The act of predation is a key part of the feline digestive process, and without it, your kitty may not absorb nutrients as well as he should. This acupressure session can help enhance digestion.
Our sweet little housecats are also killers. Given the chance, they’ll stalk, attack and devour mice, birds and other small critters. Anatomically, they’re no different than their predatory ancestors, who were charged with keeping ancient Egyptian grain storehouses free of vermin. The Egyptians gave small cats the big job of rodent control because of their amazing hunting ability in low light. Cats can see the slightest flicker of movement and instantly pounce before any little creatures can skitter away.
In short, they have survived on freshly killed prey for centuries. In fact, the feline gastrointestinal system is perfectly designed for ingesting raw meat and breaking it down into bio-absorbable nutrients. Even today, some felines are gainfully employed as barn cats. They are expected to annihilate and consume any fast-moving little varmints that dare trespass with the intent of consuming grain or seeking warmth in hay. However, in our society, most domesticated cats live as pampered gentry in our homes.
Predatory drive aids digestion.
As cat parents, most of us would prefer not to replicate or condone the feline hunting instinct. We want to forget that our cats are killers by nature. However, this attitude may make it difficult for our cats’ digestive systems to work as well as their wild counterparts’. It’s actually their predatory drive that begins the digestive process – in other words, feline digestion begins even before the prey is ripped apart and masticated by sharp incisors, premolars and molars! The cat’s digestive enzymes and stomach acid are actually stimulated by the act of predation, in preparation for the meat and blood to enter his mouth, travel down his esophagus to his stomach, and pass through his entire gastrointestinal system. Because domestic cats have to skip the predation phase of their digestion, their natural manner of consuming and processing food is compromised right from the start.
Cats are protein-obligate predatory animals.
Their bodies function best if they consume high quality proteins with little grain or plant matter. For instance, think of a cat catching a field mouse for his first meal of the day. He usually consumes the entire mouse (minus the liver), including the stomach contents. The quantity of grain and plant matter in the mouse’s stomach is just about all the cat needs from a nutritional perspective. The mouse’s size provides a good start to the cat’s daily protein requirement. Very few of us would be comfortable making live rodents available for our cats to kill. And though cats are amazingly adaptable to our way of life, this doesn’t mean we can ignore their nutritional needs if we want them to live long, healthy lives. About the closest we can come to fulfilling a cat’s natural nutritional needs is to feed a raw meat and fish diet – but again, putting a meal in a bowl, no matter how healthy it is, still excludes the predation process and may have an effect on the cat’s digestion and nutrient absorption.
Another factor affecting your cat’s digestion is his age.
When he’s young, his body can manage on what you make available for him to eat. As he ages, his digestive system tends to slow down and may not be able to derive the necessary nutrients to maintain a vital body. Given that we don’t offer live “bait” to our feline companions, and have no way to keep them eternally young, it’s a good idea to support their gastrointestinal tracts however we can. One way to do this is by offering a specific acupressure session (see below), every four or five days, to help enhance the digestive process. The more your cat’s body can readily process his food, the healthier he will be!