There are several large breeds of domestic cats, including the Maine Coon, American Bobtail, Ragdoll, Ragamuffin, Savanah, Chausie, Siberian Cat, Norwegian Forest Cat, Chausie, Pixie Bob and the Ocicat. There are also very large domestic mixes that may not have a breed name attached to them, but are every bit as large. It stands to reason that the large stature of these friendly giants necessitates a tailored diet that supports a strong skeletal structure and muscular structure.
Large breed cats come with other special dietary considerations as well. They may be prone to joint issues, like Hip Dysplasia, making it important to provide nutritional support for their joints. Pregnant large breed cats need special consideration as they are growing extra large kittens. Large cats seem especially prone to weight issues as well, which may be due to being able to carry a lot of weight before becoming noticeably obese. Their appetite reflects their size and it’s up to their caregivers to ensure they receive high quality nutrition. It’s important to provide food that is low in carbohydrates and saturated fat.
Choices in manufactured cat food have improved immensely over the past five years. There are packaged raw choices, canned blends that include high quality protein, and even kibble has improved with high protein formulas, freeze-dried additions and overall lower temperature processing. Treat choices also include quality freeze-dried protein and natural supplements.
If you opt for a homemade cat food diet, all or in part, it’s important to research their nutritional requirements and consult with an expert in feline nutritional requirements. We can’t rely on recipes we find online without due diligence.
“Homemade diets are not necessarily better,” warns Jennifer Larsen, a veterinary nutritionist with the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “If you are going to use one, you have to make sure you do it safely and they should be balanced and appropriate for your individual cat.”
Nutrition for a Healthy Muscular Structure in Large Cats
Nurturing the muscular structure of your large cat is crucial for several reasons. Most of these breeds are known to have strong, well developed muscles that are important to support their size. They require a proper diet for optimum function and to prevent wasting. Another important reason to keep your cat’s muscles in good shape is because they support their over-sized skeletal system.
A proper diet doesn’t only support the muscular structure and function directly. It also gives the cat energy, which inspires the exercise required for strong, healthy muscles and contributes to a healthy weight.
A diet high in premium meat protein is essential for any feline, but it’s even more critical for your large breed cat. Quality beef, bison, venison, elk, chicken, quail, turkey, duck, lean pork/boar, mutton/lamb, seafood and eggs are all excellent sources of protein for cats. Opt for organic, naturally fed meat and poultry whenever possible, as cats are more sensitive than humans or dogs when it comes to chemicals.
Nutrition for a Healthy Bones and Joints in Large Cats
Nurturing healthy cartilage and the entire joint support system is an important part of caring for your large breed house cat. A balanced diet, natural supplements and nutraceuticals can protect, rebuild and repair cartilage.
Holistic nutrition allows for broken down cartilage cells and fluids to be synthesized efficiently and adequately. Vitamins & minerals (preferably obtained from whole foods) that are recommended for the treatment and prevention of arthritic conditions in pets, include Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Beta-carotene, Calcium, Selenium, Zinc, and Magnesium. Feeding a variety of anti-inflammatory foods on a routine basis can tackle inflammation before it reaches a critical level.
Natural supplements that support your cat’s bones & joints include:
- Brewed Green Tea (flavonoids, catechins)
- Extra virgin olive oil (polyphenols)
- Perna canaliculus (Green-lipped Mussel)
- Calcium Montmorillonite Clay was tested for NASA for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis in astronauts and animals with astounding success. It also offers unsurpassed toxin removal (such as radiation), protection from bacteria and aflatoxin, a complete mineral profile, and anti-parasite properties.
- You may want to check out manufactured natural joint supplements for cats as well. A popular choice is Agile Joints for Cats.
Natural foods that support your cat’s bones & joints include:
- Berries, such as blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, raspberry, cranberries and goji berries provide antioxidants. You can use a dash of pure berry powder or puree a few fresh berries into homemade meals.
- Oily fish, such as sockeye salmon, sardines, trout or anchovies, for Omega 3 & methionine.
- Pumpkin contains beta-cryptoxanthin, which UK researchers found to be a powerful dietary preventative of inflammatory arthritis, plus it boosts collagen production and supports the feline digestive and immune system. Mix a bit into wet cat food or homemade cat food.
- Krill – You can purchase glucosamine supplements, but if you feed freeze-dried krill your cat will enjoy a long list of inadvertent benefits that krill offers (such as immune system, cardiovascular, and skin/coat support). Freeze-dried krill offers many more benefits than expensive krill oil supplements too.
- Mixed Seaweed – Results of a study published by Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 2012 revealed that seaweed was generating natural honaucins, which had potent anti-inflammation and anti-bacterial properties. It also offers 93 bio-available nutrients (vitamins, minerals, trace elements, etc.), along with anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-parasite properties.
Of course, we can’t forget fresh water. We like to use a Petsafe Drinkwell filtering fountain dish, which comes in all sizes and price ranges. They keep the water clean, fresh and moving, all of which inspires cats to drink more often.
Our Maine Coon is being raised on human-grade meat, natural canned cat food, and her grazing food is Orijen Cat & Kitten. Her treats are freeze-dried meat. We supplement with everything mentioned in this article with varying frequency. It isn’t necessary to provide all supplements every single day.
Do you have a large breed cat? We’d love to hear about him/her in the comments below.
Canter PH, Hyang SL, Ernst E. A systematic review of randomized clinical trials of Tripterygium wilfordii for rheumatoid arthritis. Phytomedicine. 2006;13(5):371–377.
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Messonnier, Shawn DVM. The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Arthritis in Dogs and Cats. 2011.
Messonnier, Shawn DVM. Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats: Your A-Z Guide to Over 200 Conditions, Herbs, Vitamins, and Supplements 2001.
Bielinski, D.F., F.C. Lau, J.A. Joseph. 2007. Inhibitory effects of blueberry extract on the production of inflammatory mediators in lipopolysaccharide-activated BV2 microglia.
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