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Cats Are Obligate Carnivores: What Does This Entail?

Cats Are Obligate Carnivores: What Does This Entail? - KittyNook Cat Company

Our wonderful life-supporting planet hosts an incredibly varied and intricate range of living organisms. And while some share characteristics, many remarkable distinctions make each stand out from the rest. Despite having a string of similarities with all the earth's life forms, diversity and differences make us appreciate what makes each of us unique. Maybe that's why the cat is America's top house pet. Cats are different!

This phenomenal four-legged feline has got marvel, shock, superstitious notions, love, damnation, and deification for as long as we can recall. From pharaohs to the contemporary cat parent, the friendship of and affection for cats has resulted from the cat's distinct ability to make humans stare in awe and appreciation.

Today we will look closely at these two terms: carnivores and omnivores. Cats are obligate carnivores, and dogs are omnivores. Both of them are mammals and carnivores, but there is a difference. Cats will not be able to sustain life unless it consumes meat. Dogs can survive on plant products alone. (But remember that dogs do best and, naturally, are primarily meat-eaters. Even if, necessarily, they are omnivores.)

What Are Obligate Carnivores?

What Are Obligate Carnivores

The animal kingdom has three kinds of eaters: herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores. Carnivores need meat-based diets, herbivores live on plant-based diets, and omnivores survive on meat and plants.

The majority of carnivores are not obligated. Obligate carnivores depend solely on meat because they require nutrients that can be found only in animal flesh. According to National Geographic, plants do not give enough nutrients for obligate carnivores to survive, and their body can not digest and absorb plant nutrients properly. Aside from felines, seals, eagles, dolphins, and walruses are other examples of obligate carnivores.

Biological Attributes of Obligate Carnivores

Biological Attributes of Obligate Carnivores

A cat's anatomic and physiologic adaptations include distinct attributes that make a living on an exclusively meat-based diet easier.

For example, a cat's digestive tract is relatively short compared to other animals and is designed to absorb protein and fat quickly.

The prey consumption, which might involve hunting, makes their teeth and claws sharp. Cats have two front canine teeth that help them latch and pierce on flesh. Their strong jaws help tear the meat away from the bones.

Metabolic Adjustments of Obligate Carnivores

Metabolic Adjustments of Obligate Carnivores

Unlike herbivores or omnivores, obligate carnivores like cats are less able to adjust to varied nutritional sources.

A meat-only diet lets cats absorb vitamins and fatty acids in a pre-formed state. Because cats can get nutrients from the animals they eat, their bodies can no longer make specific vitamins and amino acids as herbivores or omnivores can. Cats need Taurine, Arginine, Niacin, and Vitamin A—all of which they can find in meat resources.

Can I Make My Cat Eat Vegan Food?

Can I Make My Cat Eat Vegan Food

The ASPCA discourages a vegan diet. Feeding cats a plant-based diet regimen will make them sick because their digestive systems aren't tailored for it, and cats will not grow on it.

If you insist on a vegan diet plan for your cat, you should consult a veterinarian before readjusting your feline's diet.

How Cats Nutritional Requirements Differ From Dogs

How Cats Nutritional Requirements Differ From Dogs

Cats look, act, respond, and respond differently than canines in many obvious ways. These distinctions are quickly noted by basic observation. You never see a cat wag its tail; a dog's reflexes are quick and excellent; dogs are doers; cats are viewers.

Listed below are hidden distinctions between cats and dogs, particularly in how they absorb nutrients.

Vitamin A

Also called retinol, cats and dogs need this vitamin at the cellular level.

Cats: Have little to no enzymes that break down plant-produced carotenoids. They should eat pre-formed Vitamin A (which has already been transformed from carotenoids to its active form by other animals such as mice or rabbits).

Dogs: Have enzymes in the intestinal tract lining that can break down and convert plant carotenoids into active Vitamin A.


Niacin is an essential B vitamin (essential means that the body cannot produce it, which has to come from outside).

Cats: You can only have it through the pre-formed vitamin. They can't convert Tryptophan to Niacin.

Dogs: Can get Niacin in two ways: one is by transforming a dietary amino acid called Tryptophan into Niacin, and the other is by eating pre-formed Niacin.


A building block for proteins, Arginine is a vital amino acid. No Arginine, the body will go on strike!

Cats: Are extremely sensitive to Arginine deficiency and can not make their Arginine within their chemical manufacturing facility. Cats need a lot of protein, and Arginine helps to eliminate protein wastes so they cannot pollute the body!

Dogs: Are not extremely sensitive to Arginine deficiency in their diet and can generate enzymes internally that help them produce Arginine.


This amino acid is not built into proteins but dispersed throughout many body cells. Taurine is essential for a healthy heart, retina, and liver, among many else.

Cats: Have to eat pre-formed Taurine. And considering that it is not found in plant cells, cats need to eat meat to get Taurine. Therefore, Taurine is important in the diet regimens of cats.

Dogs: Can make their very own in their inner "factory."


This compound is made from Cysteine, a sulfur amino acid (SAA).

Cats: They have a much higher requirement for SAA than other Mammals, as they are the only creatures to manufacture the Felinine chemical. Felinine's function in the whole process of the chemical manufacturing facility is unknown. However, Felinine is present in the male cat's pee.

Dogs: Do not have and do not need this.


Cats: If cats are fed 100% digestible protein in their diet, they will utilize 20% of this on growth metabolism and 12% for maintenance. Cats need more protein in their diet than dogs do.

Dogs: If cats are fed 100% digestible protein in their diet, the canine will use 12% of this on growth metabolism and 4% for maintenance.

Arachidonic Acid

This is an essential fatty acid used for fat usage and energy manufacturing.

Cats: Again, cats do not make their own Arachidonic Acid, even if they have enough Linoleic Acid to manufacture it.

Dogs: Can make their own Arachidonic Acid if given enough Linoleic acid by eating the right fats. Therefore, Arachidonic Acid is not an essential fatty acid in dogs.

Last Words

Next time you look at your cat, remember that hidden beneath that hairy skin is a one-of-a-kind system. It should be evident by now that a top-notch, meat-based diet is imperative to a cat's wellness. There are no vegan diet regimens for cats!

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