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Celestial Homemade Food for Cats

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DRY FOOD: ONE CONVENIENCE YOU CAN DO WITHOUT
When cats first began to live with humans and rely on us for their food, they took a huge and risky step. This is because the feline is completely dependent on his prey for his nutrients. The feline has discarded many important biochemical mechanisms that would allow adaptation to other foods (such as carbohydrates, which in nature would only be found in their predigested form in the prey animal’s gut). The feline is bound by his obligate carnivore nature, and he thrives only on meat based foods. Why then do we see so many carbohydrates in commercial pet food?

Unfortunately, real meat is very expensive for commercial pet food makers to use, and they must limit their costs to make a profit. Since we don’t care about their profit margi, we can learn to make our own food for cats instead!

You may still be asking why it’s so important to feed a diet that mimics what they would eat in the wild. Isn’t dry food the best for cats? Let’s keep in mind that dry food, which many people have become addicted to feeding, as well as the cats themselves, because it may have seemed convenient, but there’s been a terrible trade-off: your cat’s health and well-being. If good nutrition is compromised, your cat is likely to develop one of the following dry-food-related syndromes such as: obesity, diabetes, chronic vomiting, constipation, chronic diarrhea, hepatic lipidosis (liver failure), pancreatitis, arthritis, heart disease, asthma, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic renal failure, lower urinary tract disease, hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, Viral conjunctivitis, skin and coat problems, and of course cancer.

And what about feline obesity?
Thanks to the free feeding of dry food, nearly 50 percent of cats in the United States and Europe are overweight. Obesity is a contributing factor to nearly all of the diet-related diseases listed above. Fat cells produce inflammation, and chronic inflammation ultimately produces disease. Cats require a steady supply, just like us humans of Omega 3′s from marine lipids to keep inflammation at bay.

Free-choice feeding of dry food (pouring it into a bowl and leaving it out all day) is without a doubt the single biggest factor affecting our cats’ weight. Getting cats off dry food and onto their species appropriate diet of raw meat, raw bones and state of the art supplements including cold extracted, organic Omega 3′s is the key to weight control.

How does a farmer fatten his cattle? The answer is by feeding lots of low fat grain!
In most mammals, carbohydrate digestion begins in the mouth with the enzyme amylase that is secreted in saliva; you have to chew for a while to distribute the enzyme. Not only do cats lack salivary amylase, they don’t chew! Cats, after they shred, tear, and bone crush, swallow their food in large chunks. Cats have no dietary need for carbohydrates (except as young kittens, which is why there is lactose in the mother cats milk). Most other mammals (humans included) use carbohydrates as their bodies “highest octane”¯ fuel. For these animals, the energy system is based on an enzyme called glucokinase, which we think of as the feast or famine mechanism. This system is used by athletes who “carbo-load” (eat a big pasta dinner the night before an event). The glucokinase system is kicked into high gear, sending a massive dose of energy to the body, which in the athlete’s case is stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen. The day of the race, the body has extra glycogen to use as fuel–a big advantage for the athlete.

Cats do not operate on the glucokinase enzyme system; they use protein and fat directly for energy. The small amount of carbohydrate they get in their natural diet is handled by hexokinase, an enzyme system that cannot speed up to handle large meals or slow down during a fasting interval.

When fed carbs such as those found in nearly all dry foods and many canned as well, cats store them primarily as fat, not glycogen. The purpose of carbohydrates in commercial cat foods is a source of “energy,”¯ which simply means calories and is also just a cheap filler to save money on meat.

For cats, these carbs are empty calories. This is why cats that eat dry food so often get fat! Just like Farmer John fattens his cattle on the low fat grains!

The cat uses dietary fat and protein for energy; if these are not supplied, it must break down fat and protein stored within its own body. Be he wild or tame, large or small, the cat’s basic structure and function have not changed through the ages.

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Celeste Yarnall

Celeste Yarnall, PhD shares musings on myriad of topics at her Celestial Musings Blog. She is the author of The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care with Jean Hofve, DVM and Paleo Dog. Celeste is an actress/producer/activist/writer and keynote speaker. She and her husband Nazim Artist created the Art of Wellness Collection and are the producers of Femme: Women Healing the World. They live in Los Angeles, California with their beloved Tonkinese cats. Join Celeste at her website or on Facebook.

119 comments

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8:22AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Some people need to get a life--cats are carnivores pure and simple and as much as some non meat eaters would like to, the cat cannot change their systems to go on a vegan diet just because this will end animal suffering. Purrhaps we should cull all carnivores so that only the vegetarian species will survive but since Nature created both meat eaters and those whom do not eat meat, well there was a reason.
Reality however dictates that cats and other carnivores are part of the natural order of things. They do not survive well by eating a non meat diet. Get over it, not all species can go vegan, they just exist in the world because Nature made them that way.

2:52PM PST on Feb 23, 2012

Lamby please feel free to contact us for help...we love it when we can. You can reach us at Celestial Pets http://www.CelestialPets.com. We’ve been helping people make this conversion for 20 years. CelestialPets@CelestialPets.com My business partner for all these years is Imelda Lopez Casper and we have help many a hand and paw through the years for both dog and cats parents!!! xxoo

2:10PM PST on Feb 19, 2012

thank you so much for this article. i have a 2 year old tomcat who has thus far refused the fresh raw meats that i have brought home. i've changed prey, different organic suppliers...he just smells the food and is not interested. occasionally i will bring home a piece of cooked chicken breast or turkey - sometimes he will have a little bit of it, but i can't help but wonder if he sees me get all excited about it that he just feels sorry for me! i want him to love his food like i have seen when i fed my beloved dog a raw diet. i have tried going slow, mixing it up and putting just a tiny bit in with his regular wet food - he honestly wont even eat his regular food at that point. anyway, this article has inspired me to try again. perhaps an animal communication session is next. thanks.

