Cats have very different dietary requirements to us. We are omnivores. We do not have to eat meat to stay healthy. We can do very well on a vegetarian diet. We are able to digest pulses and vegetables and get all the necessary nutrients from them. But cats cannot, so when you are buying cat supplies it is important to remember that cats need meat.

Cats are not just carnivores but also obligate carnivores. That means they have to eat meat to survive. A cat's intestines are shorter, and they are unable to fully digest plant nutrients. To stay healthy, cats need taurine. Taurine is most commonly found in animal muscle, and there is no taurine in plants. Without taurine a cat's eyes will degenerate, and eventually the cat will become blind. Lack of taurine can also cause loss of fur and decaying teeth. Cats can survive on dry food, but to thrive they need meat. And they also need water. In the wild a cat would get about 75 per cent of the water it needs from what it eats, so a large proportion of dry food in a cat's diet is depriving it of water.

There's nothing wrong with giving a cat small amounts of dry stuff as treats or a reward, but the proportion of dry food in a cat's diet should be kept low. Cats also need toys and not just for fun but for exercise as well, especially if they are not going outside much. And a scratching post with a ball attached will enable a cat to sharpen its claws without damaging your furniture.

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