Cat junk food prevents cats assessing its energy density

I believe, and this is a theory, that cat junk food (poor quality dry cat food or perhaps even all dry cat food) confuses the cat into being unable to assess the calorific value per weight of their food which is an innate ability to regulate the amount to eat. Therefore dry food cannot be used for grazing without being regulated by the cat’s owner.

Dry cat food

High energy density. Is it too high for a cat to assess? What is the optimum energy density for cats?

In the UK cat food labelling, as far as I can tell, does not provide us with the amount of calories that a certain weight of food contains. In other words I am looking for the calories per gram information (kcal/g). I understand that in the USA pet food manufacturers must include kcal/g in the labelling.

If the food is high in calories per gram it may be outside the normal range of cat foods which a cat can assess. Obviously the normal cat food for a cat is prey such as mice. I’m going to argue, and I’m open to criticism, that the calories per gram of dry cat food is much higher than that of a mouse. It is higher to the extent that a cat is unable to assess its calorific value properly and ends up eating too much of it.

In human food terms we are talking about the ‘energy density’ of cat food. A mouse is made up of about 72% water. Wet cat food is about 80% water. My argument is that it is not just about the high carbohydate content of dry cat food but its energy density.

You never see obese wild cats unless they are in captivity and overfed by their human caretakers. The argument is that wild cats eat as much as they need and they do this because they have an innate ability to assess the amount of energy in food that they are eating which is their prey. The domestic cat is a domesticated North African wild cat. Therefore the domestic cat depends upon the ability of the African wild cat (subject to 10,000 years of domestication) to assess the energy density of food provided by the human caretaker.

If the food provided is exceptionally energy dense the domestic can can longer assess it properly and ends up eating too much of it, which results in an obesity epidemic. That is the theory. The theory is based on the fact that a lot of cat owners feed their cats dry cat food all the time in an unregulated way and dry cat food has a high energy density. The solution is to feed a certain weight of dry cat food daily if you insist on buying it or better still feed wet cat food. You can work out the daily energy requirements of a cat using a formula but who does it?

P.S. These thoughts may have been discussed on another site but I don’t know of one. Feel free to discuss this topic in the comments section.

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About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!


Cat junk food prevents cats assessing its energy density — 1 Comment

  1. My 6 cats are fed twice daily. They each have their own bowls and most have their own rooms so they can eat in peace. I have 1 male who has chronic Urinary problems. He has been fed a special diet for 8 years. He is now 9. 2 of the cats eat in the same room as they are on the same diet. One cat has a tendency to IBD and pancreatitis. She is has her own room and a lamb and rice diet. Another cat is also on the lamb and rise diet, but prefers to eat in her room. The last cat also eats a lamb and rice diet and has the rest of the house, as I ran out of rooms. Each is fed 1/8 can wet and not quite 1/4 cup of dry. They have less dry in the summer due to the heat. They have maintained their weight correct weight for several years. They get 2 treats at each meal.I have used this way of feeding for a long time and find it’s the most beneficial for the Clowder. No fights or quarrels at mealtimes and they can take their own time when eating without looking out for one who wants their meal.

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