Bioavailability Bonuses in Feeding Felines the Proper Diet
More nutrients = less waste
Bioavailability is not a word you are likely to come across on a daily basis: it refers to the degree at which a nutrient is absorbed and activated in living beings at the place within our bodies where action is needed.
Cats cannot eat plants — well, they can, but they cannot digest them — meaning the nutrients in plants are not bioavailable. You may see cats nibble on grass but they won’t digest it.
I was once told of cat owner who thought she could force her vegetarianism on her cat. It broke my heart (though the story had a happy ending in that an outsider rescued her sickly cat), because it’s absolutely impossible for a cat to survive on a vegetal diet.
While it would seem logical that if we humans can obtain protein from a bean or quinoa, a cat could too. But they lack an enzyme that we humans have and no matter how hard you try to convert your cat (and please don’t), there’s no physiological way it can obtain nutrients from anything but meat.
This species requires a unique and complete amino acid profile of its own and therefore is classed as an obligate carnivore.
The sad part about many commercial foods is what manufacturers have gotten away with in ingredients passing off as cat food. The grains and fillers used for their gains and profits has been nothing shy of criminal.
There are now some great canned foods available on the market, reading labels is imperative. A bit technical, but a very interesting read, is Lynn Curtis’tips on reading cat food labels. But even better is to provide your cat a well-rounded recipe of raw meat . Apart from the essential component of animal protein, the “raw” part increases the bioavailability of protein.
Less waste (of your money)
While some argue that raw food is too expensive, you’ll be feeding your cat less in quantity. Also, with better results to their health, another very likely benefit will be lower long term medical expenses…but let me get back to bioavailability since the list of benefits could derail into a whole new article!
Essentially, foods with non-bioavailable ingredients just mean putting extra food in the bowl (and in the tummies of cats):
Less waste (in the litterbox)
Want to know something cool about higher bioavailability? Less stool! Yes, your poop-scooping will decrease, not just based on the lower quantity ingested, but based on them very efficiently using the nutrients.
Note that there may in fact be an increase in urination: raw diet has high moisture levels (providing another great benefit to cats). Lessening the need to scoop poop is a nice added benefit to feeding raw…bioavailability bonuses are not just for cats 🙂