I am puzzled by conflicting opinions about the amount of protein advisable in a cat's diet. In particular, my dilemma has to do with my older cat, Aimee. Four years ago, when she was 9, I put her on the highest-protein premium cat food I could find (Purina One), with the thought that cats are strict carnivores and not designed to digest all the carbohydrates found in less expensive "grocery store" cat foods. As she was a bit chubby, I chose the weight-management formula with 38 percent protein. My cat responded by slimming down, becoming more active and recovering from apparent depression. She started playing with our new kitten, her coat became softer and more lustrous, and she was, in general, a happier cat.In the last six months or so, upon reading in your column how cats need to nibble for best digestion, I also began feeding both cats four times a day. (They can't be allowed free choice because the younger one will constantly clean up the bowl for both of them.) Aimee responded positively again. At 13,
L.P., Springfield, Va Dec 25, 2005
I am glad that the more frequent feeding regimen has improved your cat's condition. Have her blood tested to determine her kidney function, and if all is well, there is no reason reduce her protein intake.Adding 1/2 teaspoon safflower oil or a few drops of fish oil to all of her meals will help maintain healthy kidney function.High-carbohydrate cat foods play a role in many chronic health problems in cats (which you have probably averted in Aimee). If kidney failure does develop, several steps need to be taken in addition to a lower-protein diet that, in itself, is not sufficient for afflicted felines.
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