We all need protein in our diets, but for cats, this is especially important. Cats are obligate carnivores, also known as hypercarnivores. This means their diet requires nutrients that can only be found in animal sources, making them entirely dependent upon meat. All cats are obligate carnivores, from big cats like lions and tigers to the domestic cats living in our homes.
Carnivores vs omnivores
Being obligate carnivores means that cats get their energy (and also vital nutrients) from meat and animal sources, and cannot meet their nutritional requirements from plant sources. This is in contrast to dogs, which are omnivorous just like us. Omnivores can eat a mix of plants and meat to survive, and will often have very varied diets. If you have both a dog and a cat at home, you’ll know that dogs will happily eat (almost) anything. Cats, on the other hand, have more specific requirements.
A source of essential nutrients
Cats are unable to produce some of the essential nutrients they require to survive, and instead have to rely on their diet to provide them.
You might have heard of amino acids. They’re the building blocks of proteins, and they’re an essential part of healthy diets for us humans as well. There are two amino acids that are particularly important when it comes to a cat’s overall health, arginine and taurine, and you can read more about taurine in our previous post on why taurine is important for cats.
While omnivores and herbivores can synthesize amino acids themselves, cats aren’t able to produce enough. Cats can produce small amounts of taurine, for example, but it’s just not enough to meet their needs. To make up for this, cats have to get these vital amino acids from outside sources. And there are other vital dietary elements that cats need from their diet too, including vitamin A and niacin.
What does this mean for cat owners?
For cat owners, this means choosing a cat food that’s high in protein to meet our cats’ dietary requirements and ensure they’re getting all of the vital nutrients they need. While many of these foods get their protein from meat sources, such as chicken, if you’re on our blog then chances are you’ve discovered that there’s also a planet-friendly alternative—bugs!
Traditional meat can provide cats with the protein they need, but it also has a negative impact on the planet. At Lovebug, we’ve harnessed a different kind of protein, and one that’s kinder to the planet: we believe that bugs are the future of cat food. Lovebug gets its protein from insects, which are great (and hypoallergenic!) sources of protein. Insects are still a type of meat—they’re just a bit smaller than your typical cow or sheep!
Lovebug is a complete and balanced cat food, providing all of the goodness your cats need, and as insects are hypoallergenic, they’re softer on sensitive stomachs too.
To dive into the science behind it, take a look at our guide from Rory the Vet on how insects are a source of protein for cats and find out even more in our guide, “Why Bugs?”.