Do cats need meat?


Cats are obligate carnivores, i.e they are specially adapted to a diet consisting they meet their nutritional needs by consuming other animals and have a higher protein requirement than many other mammals. With the passage of time and evolution, cats have lost the ability to synthesize amino acids and vitamins like that of a herbivore and omnivore. They also need specific amino acids and vitamins such as taurine, arginine, niacin, arachidonic acid, Vitamin A and Vitamin B12 which are found only in meat to function efficiently. Without a steady supply they can suffer from multi-organ dysfunction including liver and heart problems, skin irritation and hearing loss. Taurine, an amino acid responsible for the metabolic rate and biological function, supports a cat’s vision, nerve functioning, immune system, and cardiac motility.

Most omnivores get glucose from breaking down carbohydrates while cats yield their energy through gluconeogenesis, which means they use non-carbohydrate sources to meet their glucose requirement.



The digestive tract of cats is substantially shorter than that of animals that eat plants. Plants are digested by fermentative bacteria and yield a high amount of fiber, thereby requiring a  longer digestive tract. The short digestive tracts of cats enables them to digest raw meat more rapidly.



Cats have 4 canine teeth at the front of their mouths to help them tear into meat. They also have razor-sharp carnassial teeth on the upper and lower jaws to help them deliver a final blow to small prey, assisting them with their flesh-eating habits.

The furry cats with their fur.

What are hairballs?

Cats naturally keep themselves very clean and in the process of self grooming they often end up swallowing a lot of their loose and dead hair, forming tufted balls in their stomach commonly known as hairballs. Feline tongues anatomically have barb-like features that trap loose, previously shed hair. On swallowing,  the hair mixes with the saliva, gets ingested and accumulates as a ball in the stomach. Most times the hairballs are harmless and easily pass through the digestive system without a problem. On other times, if not through the stool, the cat will vomit up the trapped hair.

Which cats are more likely to develop hairballs?

Generally, all cats develop hairballs at some point in their lives. However, breeds with long fluffy hair and felines with constant grooming sessions are more prone to hairballs.

Symptoms of Hairball Problems

  • Lethargy-your cat will be slow, sick, and uninterested in its normal activities.
  • Hacking, Coughing, and Gagging
  • You cat constantly trying to regurgitate the hairball, but unable to expel it from its mouth.
  • Weight Loss
  • A decrease in the appetite could be a possible sign of hairball formation causing a digestive tract obstruction.
  • Change in Bowel Movements
  • Frequent diarrhoea or constipation might be the result of the digestive tract obstruction due to the hairball formation.
  • Distended Belly
  • An unusual swelling on your feline’s stomach due to the accumulation of hairball


At-Home Treatments

Sometimes a simple treatment that you can perform yourself is all your precious furry needs to feel better. Here are a few techniques:

  • Give your cat oils or butter. A little oil or butter to ingest will lubricate the intestinal system and help pass the hairballs through the stool
  • Use Hairball Gels. These treatments lubricate your cat’s stools and ease the passage of it through the alimentary canal. They can also help regulate your feline’s digestive tract.
  • Specially designed treats can help your cat get rid of a stubborn hairball

Surgical Options

If a hairball is causing a dangerous obstruction and the cat is unable to pass it on its own, you will have to rely on surgery. Be sure to contact your vet as soon as you think something is wrong and remove the obstruction as soon as possible to prevent any further complications.


How to Prevent Hairballs

  • Brush your cat’s fur daily. Regularly grooming your cat, means there is less loose hair to be swallowed.
  • Keep your cat hydrated. Adequate hydration makes it easier on their digestive tract. The liquid hydration keeps it lubricated and running smoothly.
  • Felines are carnivores and it is difficult for them to sustain on a carbohydrates. Give your cat a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. Poor nutrition will cause digestive issues and increase the likelihood of hairball formation.
  • Feed your pet supplements that will improve their digestion. There are several formulas that encourage your cat’s digestive tract to pass the hairball instead of regurgitating it.
  • Give your cat catnip or cat grass. This treat can provide extra fibre for your feline which helps them expel the hairball.