4:24AM PST on Dec 23, 2011

Celeste Y. i don't think the vegans care about biology. feeding pets is all about ethics to them. trying to give them a crash corse in zoology is considered bullying or trolling to them.

12:32PM PDT on Oct 11, 2011

(Trying to make the quote fit here is the rest)
What little carboyhydrate the cats do burn is broken down by hexokinase, an enzyme system that can’t speed up to handle large meals or slow down during a fast. Cats handle excess carboydrates by stoing it as fat, not gycogen. As a result, when a cat misses a meal, it has no source of fast fuel, so it must break down fat and protein stored in its own body--the same thing an omnivore does during starvation. On the other hand, cats are efficient at getting energy from protein, so the small constant, meaty meals of a predator suit a cat completely."

12:30PM PDT on Oct 11, 2011

Joanne Howl, DVM,Oct '98 Cat Fancy Carnivore in the House.
“One important biochemical quirk is the way cats get energy from food. Most animals use carbohydrates, the complex sugars found in plants, for their primary body fuel. In thee animals, the nergy factory is based on the enzyme glucokinase, which adapts readily to either feast or famine. For example, when a marathon runner eats pasta the night before a race his or her glucokinase system kicks into high gear and sends a steady energy stream to the body, which stores excess energy as readily usable glycogen. The next day, when the atlete can’t eat but needs a lot of energy, the glucokinase system nearly shuts down, allowing the body to burn glycogen for fuel.

Cats are radically different. They dpn’t use a glucokinase system, so they don’t handle carbohydrates as well as people can, says Rebecca Remillard, PhD., DVM, a veterinary nutritionisht at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. What little carboyhydrate the cats do burn is broken down by hexokinase, an enzyme system that can’t speed up to handle large meals or slow down during a fast. Cats handle excess carboydrates by stoing it as fat, not gycogen. As a result, when a cat misses a meal, it has no source of fast fuel, so it must break down fat and protein stored in its own body--the same thing an omnivore does during starvation. On the other hand, cats are efficient at getting energy from protein, so the small constan

12:26PM PDT on Oct 11, 2011

Joanne Howl, DVM in the October 1998 issue of Cat Fancy and ref/ pg 29, 'Carnivore in the House.’
“One important biochemical quirk is the way cats get energy from food. Most animals use carbohydrates, the complex sugars found in plants, for their primary body fuel. In thee animals, the nergy factory is based on the enzyme glucokinase, which adapts readily to either feast or famine. For example, when a marathon runner eats pasta the night before a race his or her glucokinase system kicks into high gear and sends a steady energy stream to the body, which stores excess energy as readily usable glycogen. The next day, when the atlete can’t eat but needs a lot of energy, the glucokinase system nearly shuts down, allowing the body to burn glycogen for fuel.

Cats are radically different. They don’t use a glucokinase system, so they don’t handle carbohydrates as well as people can, says Rebecca Remillard, PhD., DVM, a veterinary nutritionisht at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. What little carboyhydrate the cats do burn is broken down by hexokinase, an enzyme system that can’t speed up to handle large meals or slow down during a fast. Cats handle excess carboydrates by stoing it as fat, not gycogen. As a result, when a cat misses a meal, it has no source of fast fuel, so it must break down fat and protein stored in its own body--the same thing an omnivore does during starvation. On the other hand, cats are efficient at gett

12:23PM PDT on Oct 11, 2011

I found in my original research for my nutrition chapter in my book Holistic Cat Care, with Jean Hofve, DVM.
Joanne Howl, DVM in the October 1998 issue of Cat Fancy and refer/ pg 29, 'Carnivore in the House.’
“One important biochemical quirk is the way cats get energy from food. Most animals use carbohydrates, the complex sugars found in plants, for their primary body fuel. In thee animals, the nergy factory is based on the enzyme glucokinase, which adapts readily to either feast or famine. For example, when a marathon runner eats pasta the night before a race his or her glucokinase system kicks into high gear and sends a steady energy stream to the body, which stores excess energy as readily usable glycogen. The next day, when the atlete can’t eat but needs a lot of energy, the glucokinase system nearly shuts down, allowing the body to burn glycogen for fuel.

Cats are radically different. They dpn’t use a glucokinase system, so they don’t handle carbohydrates as well as people can, says Rebecca Remillard, PhD., DVM, a veterinary nutritionisht at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. What little carboyhydrate the cats do burn is broken down by hexokinase, an enzyme system that can’t speed up to handle large meals or slow down during a fast. Cats handle excess carboydrates by stoing it as fat, not gycogen. As a result, when a cat misses a meal, it has no source of fast fuel, so it must break down fat and protein stored i

11:50AM PDT on Oct 11, 2011

oh wow, a vegan that sees cats do eat meat. most of them here would rather they not.

11:02AM PDT on Oct 11, 2011

Can this whack nut be banned from posting?!? Colleen, you are an embarrassment and a disgrace to all myself and my vegan, animal-rights friends and cohorts. And before you consider re-posting, do us all a favor and buy the book, "Animal Ingredients A to Z". It may be a true eye-opener for you. Unfortunately, you may start harassing more friends and family, if you have any left.

Thank you, Celeste, for the informative article and in hopes that the "reachable" learned that felines NEED meat to survive.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

a soft voice, a friendly smile, courtesy, I believe to be better that squeezing your feet into stile…

Signed.Why should any animal be killed for fun or because someone wants a trophy rug, disgusting.

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