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Safe Upper Limits for Cat Diets

Safe Upper Limits for Cat Diets

When formulating a diet for Cats it is important to make sure that there are no excesses for some nutrients. Safe upper limits will be integrated into the stable (1.0) release. The following tables list the safe upper limit of key nutrients based on the NRC recommended allowance.

The 1.0 release of the software will have these limits built in automatically, including the safe upper limits for NRC minimum requirement. We will use arbitrary amounts (including amounts from the FEDIAF / AAFCO industry standards) for nutrients that do not have safe upper limits. We will also allow the user to alter these arbitrary amounts.

Note that kittens have more stringent requirements.

​Kittens
​​Arginine ​364 %
​​Histidine ​662 %
​​Isoleucine ​1550 %
​​Methionine ​295 %
​​Leucine ​678 %
​​Lysine ​​690 %
​​Phenylalanine ​557 %
​Phenylalanine & Tyrosine ​354 %
​​Threonine ​793 %
​​Tryptophan ​1062 %
​​Valine ​1356 %
​​Taurine ​2220 %
​Total Fat ​366 %
​Linoleic Acid ​985 %
​Vitamin A ​8000 %
​Vitamin D ​13428 %
Adult Cats
​​Total Fat ​366 %
​Linoleic Acid ​985 %
​Arachidonic Acid ​3333 %
​Vitamin A ​10000 %
​Vitamin D ​10742 %
Late Gestation & Peak Lactation
​​Total Fat ​366 %
​​Linoleic Acid ​985 %
​Vitamin A ​5000 %
​Vitamin D ​10742 %

Analyzing our Recipes

Below we see the Recipe Balancer module showing the Nutrient Summary for the adult cat recipe, "Beef and Liver with Heart." We compare the values in the Nutrient Summary to the values in the Adult Cats Table above. We want the values to be below the safe upper limit. The screenshot below highlights two different nutrients. The first nutrient component (Total Fat) is 283.74 %. This is below the safe upper limit of 366 % cited in the Adult Cats Table above. So this nutrient component is at a safe level for this recipe. Linoleic Acid, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D are all below the safe upper limits for adult cats stated above. However, the safe upper limit for Arachidonic Acid for adult cats is 3,333 % and our recipe is 6,332.25 %; well above the safety level. This recipe needs to be altered to bring this nutrient component below the safe upper limit.

Comparing Total Fat and Arachidonic Acid in a recipe to safe upper limits.
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Hello, could you give us clues on how to bring this value down to reach the safe upper limits?

Monch
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Sorry forgot to mention I was referring to Arachidonic Acid

Monch
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@Monch The best way is to uncheck ingredients one at a time to see how each ingredient affects the nutrient level. Then you can either use less of said ingredient or replace that ingredient entirely.

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Can you point us to any sources for the upper limits, specifically for Arachidonic Acid, and also for the EPA:DHA ratio level? I've looked around and can't find any info that discusses the dangers of too much Arachidonic Acid, only too little. A fairly mainstream recipe with chicken breast, thigh and some added hearts more than doubles the 3333% upper limit.

Also, lots of pet owners add fish oil to their pets' diets, which totally blows out the EPA:DHA ratio. Where are the sources that discuss why this is dangerous?

hefetc
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PS The links to this blog post from elsewhere on the site are broken.

hefetc
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@hefetc Both the safe upper limit for Arachidonic Acid and the EPA:DHA ratio are from the NRC 2006 publication, "Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats". However we recommend not exceeding 999% for Arachidonic Acid in the Nutrient Summary percentage graphs.

Instead of using fish oil for cats, use approx. 10 grams of fresh, whole egg. To lower Arachidonic Acid levels, do not use liver or heart in your recipes.

Thank you for the "heads up" about the broken links.

admin
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OK, but WHY is exceeding those limits dangerous? Chicken liver, heart and fish oil are all extremely common ingredients for cats - in fact many suggest they are essential - but I don't see anything (online, at least) suggesting that it could cause problems (except for Vitamin A toxicity, but most recipes that exceed the Arachidonic Acid levels you suggest are still well within the Vitamin A limit). Can you give me a little more info about the potential problems caused? The NRC publication runs $99 in paperback... not exactly accessible info.

hefetc
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@hefetc Cats require Arachidonic Acid (AA), an omega-6 fatty acid, in their diet because they lack an enzyme (delta-6 desaturase) which converts Linoleic Acid to AA. The omega-6 family of fatty acids is required for growth, reproduction, precursors of eicosanoid and prostaglandin synthesis, as well as contributing to cell membrane fluidity and skin health.

Too much omega-6 is proinflammatory which can result in disease. AA is the major polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) in cell membrane phospholipids. The normal response of injured tissue is inflammation. This is a tissue protective mechanism. Since AA is the fatty acid in greatest concentration in the tissue, it is released and converted into eicosanoids, which produce inflammation. Four AA-derived leukotrienes and one prostaglandin play a central role in the inflammatory process. These proinflammatory eicosanoids can cause disease when produced in excessive amounts and/or prolonged periods of time. Too much AA by dietary means...

@hefetc Cats require Arachidonic Acid (AA), an omega-6 fatty acid, in their diet because they lack an enzyme (delta-6 desaturase) which converts Linoleic Acid to AA. The omega-6 family of fatty acids is required for growth, reproduction, precursors of eicosanoid and prostaglandin synthesis, as well as contributing to cell membrane fluidity and skin health.

Too much omega-6 is proinflammatory which can result in disease. AA is the major polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) in cell membrane phospholipids. The normal response of injured tissue is inflammation. This is a tissue protective mechanism. Since AA is the fatty acid in greatest concentration in the tissue, it is released and converted into eicosanoids, which produce inflammation. Four AA-derived leukotrienes and one prostaglandin play a central role in the inflammatory process. These proinflammatory eicosanoids can cause disease when produced in excessive amounts and/or prolonged periods of time. Too much AA by dietary means can modulate the PUFA content of cell membrane phospholipids and alter eicosanoid production.

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That makes sense. What's the reasoning behind the Linoleic Acid upper limit? Is it a similar reason of too much inflammation?

watere
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At higher concentrations than the SUL for adult dogs for Linoleic Acid, pancreatitis, hypertension, and obesity were induced. There is about a 10% safety margin before pancreatitis is induced.

admin
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OK. Got it. Thanks so much for the background.

hefetc
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@hefetc You are very welcome.

admin
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