Cats should be fed a proper diet of commercially prepared cat food, and not just on boiled fish and rice, which many owners think is enough for their pets. Veterinarian Dr Jean Paul Ly said a cat’s diet has a direct bearing on its health and owners need to know important aspects of all its nutritional needs.
For instance, cats, unlike dogs, need taurine, a minor nutrient found in raw meat which is often destroyed when cooked. Dr Ly said that without taurine, cats suffer from sudden death, because their hearts get enlarged, their metabolic rate is affected, or they develop liver failure. He also said that it was a myth that fish and liver should be a cat’s stable diet as high amounts of these food can actually cause complications like kidney problems and heart failure. “A cat can die from such complications without ever reaching old age,” he said.
But it is no myth that cats are fussy eaters as they have a more developed sense of taste and smell, keener than their canine counterparts. A pet shop owner, Mrs Loh of All Breeds Pets called cats “gourmet eaters” which appreciate a lot of food and eat a wide variety of meats.
Dr Ly said that if cats do not like the food they are given, they can go for weeks without eating and will even starve themselves to death. But cats in Singapore may not have to resort to starving. It appears that more cat owners are aware of the benefits of cat food, which is not only healthier, but convenient for the owner as well.
A check with five pet shops showed that while the increase in cat food sales is not dramatic, it has nevertheless been moving up steadily. Miss Pearl Lim, sales groomer of Pets ‘N’ Pedigree, said she used to give away cat food samples to encourage customers to switch to commercially-prepared cat food. But now, sales are so good she has to restock her cat food shelves every two days.