What Are The Cat Nutrition Needs And How To Meet Them?

I used to make the mistake of thinking that the cat nutrition needs of cats are the same. But that is not true!

The cat nutrition needs always change during cat development and adulthood. Their daily food intake will depend on different factors such as cat breed, size, exercise behavior, and especially closely related to their age.

So, how to choose a cat diet so that the “boss” has enough nutrition for healthy growth and reduces the risk of disease? I have researched this issue very carefully.

Take the time to learn the cat nutrition needs with Pet Care With Sam!

The Importance Of The Cat Nutrition Needs

the cat nutrition needs

Taking care of pet cats so that they grow up healthy is a challenging thing. The smallest thing is to meet the cat nutrition needs. This will be a complex problem for those who are just starting to raise cats and those who have been raising cats for a long time.

In formulating a cat diet, the cat’s age needs to be considered to choose the right food.

The cat nutrition needs are different in each lifestyle. So choosing a suitable variety for their energy levels, metabolic rate, and other basic needs is essential.

Choosing a cat diet that can provide the optimal amount of nutrition they need can help ensure a long, healthy life. You must know what your cat needs and why.

7 The Cat Nutrition Needs

The cat nutrition needs can be divided into several categories. The classification and research left me needing clarification. But don’t worry! I’ve summarized them below for your convenience:


the cat nutrition needs

Water is the most essential nutrient.

Although food can provide pets with a certain amount of water, pets still need clean water. Lack of water can put pets or cats at risk of severe illness or even death.


the cat nutrition needs

Protein is the basic “material” for forming cells, tissues, organs, enzymes, hormones, and antibodies. They are essential for your pet’s growth, development, and reproduction.

Protein also helps support the growth of tissues, muscles, ligaments, cartilage, skin and hair, metabolism, and injury repair.

Amino Acids

the cat nutrition needs
Amino acids are proteins’ structural components, divided into essential and non-essential amino acids.

Essential amino acids – are amino acids the pet cannot synthesize in sufficient quantities and must be in the diet.

Non-essential amino acids – animals can synthesize independently and are not required in their diet.


Taurine is an essential amino acid for cats. A lack of taurine can cause central retinal degeneration, leading to blindness and heart failure.


the cat nutrition needs

Fat is a stored form of energy, helping to provide your pet twice the energy of protein or carbohydrates. It is needed for the production of certain hormones or the absorption and use of fat-soluble vitamins.

Fats help insulate the body and protect the internal organs of the pet.


Carbohydrates provide energy for the body’s tissues and play an essential role in gut health and reproduction.

For example, fiber is a carbohydrate that changes the mix of bacteria populations in the small intestine, which can help control diarrhea.

Fiber needs to be moderately fermented so your cat can get its best nutritional potential.

In particular, high-fiber foods are unsuitable for cats with high energy needs, such as childhood and adulthood.


the cat nutrition needs

Vitamins are catalysts for enzyme reactions. Small amounts of vitamins are essential for properly functioning the cat’s metabolism.

The body cannot synthesize most vitamins that are required in the diet.

However, overdosing can lead to some critical vitamins and minerals toxicity.


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The Cat Nutrition Needs By Age

Here is the information I have compiled for you to understand better:

The Cat Nutrition Needs For Kittens (4 Weeks – 1 Year)

the cat nutrition needs

In the first days of life, kittens will need a diet that is complete with the cat nutrition needs and reasonable to have a good health foundation throughout life.

However, the digestive system of young kittens is not fully developed yet. Therefore, we must be careful with their care to prevent them from getting diarrhea.

Kittens under 1 month must be fed exclusively with the mother’s milk.
Then, at 4-5 weeks old, they can get used to a small amount of food softened with water.

At this stage, kittens need extra calories, protein, healthy fats, and minerals like calcium and phosphorus for healthy skeletal muscle growth and development.

Specialized cat food is a perfect choice because it has been researched to provide enough protein and other nutrients for cats to grow.

Should divide into small meals and feed the cat 5-6 times/day.

Alternatively, you can also choose fresh foods with high water content. Fresh cat food is usually 75% water, a great supplement.


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The Cat Nutrition Needs For Adult Cats

the cat nutrition needs

As cats mature, their dietary needs change compared to kittens.

Their metabolism begins to slow down, their bodies mature, and their activity levels change.

Cats eat food that has less calories but still has all the necessary vitamins and nutrients that an adult cat needs.

Grown-up cats need to eat healthy food to stay in good shape and stay healthy. You can decide on a daily diet depending on your cat’s weight, health, and activity level.

You can think of the normal energy level as the amount of food an average adult cat with a normal weight needs to stay healthy, which is about 250 Calories per day.

Read More: How Many Cans Of Wet Food For A Cat A Day? The Most Detailed Guide For You!

Pet Food Classification

There are many types of pet food on the market today. It left me bewildered, and I didn’t know where to start.

But gladly, this article will help you a lot. You will no longer need to be confused by much information because I have compiled it for you.

We can classify foods into 5 main categories: dry food, canned food, semi-moist food, homemade food, and raw meat-based food.

Dry food, canned food, and semi-moist food are commercial pet food.

Commercial foods are classified according to processing methods and water content. The ingredients and nutritional composition will not affect the classification of the food.

Commercial food with a complete and balanced diet for cats is a food that provides just the right amount of the cat nutrition needs for the pet’s body, not redundant, not lacking.

Adding specific nutrients to a commercial food with a complete and balanced diet for cats should be done carefully under close dosage supervision.

As a special note, dog food is not suitable as cat food. Because:

Most dog foods are lower in protein and often do not contain sufficient taurine concentrations (an amino acid).

Not processed to have a urine pH < 6.5 (helps prevent kidney stones in the cat urinary tract).

