Metabolic basis for some of the nutritional peculiarities of the cat

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The nutritional requirements of most mammals exhibit a remarkable degree of similarity, a reflection of common evolutionary origin. However, among mammals two groups, ruminants and carnivores, appear to possess the greatest divergence in dietary requirements. The former group have been extensively studied, their nutritional peculiarities arising from a specialized pregastric digestive system. Carnivores have been largely neglected by nutritionists, and yet offer a most interesting divergence in dietary requirements amongst mammals. It would appear that the specialized diet, i.e. animal tissue, of true carnivores has permitted metabolic adaptation through modification of enzymes and enzyme systems which are expressed as peculiarities in nutritional requirements. The purpose of this paper is to review the metabolic basis for some of the nutritional peculiarities of the domestic cat, a true carnivore which has received the most attention. The following nutrients, or metabolic functions, are discussed: vitamin A, niacin, taurine, arginine, gluconeogenesis, nitrogen conservation and essential fatty acids. The latter two topics are covered by other discussants at this symposium and are only included here for completeness. The reader is requested to consult the relevant papers of Rogers & Morris (1982) and Rivers (1982).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-613
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Small Animal Practice
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Small Animals


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