Cat lovers know how particular their furry friends can be about what they eat. Sometimes, people can take this attitude as a reinforcement of stereotypes about cats: finicky, standoffish, spoiled. But that's not accurate.
While it may seem as if cats stick to their preferences out of spite or an overindulged disposition, it actually has to do with the fact that their nutritional needs are in some ways fairly rigid.
Cats are driven to eat food that contains about three times as much protein as fats or carbs. They get this from their meat-based diet, which gives them long-lasting energy that primarily comes from protein and fat.
Because cats lack taste receptors for sweetness, they're not generally interested in carbs or sugars. Nutrition is key to a kitty.
Cats evolved as solitary hunters, rather than as pack animals; so, they are not prone to scarf down their meal like a canine might. They take their time while eating, judging the meal with their acute perception of taste and smell. If they sense a new ingredient, or a bit of medicine you slipped into the bowl, they might turn up their nose.
Your cat may go for a treat that's not exactly healthy perhaps because of short-term appeal or conditioning. But as obligate carnivores, cats require more protein than other domesticated animals.
An improper nutrient balance will take the shine out of a cat's coat, and in serious cases, can lead to eye and heart diseases.
Our feline friends are not as dainty as we sometimes like to characterize them. They have certain food demands and they tend to act as good judges of what they need.
If you want to learn more about cats, you could read this article about why their eyes sometimes shine at night. Or if you're interested in why your cat is also rubbing its head on you, you could read this one.
Sources And Further Reading:
- "AAFCO METHODS FOR SUBSTANTIATING NUTRITIONAL ADEQUACY OF DOG AND CAT FOODS." Association of American Feed Control and Association. Accessed May 2, 2018.
- "A NECESSITY: NUTRITION QUALITY." The European Pet Food Industry. Accessed May 2, 2018.
- Gates, Margaret. "Answers: What Exactly Is An Obligate Carnivore?" Feline Nutrition Foundation. November 18, 2017. Accessed May 2, 2018.