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Cat Nutrition: 6 Essential Nutrient Requirements for Your Cat

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Have you ever wondered which food is right for your cat? Cat nutrition is a sensitive subject, mainly because we all want to see our lovely cats growing and glowing with excellent health. Like you, your cat needs to be nourished with the right nutrition to thrive. But what exactly are your cat's dietary needs?

Check out the basic nutritional requirements that your kitty needs to thrive when exploring the great outdoors.

  1. Proteins

Cats are obligate carnivores! They have a very high requirement for protein which provides them with energy and is essential for growth and development.

Proteins also supply the essential amino acids your cat needs. They are critical for ensuring the proper growth of your cat's tissues, cartilage, tendons, and organs, including the heart and brain. They even play a role in increasing blood supply, muscle growth, hair growth, and skin development. It also helps with They are part of enzymes, hormones, and antibodies and facilitate proper pH balance.

Incomplete proteins can't provide all essential amino acids and can be found in grains and vegetables. Sources rich in protein include meat, fish, eggs, etc. Talk to your vet to see how much protein your cat specifically needs.

2. Arginine

Arginine, an amino acid found abundantly in animal protein, is another critical requirement of cats. Cats lack the enzyme needed to make arginine, so arginine must be sufficiently provided in their diet. Arginine is essential for detoxification —removing ammonia (protein breakdown waste) from your cat's body. If your cat can't efficiently remove ammonia from their bodies, it increases blood ammonia levels. This can cause weight loss, vomiting, poor nervous function, and even death.


Similarly, taurine is an amino acid that cats cannot make themselves. Taurine is vital for normal kitten development and for adult cats to remain healthy. Taurine deficiency can lead to heart complications, blindness, reproductive problems in female cats, and affect bile production. Luckily, taurine is readily found in meat protein. All cat foods should include taurine.


Vitamins are essential for proper metabolism, normal development, and function. They can be found in food or synthesized within your cat's body. They're either classified as fat or water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins include A, D, E, and K, while water-soluble vitamins include C and the B complex. Here are some essential vitamins your cat should receive from their diet:

  • Vitamin D is critical for healthy and well-developed bones.
  • Vitamin A is necessary for sustaining good vision, immunity, growth, and development.
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) is necessary for maintaining normal growth and nerve function and the healthy digestion of carbohydrates.
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) is required for growth and overall good health.
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin) keeps your cat's nervous system, gastrointestinal functions, and skin healthy.

Pro Tip: Vitamins like B6 and B3 are regularly depleted from your cat's body. Ensure constant provision to maintain adequate levels.

6. Minerals and Fats

Minerals and fats are for cats. Minerals help with enzyme development, nutrient utilization, oxygen circulation, and pH balance. Minerals can be gotten from water and foods and work together to be effective. Essential minerals include iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, zinc, and chloride.

Fats provide energy and help cats maintain body temperature and absorb vitamins such as A, D, E, and K and can be found in foods rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.

Other Considerations

Aside from nutrient-rich food, provide carbohydrates and access to adequate water.

It's essential always to provide your cat with a balanced diet — but it's even more critical to ensure that the diet contains the primary nutrients required by your cat. All nutrients work together to keep your cat healthy, making it vital to feed a diet that has been carefully formulated and tested. So, when you buy or make your kitty some food, ensure it contains the listed nutrients for a happy, healthy, and active cat.

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