Enzymes are protein molecules that are found in every living cell. They’re responsible for vital chemical reactions in your cat’s body, including proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. A lack of enzymes in your cat’s system will result in digestive upsets and a less than optimal immune system.
Benefits of enzymes
- Aid in the digestion and absorption of the vitamins and minerals in the cat’s diet
- Promote normal body weight
- Support healthy cell growth
- Reduce bloating and constipation
- Increase energy due to better absorption of nutrients
- Support immune system health
- Help remove toxins
- Help reduce food sensitivities and allergies
- Can help cats who suffer from chronic hairballs
What do digestive enzymes do?
There are four main digestive enzymes. They work in the stomach and intestines to break down nutrients for easier absorption.
- Protease breaks down and digests protein
- Amylase breaks down/digests carbohydrates and starches
- Lipase breaks down and digests fat
- Cellulase breaks down and digests fiber (not to be confused with cellulose, a common ingredient used in low end pet foods which is extremely harsh on the intestinal tract)
Where do digestive enzymes come from?
Enzymes come from two sources: your cat’s food, and her body. Raw, fresh food contains enzymes. Enzymes are fragile, and are easily destroyed by heat, pesticides, herbicides, food preservatives, additives, artificial colourings, and flavour enhancers. Enzymes in your cat’s body are easily depleted by exposure to environmental toxins, air pollutants, and medications.
So, if you are feeding a raw diet, and if you are here then we will assume you either are doing this or contemplating doing this, then the raw diet will generally provide all the enzymes required for your healthy cat.
Do I need to add digestive enzymes to my cat’s diet?
Why are we discussing enzymes then if the raw diet provides it already? Some cats, immune compromised cats, cats who have been on a commercial diet for a large part of their life, cats with allergies or intolerances, may require some additional assistance to extract all the goodness from the raw meals. In this case we recommend adding a good quality digestive enzyme. This can be done at the time of prepping a large batch of raw using Raw Meow Mix, enzymes are not destroyed by the freezing process. You can also add it to the meals at the time of feeding, whichever is easiest for you.
We recommend the following product, easily ordered online from iherb.