Although we often associate the image of a malnourished cat with that of a stray cat, the truth is that some domestic cats may also suffer from malnutrition. This is so especially, in cases where the owner has not learned about the nutritional requirements of felines.
The way you feed your cat will have a big impact on your overall health. Therefore, observing the appearance and current behavior of your kitten it is possible to see if it is obtaining the correct amount of essential nutrients.
Causes of malnutrition in cats
The main cause of malnutrition in a cat is that it is not eating enough food or that it is being fed the wrong type of food. It is common to detect malnutrition in cats that receive food prepared at home or that are fed a predominantly vegan or vegetarian diet.
If they are not prepared properly, These diets may be deficient in nutrients such as calcium and other minerals such as copper, zinc and potassium. It is also vital to ensure adequate vitamin content, such as vitamin E.
Further, An important aspect is palatability; homemade food is usually prepared in vegetable oil, which is not palatable to cats. This results in poor food intake. On the other hand, fish-based diets can lead to a deficiency of thiamine or vitamin B1. Also, if you have excessive liver intake, vitamin A toxicity can be caused.
To prepare homemade recipes for the feeding of your cat it is recommended to be informed in detail at the veterinarian.
Early symptoms of a malnourished cat
During the early stages the appearance of a malnourished cat is disheveled and lack of cleanliness; the cat will neglect his grooming habit. The skin will become flaky and dry as a result of malnutrition, while the nails will weaken.
As malnutrition progresses, your pet will begin to lose skin in patches and, if the skin grows back, the color will be darker. The loss of skin, dry and flaky skin, as well as concave nails, are the first symptoms of malnutrition.
Metabolic deterioration in the malnourished cat can lead to extensive accumulation of fat in the liver. As a result, the liver can no longer carry out its normal functions. This condition is called hepatic lipidosis and can cause death.
Signs of prolonged malnutrition in cats
Over time, if poor nutrition is prolonged, your pet will become skeletal in appearance. This is because of weight loss and muscle weakness. The shoulder blades and spinal vertebrae will be clearly visible through the skin and bones will protrude, while the stomach will shrink and become sunken.
In advanced stages of malnutrition the deterioration of the immune response is established. Further, The so-called organ failure and death may occur.
An undernourished cat may have neurological signs
Undoubtedly, malnutrition can cause neurological signs. For example, vitamin B1 or thiamine deficiency can cause a cat to have poor coordination, vision failure, fatigue, depression, neurotic behavior and seizures. This can be fatal if it is not reversed.
In the past, there has been the withdrawal of commercial cat food products for not meeting the minimum thiamine requirement. The consequences brought by the use of such products showed the importance of an adequate intake of thiamine in cats.
It is very important to give your pet a healthy and balanced diet. Given the failures found in commercial foods, many cat owners have chosen to make homemade recipes.
This can be a very healthy option, if there is adequate documentation to meet the nutritional requirements of your cat. Further, As a pet owner it is important to be aware of the symptoms of malnutrition and seek veterinary help if necessary.