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We all know that there are vast differences between cats and dogs. Not just in behavior, but also in physical capabilities and metabolism. Cats and dogs have some pretty different internal metabolic differences that impact their respective diets. That’s why you can never feed your cat your dog’s food and vice versa. Both animals have different nutritional needs and this can mean a lot for their individual well-beings. Here are a few differences that you should note.
- Cats are carnivores.More like obligate carnivores. This means that they find their primary nutrition from ingredients that are animal-based, like organ and muscle meat. If a cat’s food doesn’t contain animal-based ingredients, then you need to assess it really carefully to figure out whether it’s actually good for your cat.Cats used to hunt before they were domesticated. They used to eat animals. Over time, they ate more and more animals that had already processed essential nutrients from other animals. This left cats without the ability to convert the nutrients into a form that is beneficial to them by themselves. Unlike dogs who are semi-carnivores, cats now have an altered liver enzyme capacity and a shortened digestive tract.
- Amino AcidsCats require more dietary protein than dogs do. Dietary protein is primarily built on amino acids. They also need a substance called taurine to keep their bodies functioning normally. Although taurine is found in amino acids, cats only have limited enzymic activity, which means that they can’t make taurine from amino acids. If cats don’t have enough taurine in their system, they’re at a higher risk for experiencing reproductive failure, developing heart conditions like dilated cardiomyopathy, and they could also go through retinal degeneration.
- Fatty AcidsThere are some essential fatty acids that simply cannot be synthesized sufficiently in a pet’s body. They must be obtained through the food that they eat. Arachidonic acid is a type of fatty acid that dogs are able to manufacture by themselves and cats aren’t. It aids in a lot of major bodily functions. That’s why it’s important to pick a brand that has all the essential fatty acids that your cats need. Ask your vet for advice before you go shopping.
- VitaminsCats are unable to make an active form of Vitamin A and niacin, which is a B vitamin. These vitamins help support skin and eye health and support the conversion of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into energy. Dogs are already capable of converting these vitamins into active forms.
- Cats need a specially formulated diet.This list only details some of the differences between cat and dog nutrition. Cats need way more nutrients in their food than dogs do. Your vet will advise you on the right diet.