5 Cat Illnesses Affected By Diet
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We all know that eating a balanced diet is an important element of remaining healthy and the same principle applies to our cats. Just as in humans, there are a number of illnesses that are caused or made worse by a bad diet so understanding the connection between the two is important for your cat’s health and wellbeing.

Obesity

In the US, obesity in cats has become something of an epidemic and much of the reason for this is due to poor understanding of the dietary needs of cats and a bad diet. Obesity also leads to a number of other conditions including arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes and even cancer.

The biggest problem with cat diets is that they can be too high in calories and fat levels. While cats, like humans, do need an amount of both from their food, too much brings on weight gain, particularly in indoor cats or those that are less active. Should your cat be obese, there are special diets that they can be put on that will give them all the nutritional benefits they need but help loose the extra pounds.

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is a condition where the pancreas becoming inflamed, that in turn releases digestive enzymes into the abdominal area. These enzymes then break down fat and proteins in other organs. One of the leading causes of the condition in cats looks to be associated with dietary fat, as this stimulates the secretion of a hormone that leads to the pancreas releasing its enzymes.

If your cat has been diagnosed as having the condition, a diet that is low in fat and easy to digest is best while if there is a chance your cat may be developing it; speak to your vet about early dietary changes to stop the progression.

FLUTD

Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is actually a series of conditions that can have symptoms ranging from difficulty urinating, bloody urine, urinating in the wrong place to lack of appetite and a general sense of irritation. Stress can also cause these conditions when a new person or animal comes into the house, a change to daily routine or a move of house. Excess weight, diet issues and a low activity level can also cause the condition.

Vet advice is the best way to deal with the conditions however increasing the water content in food is a good way to help. Canned food has more water than dry food, so focusing their diet on this type is a good first step.

Heart disease

Diet can affect the heart and bring on heart disease along with other factors. High on the list of candidates for causing heart problems is a high intake of sodium, or salt. This affects the circulation of the blood, causes high blood pressure and water retention in the blood vessels, all of which can cause the heart to work less efficiently. Watching the cat’s intake of sodium from both their food and any human food they eat is a good way to help ease this problem.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea isn’t an illness in itself that often but more likely part of a set of symptoms relating to a condition. There are two main types; small bowel and large bowel. The former is where a large amount of soft stool is produced a few times each day while the latter is where the cat strains to produce small amounts of water stool regularly during the day.

Large bowel diarrhea has been connected with a high fiber diet as the indigestible or insoluble type of fiber can cause bowel problems. For cats suffering with either type of diarrhea, a low fat diet is important along with food that is easily digestible.


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