Your Cat's Fundamental Nutritional Needs
Cats developed as predatory carnivores, and their diets should consist primarily of meat. As such, a proper cat food should contain ample protein from a meat source, as well as a combination of other vitamins, minerals and amino acids commonly found in meat and fish. Specifically, cats need taurine and a variety of fatty acids. Unlike humans and many other animals, cats do not require carbohydrates, fruits or vegetables.
Most veterinarians recommend feeding your cat a combination of both canned and dry foods, as each contains a different combination of the fundamental nutritional elements necessary for a cat's diet.
The Benefits of a Prescription Only Cat Food Diet
A prescription cat food, such as Hill's Prescription Diet or Royal Canin, combines the essential nutrients that are vital to your cat's general health with medicinal elements or specific nutritional components designed to address a particular health concern for your pet. Prescription cat diets may address one or more of the following feline health conditions:
- Skin and coat conditions
- Liver, kidney or bladder disease
- Overweight or diabetes
If your cat suffers from any of these conditions, speak with a veterinarian about whether a special prescription diet may benefit your pet. These foods are typically available at a veterinary office or at a pet store with a prescription.
It is important to remember that a prescription diet is not designed to be a singular treatment method for any particular condition. More often than not, a prescription cat food helps to prevent your cat from developing serious health concerns. If your pet suffers from a chronic or acute disease or other condition, you should always consult with a veterinarian for medicinal or surgical treatment methods before considering a prescription diet.
IVDs, or Innovative Veterinary Diets, are alternative cat foods designed to address health concerns more broad in scope. Many IVDs contain a limited ingredient list for cats that are allergic or sensitive to common cat food ingredients. Like other prescription diets, IVDs can help to manage your cat's urinary tract, kidney, heart, weight and digestive tract conditions.
It is crucial that your cat receives the primary nutritional elements necessary to support his body. Above all, ensure that your pet's diet contains the components listed above. Additionally, some prescription diets may help to address or relieve symptoms of separate underlying conditions. While these diets tend to be more expensive than traditional cat foods, they may help to boost your pet's overall health. For more information, consult with a veterinarian.