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It's not just dogs, but cats can be your furry friends too. If you got one, understand how to maintain their nutritional requirements to ensure a healthy lifestyle for cats, say experts. Lack of proper knowledge about the essential nutrients required for their diet can be detrimental to the cat's health and growth.

Gaurav Kwatra, Director, PURINA PetCare India, that has recently launched PURINA FRISKIES, a premium cat food brand in India, and veterinarian Hitesh Swali have shared some key points to keep in mind while selecting the right food for cats:

* Cats have unique nutritional needs: Nutrients such as taurine should be included in their diet as they are unable to produce sufficient amounts naturally. A deficiency in taurine can result in a number of conditions in which their heart and eye health can severely suffer.

* Cats need more protein: Adult cats require approximately 44 per cent more protein than adult dogs. If protein intake is inadequate, the cat will start to break down its own body protein to meet its energy requirements. This high protein must also be accompanied by essential amino acids, essential fatty acids and vitamins such as A and D.

* Cats are picky eaters: It is necessary to provide cats with an exciting mealtime experience. While complete nutrition is extremely important for cats, it is equally important to delight their senses through differently shaped kibbles and delicious aromas.

* Cats enjoy small meals: Unlike dogs, cats are nibblers and enjoy many small meals throughout the day. Hence, it is important that the food is nutritionally balanced and provides the right nutrients in adequate amounts.

* Cats cannot survive on a vegetarian diet: Cats are obligate carnivores, hence it is impossible to meet their requirements with a vegetarian diet. Cats also have different nutritional requirements and different ways in which their body assimilates nutrients hence cat food formulated by nutritionists addresses these unique needs.

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