Dry Food

the cat nutrition needs

Dry food is divided into two main categories: kibble and dehydrated food.


Kibble is the most popular pet food in the US and several other countries. Dry feed usually contains about 90% dry matter and 10% water.

About 95% of dry cat food is produced by the stamping process.

That is a mixture of ingredients such as grains, meat, meat by-products, fats, minerals, vitamins, etc., mixed and cooked. Then, people put the mixture into the stamping mold to shape.

The granules are produced at about 150°C, which destroys toxins, sterilizes the feed, and converts the starch component into a more digestible form.

During drying, the feed particles are then coated with fat or digestible substances (materials derived from animal tissues) to increase palatability.

The advantage of dry food is that it is low cost – compared to canned or semi-moist foods, and is easy to store – keeping leftovers cold after use is unnecessary.

Some specific dry foods reduce periodontal disease in pets (although not very effectively).

Dehydrated Food

Like grain foods, dried foods are also dried to remove moisture, but only for short periods at high temperatures.

This approach helps to retain almost all the sources of the cat nutrition needs in food and prolong the shelf life of food.

Some dried foods need to be added to water before feeding.

Frozen food or freeze-dried food is also a form of dried food. This form of feed is frozen and dried at low temperatures, which preserves the product, and retains its natural nutritional composition.

Dried foods are usually more expensive than grain foods.

Canned Food

the cat nutrition needs

Canned food, known as wet food, contains about 68-78% water and 22-32% dry matter. The ingredients in canned foods and foods are often similar, but the dosage is different.

Canned foods usually consist of meat, which can be fresh, frozen, poultry, fish, and livestock by-products, so canned food has a higher moisture content.

Many canned pet foods have proteins made from grains like wheat or soy that feel rough. These ingredients have a texture similar to meat with high nutritional value.

Combining meat with texture proteins reduces production costs and improves the product’s nutritional profile.

The canning process begins with mixing meat (or similar ingredients) with fats, water, and dry matter (such as vitamins and minerals) with the proper nutritional content.

The mixture can be pureed or crushed according to the finished product requirements. Then, the mixture is put into the box, closed the lid, and sterilized (under heat and pressure) to destroy pathogens.

The advantage of canned food is its long shelf life and high palatability.

Semi-Moist Food

the cat nutrition needs

Semi-moist cat food usually contains 25-40% water and 60-75% dry matter.

These foods do not need to be kept cold because they are preserved with a humectant. This substance keeps water from growing bacteria and mold and ensures a long service life.

These include simple sugars (usually cane sugar – sucrose), sorbitol (a sugar alcohol that breaks down sugars from the aldehyde group into a hydroxide group), propylene glycol (an organic compound with the formula C3H8O2), and salt.

Many semi-moist foods are acidified using phosphoric acid (H3PO4), malic acid (organic compound C4H6O5), and hydrochloric acid (HCl) to slow the breakdown of food.

The advantages of semi-moist foods are convenience, palatability, and ease of digestion.

However, semi-moist food is also more expensive than dry food.

And the special thing is that this type of food has now stopped being sold on the market because it contains many preservatives.

Homemade Food

the cat nutrition needs

Homemade food is food that owners will prepare at home for pets. Homemade diets are more suited to the nutritional needs of dogs compared to cats.

The advantage of homemade food is the fresh, quality ingredients.

The minus point of homemade food is that it is expensive, takes time, changes in quality and moderation, and it is challenging to form a complete and balanced nutritional diet.

In particular, creating a complete and balanced nutritional diet with adequate nutrient density in just a small amount of delicious cat food is difficult.

Many homemade foods are high in protein and calories, with inappropriate calcium: phosphorus ratio and inadequate calcium levels, copper, iodine, fat-soluble vitamins, and some B vitamins.

Many cat recipes contain ash or minerals to supplement the synthetic nutrients cats need.

If the owner chooses a homemade diet, you should follow the recipe instructions of the veterinary nutritionist.

It’s also important to know that no home-cooked diet has been tested and researched to form balanced, entirely commercial pet foods.

Raw Meat-Based Food

the cat nutrition needs

There are two main types of raw meat diets: homemade and commercial. In addition, a wide range of dry or freeze-dried live pet food treatments also fall into this category.

The raw meat-based diet has caused waves of controversy in recent years.

One of the most significant controversial issues surrounding this diet is the safety of the diet for pets and the owners and people who come into contact with the animals that eat this food.

Even if owners purchase raw meat to prepare pet food, there is no guarantee that the meat will not carry hidden pathogens, nor is it safe to consume.

Providing The Cat Nutrition Needs What to Note

You should not provide the cat nutrition needs for kittens to adult cats. These foods will not provide enough energy for their growth phase.

Providing enough water for cats is something to pay special attention to because cats characteristics are “hate” water, so they usually drink relatively little water.

Therefore, using food in combination with water will be an optimal solution to help provide enough water for babies.

If you only expose cats to dry food, they can develop urinary tract diseases.
Cats need a balanced protein diet, low in carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Cats are “obligate carnivores.” They need to absorb animal fat and protein to get enough nutrients. You need to make sure that the food meets the cat nutrition needs.

It would help if you tailored the feeding to your cat’s needs.

If your cat is overweight (or underweight), you should reduce or increase the amount of food by 10%. Then check your cat’s fat percentage for two weeks. You should adjust accordingly to the changing body shape of the cat.

Pregnant & lactating cats whose weight is out of reference or in special health stages: Need to consult a doctor and feed on demand.

the cat nutrition needs


Remember that each cat has its own unique cat nutrition needs. This is determined by their activity level, weight, and overall health.

Above is the article “What are the cat nutrition needs and how to meet them?” I have spent many days researching and summarizing.

Sam hopes it helps you!

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