One of the best ways to keep your Persian cat happy and healthy is to provide her with good nutrition.
Persian cats need the right nutrients in the right proportions to grow, maintain their bodies, be energetic and avoid or recover from injury or illness.
Because a healthy diet is so important, pet owners need to know what nutritious Persian cat food contains. Here’s what to know about your Persian cat’s nutrition.
Persian cat nutrition: what nutrients are most important for Persian cats?
Nutrients are components of foods that perform specific tasks in the body. Persian cats can get the nutrients they need from a variety of ingredients.
Calcium (a nutrient), for example, can come from ingredients such as bone meal, bones, organ tissue, meat, dairy products, legumes, and mineral supplements.
Nutrients fall into one of these six categories:
Energy is not technically a nutrient, but it is still an essential part of your Persian cat’s diet.
Dietary energy, measured in kilocalories (also called calories), is contained in protein and carbohydrates, and fat.
Which Persian cat food contains all the important nutrients?
The best way to make sure Persian cats get all the nutrients they need is to only buy food that has the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutritional adequacy on the label.
Look for either of these formulations:
- Animal feeding tests conducted in accordance with AAFCO procedures indicate that Yummy Persian cat Food provides complete and balanced nutrition for the maintenance, growth, and reproduction of adult Persian cats at all stages of life.
- Yummy Persian Cat Food meets the nutrient levels established by the AAFCO Nutrient Profiles for Persian Cat Foods for the maintenance, growth, and reproduction of adult cats or all life stages.
Let’s now take a closer look at the role nutrients play in the Persian cat’s body.
Protein in Persian cat food
Persian cats are carnivores and must consume a lot of protein compared to many other pets.
Dietary protein is used to build and maintain muscles, hair, skin nails, tendons, cartilage, enzymes, ligaments, hormones, antibodies, and much more.
In Persian cats, protein is also an important source of energy.
Plant and animal protein for Persian cats
Persian cats require animal protein as their bodies need the nutrients it contains.
When your Persian feline eats protein, her digestive system breaks it down into what are called amino acids, which are then reassembled into the kind of protein the pet needs at that specific time.
Your feline’s body can make many of the amino acids she needs (nonessential amino acids) from other amino acids, but there are 11 crucial amino acids for Persian felines that must be included in their diet:
These important amino acids, as well as other necessary nutrients for Persian cats, are best supplied by meat and other animal tissues.
What is Crude protein?
Animal protein is expensive. Some cat food manufacturers keep costs down by supplying only the minimum amount of protein Persian cats need to survive, and no more to support their growth.
The crude protein content of Persian cat food should be listed in the guaranteed analysis section of the label.
Crude protein is an estimate of the protein content of food determined by measuring the nitrogen content.
The crude protein content can be used to compare the protein content of different cat foods.
However, to compare dry food with wet food, it is necessary to make some calculations.
It is also necessary to make some simple calculations to determine whether a Persian cat’s food meets or exceeds your feline’s protein needs.
How much protein does my Persian cat need?
To be considered a complete and balanced diet, the AAFCO requires that adult Persian cat food contain at least 26 percent crude protein in dry matter. The minimum for reproduction and growth is 30%.
To convert the crude protein levels listed on most cat food labels to dry matter, you need to do some calculations:
- Find the percent moisture content in the guaranteed analysis and subtract this number from 100. This is the dry matter percentage of the food.
- Divide the percent crude protein by the percent dry matter of the food and multiply by 100.
- The result is the percentage of crude protein in the dry matter.
A protein content above the AAFCO minimum is almost always better for Persian cats. Research has shown that a diet that provides about half the calories from crude protein is what cats are looking for when left to their own.
Can Persian cats be allergic to certain proteins?
Protein can be problematic; a lot of protein, especially low-quality protein, can exacerbate symptoms of kidney disease in Persian cats.
Protein is also the main trigger of food allergies in Persian cats. If your kitty has health problems, you should discuss with your veterinarian what type of cat food is best.
Fat in Persian cat food
While protein is a crucial source of energy for Persian cats, fat is the most energy-dense nutrient in the diet.
Fats also serve as transport molecules and help conduct nerve impulses.
Omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids are also necessary for healthy skin and coat, inflammation, and wound healing.
Sources of fats
Fats and essential fatty acids are part of ingredients such as chicken, salmon, beef, or liver found in Persian cat food.
Sometimes additional fats are added to the food, and in these cases, the sources of fat are specifically stated in the ingredient list: for example, beef fat, fish oil, or soybean oil.
What does crude fat mean?
The crude fat content of cat food is indicated in the “Guaranteed Analysis” section of the packaging and is estimated by extracting the fats present with ether.
How much fat does my Persian cat need?
The AAFCO minimum for fat in all cat foods is 9% of dry matter.
For Persian cats that are very active or have difficulty maintaining weight, a significantly higher fat content may be appropriate.
Foods designed for weight loss usually contain less fat than those for adult Persian cats.
Carbohydrates in Persian cat food
For many animals, carbohydrates are important sources of energy, but this is less true for Persian cats, which get most of their energy from protein and fat.
Although Persian cats are able to digest small amounts of carbohydrates and use them for energy, they should play only a minor role in their diet.
A diet that contains large amounts of carbohydrates is unnatural for Persian cats and can lead to weight gain and some health problems, such as diabetes.
Studies have shown that cats with food allergies can also respond poorly to some carbohydrates, although this is less common than an allergy to ingredients such as chicken, beef, or fish.
