Mouse vs finished food: In the course of evolution, the cat has found its niche in nature, in which it has adapted extremely to its habitat and specialized in small prey animals such as mice. But rats, rabbits, squirrels, birds, lizards, fish and insects are also part of the repertoire. This food is raw, contains a high percentage of proteins and fats, which are almost exclusively of animal origin, a negligible percentage of carbohydrates and all the necessary enzymes, natural vitamins and minerals. The cat is a desert animal and is not used to drinking water, as it normally gets its moisture needs from the prey. All internal organs and the very short intestine are tailored to this type of diet. In contrast to humans or dogs, cats cannot produce certain food components such as individual amino acids, fatty acids and vitamins themselves or obtain them from plant-based food.
The finished feed
Ready-made feed is heavily processed, boiled, sterilized and dried as the case may be. Proteins, enzymes and vitamins are changed or destroyed in the process. While the cat’s natural food only contains around 1 to 5% of plant-based components from the gastrointestinal tract of the prey, it is estimated that up to 80% of cereals are contained in ready-made food, depending on the variety. The cat’s metabolism, internal organs and short intestines are unable to adequately break down and utilize carbohydrates. The animal content often consists entirely or to a large extent of inferior by-products. But even if this is not the case, the proportion of high-quality animal components in the finished feed is not sufficient to meet the cat’s needs. Most of the ready-made feeds contain considerably less protein and fat than the mouse. The raw protein content in the finished feed comes partly from plant components such as grain or gluten, and the proteins are heavily denatured by the industrial processing process, which further reduces the digestibility. Synthetic vitamins, minerals and amino acids must be added to the feed, and it often contains harmful preservatives, colorings or sugar. In our opinion, there is currently no ready-made food that is high-quality enough to fully meet the cat’s nutritional needs, following nature’s example.
The table can be found on the original page: Maus vs Fertigfutter
It is noticeable that dry food types have, on average, a lower protein and fat content than wet food and, without exception, very high levels of carbohydrates. It should be noted that the carbohydrate content is always lower than the plant-based components actually present in the feed, as the fiber content is not taken into account and grain products contain proteins and fats in addition to carbohydrates. The proportion of plants, which for the most part consists of grain, is therefore at least 50% in dry feed, but can be up to 80% depending on the variety. Thus, all dry foods deviate greatly from the optimal values of the mouse, while many moist foods approach these, even some of the so-called cheap brands.
However, this information is not sufficient to form a comprehensive judgment about the quality of the ingredients and the usability of the types of food – except for the types with a high carbohydrate content, since the cat is generally poor at using carbohydrates. Just like the analysis, the contents of a feed must be taken into account in order to be able to assess its quality. What use is it, for example, if a variety contains muscle meat and no animal by-products, but at the same time too much grain, which makes the feed unsuitable in our eyes. Therefore, the labels of each type of ready-made food should be carefully studied. For more information about cat food and the cat’s nutritional needs, see the Misconceptions, Feeding Methods, and Nutrients pages.