Why your feline friend should be eating like its ancestor, the wildcat.
It can be difficult to determine exactly what our pets should or shouldn’t be eating and what the best foods for cats are. Much like our own diets, there is always a new fashionable food or trend to try.
A good starting point is to hit the history books. Studies have revealed the modern-day domesticated cat we know and love is thought to have evolved from the Felis Silvestris Lybica, otherwise known as the African wildcat. Just like how our dogs evolved from the wolf and want to eat like one, so too do our feline friends based on their own ancestors.
What makes nutritional cat food?
You’re likely to have heard the word carnivore before but have you ever heard of an obligate carnivore? The whole cat family is one, meaning it’s a biological necessity for them to eat meat. Protein is extremely important in a cat’s diet and here’s why.
Cats have a limited ability to break down carbohydrates to make glucose, which of course, is the biggest source of fuel for our cells and what gives us energy. Instead, they use a process called gluconeogensis - try saying that fast three times! This process transforms a non-carbohydrate substance into glucose instead and you can probably guess what substance that is for cats…protein! Cats are so dependent on protein that if they don’t have enough to supply their energy needs, they will start breaking down their own body muscle and organs to make up for it.
So how does this translate into what you’re pouring into the food bowl? Think high protein, not high carbs.
While protein needs to make up the majority of a cat’s diet, other nutrients are important as well. The best foods for cats need to include things like cellulose or what we might more commonly know as insoluble fibre. Cats lick themselves to stay clean, but the stray fur can ball up in their stomach - hello, hairball! Food that’s high in fibre helps move fur through a cat’s digestive system.
Probiotics also help optimise digestion, just like in us humans. Omega fatty acids should also be on the list, this will keep your cat’s coat shining and give Pantene a run for its money.
Fun fact: Cat stomachs are smaller and more simple in structure than dogs because of their feeding habits. In the wild, they hunt on demand so their stomachs aren't as important for storage because they eat smaller meals more often.
What meat is best for my cat?
Before you start buying up the butcher’s, it’s worth knowing that not all protein is created equally. It all comes down to amino acids. Say what?
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Non-essential amino acids don’t need to come from a cat’s diet as their body can produce them. But there are some they can only get from their diet and they’re called essential. For cats, there are 11 essential amino acids.
Why does this matter for choosing the best kind of protein your cat should eat? Well, a really good quality protein diet will contain all the essential amino acids that a cat can’t make for itself. The best source is raw organ meat - think hearts, livers and kidneys. This relates to what your cat’s ancestor, the wildcat, would eat in the wild - the whole prey, meat, guts and all! It might not sound so delicious to you but your purring pal will certainly be thankful. As a bonus, organ meat is also full of the vitamins and minerals needed to keep your cat in perfect condition as well.
As much as you love your cat, dealing with the blood and mess of raw meat every meal may not be so appealing, nor nutritionally sound. Grabbing those chicken thighs off the supermarket shelf isn’t necessarily safe for your cat to eat either.
Animals Like Us have solved that problem for you with Raw Freeze-Dried Blends for cats. Their New Zealand-sourced raw meat and organs are freeze-dried to lock in nutrition without the need for refrigeration. The Animals Like Us Chicken SuperBlend50 has at least 50% more of each of the essential aminos than the minimum requirement levels. You might even say some are super strength aminos and are three times the minimum level (while remaining safely below the maximum level).
It’s not just on the meaty side of things that Animals Like Us has got you covered. Remember that big scientific word cellulose mentioned above? Their food has it in spades, helping hair move through your cat more easily - goodbye, hairballs! Their oven-baked bites are also full of natural ingredients coated in probiotics to keep your cat’s digestion in tip-top shape and those important omegas for a shiny coat.
Cats may appear to have a mind of their own and when it comes to food, they are proven to be picky eaters. But with a little thought into what they need to eat and why keeping them fuelled isn’t difficult. Your cat will be lining up for lunch in no time.
 Driscoll CA, Menotti-Raymond M, Roca AL, et al. The Near Eastern origin of cat domestication. Science. 2007;317(5837):519-523. doi:10.1126/science.1139518
 Ann Wortinger, BIS, LVT, VTS, "Cats: Obligate Carnivore," CVC in Kansas City Proceedings, Aug 1, 2010.
Ann Wortinger, BIS, LVT, VTS, "Cats: Obligate Carnivore," CVC in Kansas City Proceedings, Aug 1, 2010.