How many carbohydrates does my Persian cat need?
Preferably, Persian cats should get less than 10 percent of their calories from carbohydrates.
Because dry food requires a relatively high percentage of carbohydrates to maintain its shape, this level can only be achieved with wet food. Feeding only wet food is an easy way to reduce your feline’s carbohydrate consumption.
Vitamins in Persian cat food
Vitamins are organic (i.e., carbon-containing) compounds that are needed in small amounts in the diet.
Without vitamins, many enzymes (substances that promote chemical reactions) that are important for normal Persian cat metabolism, could not function.
Sources of vitamins
Vitamins exist naturally in many components of Persian cat foods, including vegetables, fruits, animal tissues, seeds, vegetable oils, and grains.
However, it is nearly impossible to provide the proper amount of all the vitamins a Persian cat needs without using a vitamin supplement.
What vitamins do Persian cats need?
According to AAFCO, every cat food must have these vitamins:
- Vitamin A: essential for the growth of teeth and bones, reproduction vision, and maintenance of skin and mucous membranes.
- Vitamin D: increases the level of calcium and phosphorus in the blood to promote the maintenance and growth of bones.
- Vitamin E: a necessary antioxidant
- Vitamin K: important for normal blood clotting.
- Riboflavin: releases energy from fats, proteins, and carbohydrates,
- Pantothenic acid: necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and certain amino acids.
- Thiamine: has a major role in carbohydrate metabolism
- Niacin: necessary for the processing of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
- Folic acid: necessary for the synthesis of DNA and the amino acid methionine.
- Biotin: contributes to the formation of fatty acids, certain amino acids, and DNA/RNA.
- Pyridoxine: supports the metabolism of glucose amino acids and fatty acids.
- Choline: important as a neurotransmitter, as a component of cell membranes, and for the transport of lipids.
- Vitamin B12: necessary for fat and carbohydrate metabolism and nerve conductivity.
Do Persian cats need vitamin supplements?
As long as your Persian cat is healthy and eating a complete, balanced food, additional vitamin supplementation is unnecessary and can even be dangerous in some circumstances.
You can consult your veterinarian if you think your Persian cat would benefit from a vitamin supplement.
Minerals in Persian cat food
Minerals are inorganic (i.e., carbon-free) compounds that must be present in the diet for normal body function.
Sources of minerals
Some of the minerals that Persian cats need may come from animal and plant ingredients (e.g., bone meal).
However, to ensure a complete and balanced diet, cat food manufacturers almost always need to add mineral supplements to the recipes.
If the Persian cat is healthy and eating food labeled with an AAFCO nutrient adequacy statement, there should be no need to add additional minerals.
What minerals do Persian cats need?
According to AAFCO, the following minerals must be present in sufficient quantities in your Persian cat food:
- Calcium: Crucial for the maintenance and growth of bones and teeth and as an intracellular messenger.
- Phosphorus: Important for the maintenance and growth of bones and teeth and for normal metabolism.
- Potassium: Electrolyte, necessary for muscle contraction nerve function, and heart rhythm.
- Sodium and chloride: electrolytes that contribute to acid-base balance, hydration, the transmission of nerve impulses, and muscle contraction.
- Magnesium: Vital for enzyme function and metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
- Iron: Necessary for the transport of oxygen throughout the body.
- Copper: Vital in the absorption and transport of skin pigmentation, iron, and skeletal growth.
- Manganese: Necessary for immune function metabolism, and bone formation, acts as an antioxidant, and more.
- Zinc: Important for the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids.
- Iodine: Important for the production of thyroid hormones.
- Selenium: A crucial antioxidant that works in conjunction with vitamin E.
What are chelated minerals?
Minerals are inorganic substances that animals sometimes have difficulty absorbing from food.
Chelation is a process in which a mineral is bound to an organic substance, such as an amino acid.
Chelated minerals can be absorbed and used more easily by Persian cats than non-chelated minerals.
Water in Persian cat food
Let’s move on to the most important nutrient for Persian cats: water.
Water makes up the largest part of a Persian cat’s body and is essential for almost all metabolic functions.
Domestic Persian cats have evolved to get most of their water from food, not from the water bowl.
Compared to dogs (4 percent), Persian cats usually become more dehydrated (8 percent) before taking a sip of water.
How much water is sufficient for processing?
Some ingredients, such as whole meat, are rich in water. Water is also added to commercial Persian cat food as part of the production process to facilitate mixing.
The ingredient list includes the statement “sufficient water for processing.” Most of the water is then removed from the dry food to make it more stable.
Canned food contains much more water than dry food, so canned food is better for the way Persian cats consume water and is a healthier choice overall.
How much water does my Persian cat need?
Healthy Persian cats typically need to consume about 4 to 5 ounces of water per 5 pounds of their body weight. But, that includes both what they get through food and through the water bowl.
Persian cats that eat only canned food may not need to drink much additional water.
Can I make my own nutritious Persian cat food?
The safest and easiest way to meet your Persian cats’ nutritional needs is to feed them, high-quality AAFCO-approved canned food.
But what about making your own Persian cat food? Yes, homemade Persian cat food can be a nutritious alternative, but it requires a lot of time, effort, and money.
If you want to feed your Persian cat yourself, make an appointment with a veterinary nutritionist or use services such as Petdiets.com, which is run by veterinary nutritionists.
Don’t make Persian cat food from recipes you find on the Internet or in unknown books. Research has shown that these foods rarely provide a complete and balanced diet.