We often think of fat as a bad thing when it comes to our own diets, so it comes as no surprise that many of us are also wary of it in our cats’ food. However, some amount of fat is necessary, even vital, to the health of your cat. Let's take a look at just how and why fat is important in cat food.
What are Fats?
There are many types of fats present in cat food and each type of fat plays a different role. Fats used in cat foods are typically highly digestible and are used by the body as a source of energy.
All fats are made of fatty acids. These fatty acids can be thought of as the building blocks of the different types of fats. Fatty acids may be characterized in several different ways. They may be classified, based on the length of the carbon-chain that makes up their backbone, as long-chain, medium-chain, or short chain. They may also be classified as saturated, unsaturated, or polyunsaturated based on the number of bonds between the carbon atoms in the backbone. In addition, they may be classified based on where the bonds between the carbon atoms occur. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are examples of this type of classification.
What are Essential Fatty Acids?
As your cat is unable to synthesize essential fatty acids in their singular form, the fatty acids must be supplied in the cat food. For cats, essential fatty acids include linoleic and arachidonic acid, both of which are omega-6 fatty acid. The omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are not technically essential fatty acids but are also often supplemented in dog food due to their many benefits, including increasing brain function and lessening inflammation (anti-inflammatory).
What Do Fats Do?
Fat is important to the health and wellbeing of a cat in a variety of ways. Here are just some of them…
For the complete slideshow on Why Fat is Good For Your Cat, visit petMD!