The Daily Cat: Nutrition Now
By June Jackson for The Daily Cat
While carbohydrates are not essential to a cat’s diet, they serve as necessary binders in virtually all pet foods. They can also help your feline maintain more even energy throughout the day. Recent studies suggest that certain carbs are better for your cat than others. Here are some of the better ones that you might find mentioned in lists of pet food ingredients:
- Corn Most of the corn in cat food is cornmeal, which results when corn kernels are finely ground to break up the outside covering of each kernel. They are then cooked at high temperatures to increase digestibility. Some manufacturers also use corn grits. This is a portion of the ground corn that contains little or none of the bran fiber or germ, which is a small protein portion at the end of kernels.
- Grain Sorghum Also called milo, grain sorghum is a type of cereal that is cracked, finely ground, and cooked before it is added to cat foods. It is usually found in dry varieties.
- Rice Flour One preferable method that manufacturers use when preparing rice for cat food is to select small kernels of white rice that have been separated from the larger kernels of milled rice. These kernels are then ground and cooked at high temperatures for easier digestibility.
- Wheat Although a small percentage of cats suffer from wheat allergies, most have no problem with it. Wheat is another high-quality carbohydrate source that is found in certain dry cat foods.
Avoid Energy Swings
Most of us have experienced sugar or carb highs after eating a super sugary dessert or a fast-food meal. The boost of energy can be not only uncomfortable, but unhealthy, and can lead to an energy drop that matches the high. Your cat can experience similar highs and lows, too.
To avoid the energy pendulum swings, look for carb combinations, such as grain sorghum mixed with corn. These combos are designed to stabilize blood sugar levels after meals. Such carefully chosen carbohydrate mixtures tend to break down slowly and evenly. This will provide your cat with a more stable level of energy.
June Jackson is a freelance writer and writes often about pets. Her work can be seen in magazines and newspapers nationwide.