ingredients that I can actually pronounce. What do you think?
Our thanks to you for being so attentive to Ebenezer’s diet. (But whatever happened to cats named Fluffy?)
Anyway, we consulted with some of our human friends at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. (Know that they can be a little long-winded sometimes but they are very interesting and they know their stuff!)
Here is what we learned.
Cats are “obligate carnivores,” which means that they are strict carnivores, and rely on nutrients in animal tissue to meet their specific nutritional requirements.
In their natural habitat, cats are hunters and consume prey high in protein with moderate amounts of fat and minimal amounts of carbohydrates.
Cats also require more than a dozen nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids, some of which are not necessarily present in the correct amounts in home cooked diets.
The important thing to remember about these nutrients, particularly vitamins and minerals, is that Ebenezer needs the right amount of these nutrients, but no more.
It is possible to have “too much of a good thing” when it comes to vitamins and minerals; the use of supplements not only is unnecessary when you are using a commercially formulated cat food, but also can be potentially dangerous to your pet’s health.
Cats are neither small dogs nor people. Because of their unique metabolism, what might be good for you might be detrimental to Ebenezer.
A high-quality cat food assures an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals in his diet in the right proportions; supplements should never be used without a veterinarian’s approval.
Making your own cat food is a difficult and time-consuming process. Also, the nutrients in the formula may not be available in the right quantities and proportions to be beneficial to Ebenezer.
Talk to your own vet about this, but we suspect he will recommend that you use a commercial nutritionally balanced product. There are recipes available for home-cooked cat food, but, please, don’t go on the Internet looking for them.
If your vet is supportive, ask him for a recipe formulated by veterinarians certified in animal nutrition.
Or better yet, choose a kitten food diet recommended by your vet, ignore the ingredient list, and go buy more toys for Ebenezer. He wants toys more than he wants tuna casserole. (Actually, we all do.)
Speaking of cat food — Could you donate some dry Purina cat or kitten food to the Humane Society? We use a lot of it for our foster cats.
You could just drop it off any time is our outer office at 265 W. First St., Oswego, or call us at 207-1070 and we will make arrangements. Thanks!
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.
Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego. Phone is 207-1070. Email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Website is www.oswegohumane.org.