Archive for January 11th, 2008

Since I spent some time over my lunch hour talking to a lady about feline nutrition, I thought I’d post an easy one:

Six reasons not to feed dry cat food:

  • Diabetes:  High carbohydrate diets can lead to diabetes mellitus.  Dry food, even “low-carb” dry food, is naturally higher in carbohydrates than most canned foods, as it requires a starch to create “kibble”.  Dry food is also more processed by heat, and thus more glycemic than wet food – raising blood sugar levels.
  • Kidney disease (CRF):  Lack of moisture in dry foods leaves cats subclinically chronically dehydrated, compromising kidney health.
  • Obesity:  As noted above, dry food is high in carbohydrates.  Low-carbohydrate diets have been shown more effective at weight loss while maintaining lean muscle mass than high-fiber foods.  “Low-carbohydrate” dry foods have been shown ineffective at weight loss, as they are very high in calories.
  • Urinary tract disease (FLUTD):  Lack of moisture in dry foods increases urine’s specific gravity, leading to cystitis (urinary tract inflammation).  Regular non-prescription canned food has been shown more effective at preventing recurrence of urinary tract stones/crystals than prescription dry foods.
  • Gastro-intestinal disorders (IBD):  Grains are not tolerated by many cats, causing diarrhea and vomiting.  Excessive fiber may stretch and inflame the GI tract, leading to constipation and megacolon.  Carbohydrate malabsorption has been linked to gastro-intestinal problems.
  • Cancer:  Heat processing of grains and potatoes creates acrylamide, which has been shown to cause cancer in animals.  Many dry foods also contain preservatives such as BHA and BHT, shown to cause cancer.  A low-carbohydrate food has been shown beneficial in slowing cancer growth as cancer cells seem to “feed” more easily on simple carbohydrates (and again, wet foods are lower in carbohydrates and less glycemic than dry foods).

FelineOutreach.org, CatInfo.org and CatNutrition.org are all great sources of information.  Visit PetFoodCrusade.com for information on pet food safety.

To read more of my posts on feline nutrition and health, click on the “feline nutrition and health” category on the home page.  Of particular interest may be, “Canned food – which one?”

 Note:  I neglected to mention hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease), asthma/allergic respiratory disease, dental disease, and heart disease… that would have made ten reasons – not that I personally needed more.

Complete and Balanced Nutrition

References include:

  • The Carnivore Connection to Nutrition in Cats, Dr. Debra Zoran
  • Antech Diagnostics News, December 2003
  • Understanding feline diabetes mellitus: pathogenesies and management, Dr. Jacquie Rand and Rhett Marshall
  • Update on Feline Diabetes Mellitus, Dr. Claudia Reusch (World Congress 2006)
  • Feline Diabetes Mellitus, by Dr. David Church (Word Congress 2006)
  • Canine and Feline Diabetes Mellitus: Nature or Nurture? Rand et al
  • Carbohydrate Malabsorption Is a Feature of Feline Inflammatory Bowel Disease but Does Not Increase Clinical Gastrointestinal Signs
  • Feline Obesity: Causes, Consequences and Management, Dr. Rand (WSAVA 2004 Congress)
  • Increased Dietary Protein Promotes Fat Loss and Reduces Loss of Lean Body Mass During Weight Loss in Cats, Dr. Laflamme and Dr. Hannah
  • Evaluation of effects of dietary carbohydrate on formation of struvite crystals in urine and macromineral balance in clinically normal cats
  • Treatment of feline diabetes mellitus using an α-glucosidase inhibitor and a low-carbohydrate diet
  • Managing FLUTD – Clinician’s Brief
  • Final FDA Acrylamide Action Plan, Data
  • Role of Diet in the Health of the Feline Intestinal Tract and in Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Management of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease – Dr. Forrester
  • Nutrition and Cancer: New Keys for Cure and Control 2003!
  • Small Animal Oncology
  • For more information, visit Feline Outreach.

    To read more of my posts on feline nutrition and health, click on the “feline nutrition and health” category on the home page.  Of particular interest may be, “Canned food – which one?”

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