In a message dated 10/1/04 12:22:22 AM, burke43@...
<< Before I found out my cat had heart disease, I feed him Natural
Choice Weight Management food. >>
Typically, "weight management" products contain high amts of carbohydrate
sources and insoluble fiber. They are modeled on diet *theory* for humans (who
are omnivores) and dogs (who are facultative carnivores)...and not on the
nutritional requirements of cats (who are obligate carnivores). And as we are
finding out, these products and this theory are largely inappropriate not only for
humans and dogs, but even more so for cats. Cats have no dietary requirement
for carbohydrate for either energy or nutrients, have limited ability to process
them, and also have no dietary requirement and limited tolerance for plant
fiber. This is understandable considering that they have very little
evolutionary history, over tens of millions of yrs, of eating plants...which generally
constitute about 5% of their diet or less.
<< He has been on a high fiber diet
since he was a 10-month-old cat (veterinarian recommended) because
it was the only food that didn't make his stomach upset. >>
Food intolerance is complex, but basically it means that the body is reacting
negatively (or pathologically) to the ingredients in the product. This takes
into account such factors as how the ingredients were raised and processed and
in what proportions they are combined in the product. Negative reaction to
food can also be attributed to how the food was introduced; ie, digestive upset
is not uncommon in cats whose diet is changed abruptly, rather than introduced
<< After reading labels, I buy him the brands Wellness and
Good for you for reading labels!! Wellness is one of only two canned
commercial brands that is grain free; the other is Nature's Variety
(www.naturesvariety.com). Many of Wysong's canned products are meat alone, which is not a
complete and balanced diet for a cat and which therefore require supplementation.
<< he has never been fond of seafood. >>
Cats, who have evolved from desert animals, have no evolutionary history of
eating seafood. One of the consequences of this is that fish is a potential
<< I also give him 1/4 cup Royal Canin Adult 32 dry food >>
All dry foods are high in carbohydrate (ranging from about 20% to 50%
calories from carbohydrate), which is a primary contributing factor to a range of
health conditions, incl diabetes, obesity, chronic urinary/renal issues,
dental/gum disorders, "allergies," and digestive disorders. Royal Canin products
generally contain about 25-35% calories from carbohydrate.
<< mixed with a little of the high fiber dry food. I try to balance
his fiber needs >>
Cats have no dietary requirement for plant fiber and limited ability to
tolerate plant fiber; the "fiber" in most cat foods is from cellulose, which is the
"hard" structural component of plants used in making insulation, textiles,
and paper and which is insoluble. Among the consequences of a feeding a diet
high in insoluble plant fiber are hydration imbalance, digestive disturbance, and
nutrient malabsorption. Some cats may benefit from a small amt of primarily
soluble fiber in the diet.
1. From www.vetdigest.com/nip/fibre/default.htm:
"The most obvious side effect of a high fibre diet is increased faecal
output. High fibre diets also tend to be less palatable. It is important to
ensure adequate water intake in animals on high fibre diets, especially while
soluble fibre supplements, to avoid dehydration and constipation.
"High levels of dietary fibre may interfere with normal absorption of
vitamins and minerals from the diet. Zinc, calcium, iron and phosphorus are
commonly bound within the polysaccharide matrix or adsorbed to the surface of
fibre....Addition of insoluble fibre to diets may reduce nutrient
energy utilisation by giving less time for nutrients to be absorbed from the
GIT. However dogs appear to tolerate a diet high in insoluble fibre without
adverse affects on nutrient digestibility. Cats by comparison are thought
to be relatively inefficient in coping with dietary polysaccharides due to
fundamental differences in simple carbohydrate metabolism."
2. From "The carnivore connection to nutrition in cats" by Debra L Zoran,
DVM, PhD, DACVIM in JAVMA, Dec 1, 2002, Vol 221, No. 11:
"Researchers reported that contrary to what is observed in dogs, cats fed
diets containing soluble or insoluble fiber had altered glucose tolerance."
3. From Eliz. Hodgkins DVM at http://rocquoone.com/diet_and_health.htm:
"High fiber diets like w/d and r/d (and their analogs by other companies) DO
NOT WORK, and they do not work because they are loaded with carbohydrate that
continues to dump sugar into the blood stream.... "
<< I might try to find a higher quality dry food. >>
What you feed is entirely your choice. However, there is no such thing as a
"high-quality" dry food. The definition of "quality" in the nutritional sense
is the ability of the food to meet the nutritional requirements of the
consumer...and dry products fail to meet that standard. It may be possible to find a
dry product that is less noxious (ie, that causes less negative biological
response) than another dry product for an individual cat, but the potential
negative consequences of feeding a high-carbohydrate, nutrient-poor, low-moisture,
plant-based diet to an animal that requires a low-carbohydrate, nutrient-dense,
high-moisture, meat-based diet remain the same.
For information on the nutritional requirements of cats and particularly on
the effect of carbohydrate, some sources incl: