Cats are Carnivores |Energy Source - Proteins and Fats

Cats are carnivores and therefore mainly use proteins and fats as an energy source. The digestion of plant food poses great challenges. They are not equipped for this. Give a cat raw peas or flour - the carbohydrates it contains cannot digest them. They are not equipped for this. Even we have our problems with raw strength. The reason is that starch granules are enclosed in a protein skin that has to be 'cracked' first. However, herbivores have some digestive advantages when it comes to digesting plant food that takes longer. There is no pre-digestion in the mouth Like herbivores, we at Omnivore have molars to grind food. We saliva the resulting porridge so that the digestive enzymes contained in the saliva pre-digest in the mouth (chew bread for a long time and it will taste sweet because the starch is broken down into glucose).


Carnivores like a cat have fangs for rough tearing. They swallow the food in pieces. No pre-digestion. The gut The small intestine is shorter in a cat than in us. Proteases and lipases that break down proteins and fats are used here. For starch we need amylase and in the further course of starch degradation maltase. We also find these enzymes in the small intestine of cats, which means that they are quite capable of breaking down starch in maltose and further in glucose. The small sugars can be absorbed into the bloodstream via the intestinal wall. In the large intestine, we humans are really digestive. Here, however, it looks thin in cats when it comes to amylase and maltase. You essentially have the back of a shorter small intestine at your disposal. Because plant-based foods take time to digest, cats find it harder to break down the starch into small sugars for use. In nature, cats ingest carbohydrates through the gastrointestinal tract of their prey, which has already done the preparatory work. Can cats digest carbohydrates? Yes, you can. The trick is to unlock the starch, ie crack the protein skin. We also do this for ourselves by cooking or baking starchy foods.


Cat food is also pre-cooked so that the starch is unlocked and thus easier to digest. Then amylase and maltase in the small intestine can crack the macromolecule and break it down into sugar. And for that. Metabolism The energy metabolism of cats is no different from that of humans. Cats also need glucose. As mentioned, however, they primarily use proteins and fats as energy sources due to their primary food source (meat). From this, they can produce the glucose required by the metabolism via gluconeogenesis. Similar to what we do with a keto or paleo diet. As with humans, insulin helps in the absorption of glucose from the blood plasma into the cells where it is needed. And as with us, too high blood sugar levels can lead to insulin resistance so that the sugar can no longer be absorbed by the cells. And that's where it is needed.


At the same time, insulin production decreases in feline type 2 diabetes. On the one hand, there is less insulin, which also does not work well. Many cells can also absorb amino acids and fatty acids from degraded proteins and fats and feed them into energy metabolism. However, like ours, some cells require glucose, since only glucose transporters are present on their surfaces. Insulin resistance is as devastating for cats as it is for us, but it can also be treated well. Cat food and carbohydrates Cat food, especially dry food, contains significant amounts of (digested) carbohydrates. Even if the cat cannot use it, you should keep in mind that it tends to eat small amounts of carbohydrates in nature. Pay attention to the number of carbohydrates in cat food and choose food with higher meat content.




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