How a Cat’s Nutritional Needs Differ from a Dog’s:
The cat is considered by scientists to be a strict carnivore and the dog is considered to be an omnivore. The difference? The cat cannot sustain life unless it consumes meat. Dogs, however, are able to survive on plant material alone, but do best and by nature are primarily meat-eaters. Far too many dogs have been undernourished by cheap grain-based dog foods. And grain-based cat foods are even worse. Here’s a rundown of the basic metabolic differences, using essential nutrients as an example:
- Cats – Process little or no enzymes to break down plant-produced carotenoids. Must eat “preformed” active Vitamin A (converted by some other creature such as a mouse or rabbit).
- Dogs – Have enzymes in the lining of the intestine that can break down plant carotenoids and convert them into active Vitamin A.
- Cats – Can obtain Niacin only by eating the preformed vitamin.
- Dogs – Obtain Niacin by converting a dietary amino acid call Tryptophan into Niacin.
- Cats – Are extremely sensitive to even a single meal deficient in Arginine and are unable to make their own. Cats need lots of protein, and Arginine is involved in aiding the elimination of the protein waste products.
- Dogs - Are much less sensitive to low levels of Arginine and produce enzymes internally that can aid its production.
- Cats – Cannot manufacture their own, therefore must eat preformed Taurine.
- Dogs – Make their own in their internal chemical factory.
- Cats – Have a much higher requirement for SAA than other mammalia and are the only creatures to manufacture the Felinine chemical.
- Dogs – Don’t know and don’t care what this stuff is.
- Cats – If fed balanced and 100% digestible protein, the cat will use 20% of that protein for growth metabolism and 12% for maintenance. Cats need more protein than dogs.
- Dogs – If fed balanced and 100% digestible protein, the dog will use 12% of that protein for growth metabolism and only 4% of that protein for maintenance. Dogs need less protein than cats.
- Cats – Cannot make their own even in the presence of adequate linoleic acid, because the cat’s liver contains no delta-6-desaturase enzyme to convert linoleic to Arachidonic.
- Dogs – Can make their own Arachidonic Acid if they consume enough linoleic acid by eating proper fats.
Fasting and Starvation...
- Cats – Do not efficiently mobilize fat reserves and break down non-fatty body tissues for energy. This upsets their internal chemicals and can lead to a very dangerous feline disorder called hepatic lipidosis. Never put a fat cat on a starvation diet.
- Dogs – Can tolerate prolonged fasts and utilize fat reserves for energy.
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