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An essential fatty acid that plays a vital role in fat utilization and energy production.
Cats – Cannot make their own Arachidonic Acid even in the presence of adequate linoleic acid. The reason cats can’t make Arachidonic Acid from linoleic acid is because the cat’s chemical factory (liver) contains no delta-6-desaturase enzyme to convert linoleic to Arachidonic. Tell your cat owning friends about this one. Tell ‘em about the cat’s lack of liver delta-6-desaturase enzyme and they’ll think you’ve got a Ph.D. in biochemistry!
Dogs – Can make their own Arachidonic Acid if they consume enough linoleic acid by eating proper fats. Therefore, we can say that Arachidonic Acid is not an essential fatty acid for dogs.
Cats – Do not mobilize fat reserves for energy very efficiently and, in fact, break down non-fatty body tissues for energy. This upsets the internal chemical factory and can lead to a very dangerous feline disorder called hepatic lipidosis. Never put a fat cat on a starvation diet, it might just put the entire factory out of business.
Dogs – Can tolerate prolonged fasts and utilize fat reserves for energy.
So, there you have an insight into some of the invisible goings-on in our friend the cat. It should be obvious that a high quality, meat-based diet is imperative to a cat's wellness. There are no vegetarian diets for cats! And feeding your cat a homemade concoction of meat may be a disaster. Often, the best recourse is to find a good quality meat-based diet for your feline.
The next time you admire a cat's unique personality and behavior, and watch the way they egocentrically carry themselves for anyone to see, remember ... hidden beneath that furry skin is another unique and vast universe. There is a veritable chemical cosmos inside your cat that's just as wondrous and magnificent as the cosmos above. You can't see it, but it's there, silently following the rules of nature to sustain our unique and valued feline friends. And it's that complex chemical cosmos, working it's fantastic magic, that prompts us cat lovers to say, truly ... cats are different!
Image: Marianne Perdomo / via Flickr