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Obligate Carnivores


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Cats are obligate (strict or true) carnivores, meaning they require certain nutrients that they cannot synthesize which are only found in meat. The very name carnivore means devourer of flesh. Cats massive and little, wild and domestic need to eat meat as their main source of nutrients. Dogs, bears, and raccoons square measure all facultative (optional) carnivores or omnivores, meaning they can and do eat both meat and plant matter.

However, once given a selection, they will always choose meat if it is available.

A cat is only designed to hunt, kill, eat, and process meat. Through several years of evolution, felids have developed unique characteristics of anatomy, physiology, metabolism, and behavior indicative of obligate carnivores.

Chromosomal Evidence

Domestic cats have thirty eight chromosomes (strands of desoxyribonucleic acid during a cell’s nucleus that carry genes) whereas dogs have seventy eight. This demonstrates that cats ceased evolving more once reaching their obligatory carnivorous standing, genetically. They ne’er evolved to include plant materials into their diets.

Dentition

Another distinction between carnivorous carnivores and all-devouring carnivores is that the form of teeth gift. Cats have 30 teeth while dogs have 42. Dogs have a lot of molars for grinding and chew plant matter whereas in cats, the upper third premolar and lower molar are adapted as carnassial teeth,

suited to ripping and cutting through flesh and bone. These sharp teeth haven’t any flat crowns for grinding. Meat is digestible within the abdomen, so there is no need to chew it.

Tongue, Jaws & Musculature

The feline tongue is roofed with attractive papillae, which help to rasp meat from the bones of their prey.

For the most part, the jaws of the cat only move vertically. This prevents them from having the ability to chew however makes it easier for his or her powerful jaw muscles to carry troubled prey. Cats’ heads square measure extremely rounded with a brief muzzle. The bone has wide lineament arches (cheekbones) and an outsized mesial crest (ridge of bone running lengthwise on the middle of the highest of the skull) each of that allow for the attachment of strong jaw muscles.

Enzymatic Evidence

Cats, in contrast to omnivores, do not have the enzyme, amylase, in their saliva which begins the breakdown of carbohydrates in the mouth. This is needed since macromolecule metabolism takes a protracted time. Cats utilize the accelerator hexokinase for the metabolism of low-glucose hundreds in their diet. They lack the ability to metabolize high-glucose loads.

Cats solely possess internal organ (liver) enzymes to metabolise a diet and in role of this sort of continuous high-meat-protein diet, will start to breakdown their own muscles and organs to achieve this.

Taurine Requirement

Cats have a special want for the amino sulphonic acid, taurine, essential for the formation of bile salts which aid in the digestion of fats and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, healthy eyes, and heart function. Cats square measure unable to manufacture taurine themselves as a result of they are doing not have enough of the enzymes to synthesize it from the amino acids essential amino acid and aminoalkanoic acid, therefore, it must be in their diet.

Vision & Hearing

Cats’ eyes face forward, allowing for a binocular vision for hunting and they have excellent night vision allowing them to hunt their prey, predominantly small rodents, in very low light. Cats even have glorious depth perception that permits them to maneuver accurately and systematically supported the situation of their prey and it’s additionally the explanation they’re adept at climbing and jumping. Cats hear high pitched sounds like those emanating from tiny rodents. “The hearing range of the cat extends from 48Hz to 85kHz, giving it one of the broadest hearing ranges among mammals.” “Analysis suggests that cats evolved extended high-frequency hearing without sacrifice of low-frequency hearing.” For comparison, the human hearing vary is or so 20Hz to 20kHz.

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