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Cats – The Obligate Carnivore

Cats – The Obligate Carnivore  - primary image

As some of you may know, cats weren’t always the domestic house cats that we have come to know and love. They have a wild origin that goes back over 70,000 years and is connected to that of the African Wild Cat. But how exactly did the cat become a common fixture in a third of American households?

Bonus paw fact: Did you know… New Zealand has the highest percentage of households owning cats at 47%. This is followed by Canada at 38%, America at 32%, United Kingdom at 26% and Australia at 22%. We sure do love our cats down under!

Researchers from the National Cancer Institute examined the DNA of 979 wildcats and domestic cats from across Europe, Asia and Africa to determine which subspecies of the wildcat gave rise to the house cat. Their study found that the DNA of the cats clustered into five different groups, Middle Eastern (African) wildcat, Central Asian wildcat, Southern African wildcat, European wildcat, Chinese mountain cat and the Sand cat.

The results concluded that all domestic cats in the study including mixed-breed and purebred were in fact descendent from the Middle Eastern (African) wildcat according to their DNA. (2009 Scientific America, Inc. The Taming of the Cat by Carlos A. Driscoll, Juliet Clutton-Brock, Andrew C. Kitchener and Stephen J. Obrien)

So, we know now that our furry friends are descendent from the African wildcat. But how does this affect how we should care for our cat today?

Though there have been many subsequent changes to the outward appearance of cats over this time, internally cats have barely changed at all. Your cat is therefore an “obligate” carnivore, just as it was all that time ago. This means that their daily nutritional requirements must include meat and organs and is biologically essential for their survival. Put simply, cats must eat meat to live.

Despite all the selective breeding, their biochemistry and basic cat instincts remain the same. Beneath their cuddly fur, cats are hunters at heart so the diet you feed them should reflect this.

Therefore, the best diet you can provide to your cat is the one that works in harmony with evolution – one that its digestive system can easily convert into usable nutrients and energy for a full and happy life.

This is a diet that is high in protein and includes natural fat from meat.

Ziwi Peak is designed to mirror this wild prey, natural diet so that when you feed your cat, you have peace of mind that you’re providing all the complete and balanced nutritional support required for your cat’s daily requirements.

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