Cat food is available in various types. For instance, you can try giving your cat either a plant-based diet or a meat-based one. But, in the wild, cats are more used to a meat-based diet only as they’re carnivorous in nature. 

But, why is meat important for cats, and how does it help them over a plant-based diet? Let’s look at the main reasons why all cats should have a meat-based diet.

Better Digestion

Cats need meat for a primary reason – their bodies are functioned biologically to consume and digest meat. Therefore, their guts and intestines would be able to function more properly, if they were given a meat-based diet.

Additionally, most vegetarian-based diets might focus on providing carbohydrates to cats. Yet, did you know that cats don’t require a lot of carbs? Again, this is because their bodies weren’t meant to digest carbohydrates. So, they have only one enzyme required to digest a plant-based or carbohydrate-based diet. 

On the other hand, cats can easily digest meat-based foods as they’ve multiple enzymes for that. So, in all, feeding your cat with meat leads to better and quicker digestion. 

Improved Dental Health

Even though the dental health of cats may not seem like a huge thing, you should still pay attention to it. Dental problems like periodontitis and gingivitis can cause pain and inconvenience to your feline. However, feeding them with a meat-based diet may help in countering these issues.

If you feed your cat raw meat and bones, it would help in strengthening its gums and teeth. Moreover, it also helps with keeping teeth clean. 

On the other hand, carbohydrates present in plant-based diets cause dental problems. They can encourage plaque buildup by creating a starchy layer on teeth which further leads to dental complications. 

Finer Coat

Who doesn’t want their cat to have a finer and shinier coat? Well, this is possible with a meat-based diet only as your cat needs fatty acids for the same. 

Most meat-based products consist of unsaturated fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids are responsible for promoting oil production and balanced hydration in your feline’s skin. Therefore, leading to plump and healthier-looking skin and coat!

Contrary to a meat-based diet, a plant-based diet is often found lacking in essential fatty acids. They’re only available in nuts and seeds, most of which can cause severe allergies in cats. 

Optimum Weight

When it comes to building a balanced weight in humans, meat is the first thing that comes to mind. Well, you can say the same for cats too. 

If you feed meat to your cat, you don’t have to worry about them getting obese. Here’s why – feeding meat to your cat ensures that they have a stuffed meal. Therefore, they may not feel too hungry and overeat due to that. 

You should also watch out for potential nutrient deficiencies if your cat is hungry all the time. This may indicate that you aren’t feeding them properly, or the portion doesn’t have sufficient nutrients to keep them energized throughout the day. 

Note that you should always choose the best, safe, and healthy food for your cat to meet their nutritional requirements. If you opt for low-quality meat-based cat food, it won’t be enough for your cat. 

More Energy

Cats need ample protein for their energy requirements. It’s because, unlike humans, cats tend to burn proteins into energy with the help of a process known as gluconeogenesis.

So, as you may already know, all types of meat are rich in protein. If you feed your cat meat regularly, it can help in fulfilling their daily protein requirements. This will enable them to become more active instead of lazing around the whole day or even turning obese. 

How to Incorporate Meat Into Your Cat’s Diet?

Now that you’re aware of the importance of meat in your cat’s diet, you might wonder how you need to feed it to them. Well, there are three ways to go about it.

Raw Diet

One of the easiest ways to incorporate meat into your cat’s diet is by opting for a raw food diet. In a raw food diet, you give your cat uncooked meat instead of opting for kibble or canned food. There are some obvious advantages and disadvantages to this. 

A raw diet is often more nutritious in nature as the nutrients aren’t killed due to the cooking process. There’s also a risk as raw meat might contain pathogens like salmonella that can cause diseases in cats. 

Readymade Cat Food

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of feeding a raw diet to your cat, you can purchase readymade cat food. These are available in various types like wet, dry, and canned and are rich in meat too. 

Therefore, you can choose any type as per your requirements and incorporate meat into your cat’s diet. 

Final Thoughts

We can conclude that most cats can’t rely on a plant-based or vegan diet. Their bodies need meat as they’re obligate carnivores. Therefore, try to provide them with high-quality meat that meets their nutritional requirements and keeps them satisfied!


About the Author: Patricia consults experts in cat health and diets in order to recommend high-quality, good-value products that will make your cat (and therefore you) happy.