You’ve probably heard that cats are what’s known as “strict carnivores”. But what does that mean exactly? That our feline friends can’t eat anything but meat? The answer in this article!
Giving vegetables to a cat is like giving meat to a cow
In itself, adding a little fruit and vegetables to a cat’s diet won’t kill it. What would be dangerous would be to offer him an exclusively vegetarian or vegan diet.
Cats are strict carnivores, which means that they primarily need animal protein – that is, meat – in their diet to survive. These proteins cannot be replaced by plant proteins.
Taurine, for example, is an essential amino acid that felines are unable to synthesize on their own and must be found in meat or fish.
It is exactly the same principle as for a cow: the latter does not have a digestive system designed to digest meat; the cat is not made to digest fruits and vegetables. They can eat them occasionally, but they should not be the main part of their diet.
Moreover, in the wild, cats feed only on their prey (rodents, birds …). The only time we can see them chewing plants is usually to purge themselves. Their digestive system is specifically adapted to the consumption of raw meat. In fact, their digestive tract is shorter than that of many other animals, which allows them to digest raw prey very easily.
In contrast, animals that feed primarily on plants need a long intestine that contains fermenting bacteria.
What can I give my cat besides meat?
The majority of a cat’s meals should consist of meat or fish. However, it is also possible to add other foods to his daily diet, either as a supplement or as a treat.
For example, fruits and vegetables such as carrots, green beans, cucumbers, strawberries, peaches or pears can be given to a feline. However, it is not sure that he will want to eat them!
Good to know: vegetables must always be cooked or boiled and fruits must be seeded, stoned, diced and peeled before being given to our furballs.
As for pasta, rice, bread or cereals, it is also allowed to give them occasionally to your cat. On the other hand, regular consumption of these carbohydrate-rich foods could lead to digestive problems and, in the long term, more serious pathologies such as obesity or diabetes. Indeed, cats do not need carbohydrates in their diet.
Finally, as you can imagine, sweet foods are of no interest in the diet of a feline. Especially since cats can hardly smell sweetness, unlike salty, sour and bitter.