Good nutrition is vital for your cat’s health and longevity, which is why it’s important to feed your cat a diet that meets their individual nutritional needs. There are many factors that you need to take into account when choosing the right food for your cat, including your cat’s age and lifestyle, their temperament and activity levels, their appearance and physiology and their predisposition to any breed specific health problems.
Whilst all cats share the same ancient genetic origins, the health and wellbeing of individual cats can differ greatly even within the same breed type. The benefit of targeted nutrition for cats is that it helps to prevent known health issues in specific cat breeds.
How Breed Specific Nutrition Works
Breed specific nutrition takes into account the physical characteristics of cat breeds such as the shape of their jaw and biting habits, their body size and structure, the length and thickness of their coat, and uses this information to tailor a food that provides the best possible nutrition.
Jaw Shape and Biting Habits
Cats tend to eat dry food in a few different ways. Most cats grab a piece of kibble between their incisors without using their tongue; others use the upper side of their tongue to lap up the kibble. Brachycephalic cat breeds such as the flat-faced Persian tend to find it more difficult to grasp kibble so they use the underside of their tongue, turning the kibble backwards into their mouth.
Unlike the Persian, the active Siamese cat breed tends to pick up kibble with their canines and their eating habits are ‘fast and furious’, just like their approach to life. The speed at which Siamese cats typically eat, means they are more likely to vomit after eating and may develop other gastrointestinal problems. Tailoring the shape of kibble for specific cat breeds based on the shape of their jaw and way that they eat helps the cat to grasp and chew the kibble, it also promotes improved digestion and better dental health.
Royal Canin uses ‘kibble technology’ and has developed a unique almond shaped kibble specifically for the Persian cat breed, a tube-shaped kibble for the Siamese cat breed to help slow down their eating at mealtimes, and larger sized kibble shapes for the Maine Coon and British Shorthair cat breeds suitable for their larger muscular jaws.
Body Size and Structure
Did you know that a healthy adult Maine Coon male cat can weigh up to 10kgs? They are one of the largest pedigree cat breeds so it’s not surprising that their large body size and frame can place added stress on their joints. Similarly, the laid-back Ragdoll, with its silky longhaired coat is also a large and muscular cat breed at greater risk of developing joint problems from the additional stress of carrying a larger frame. Breed specific nutrition takes the body size of the cat breed into account and typically includes glucosamine, chondroitin and omega 3 fatty acids (EPA & DHA) to support joint and bone heath and reduce joint inflammation.
Coat Length and Thickness
A longhaired, luxurious coat is a hallmark feature of many pure breed cat breeds including the Persian and Ragdoll, and the right nutrition as well as regular grooming is key to keeping their coats looking great. Tailored nutrition for longhaired cats typically includes the antioxidants, vitamins, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids required to help maintain healthy skin and a shiny coat.
Due to the length and thickness of their coats, Persian and Ragdoll cat breeds are also more likely to experience hairballs as a result of ingesting their own fur during grooming. Even if you brush your cat daily, longhaired breeds are still likely to develop hairballs. Breed specific nutrition can naturally reduce hairballs and limit their formation by introducing fibre such as psyllium husks and seeds that encourage the transit and elimination of any swallowed fur through the intestines.
Want to Know More?
If you’re interesting in learning more about the nutritional requirements of each breed please check out Royal Canin’s Cat Breeds Guide.
DISCLOSURE: We received a small fee from Royal Canin to write this article but we only ever share information we feel is relevant to our readers.