You know how when we humans chew there's a back-and-forth and side-to-side action happening with the teeth? The movement that makes it possible for you to jut your lower row of teeth out in front of your upper row of teeth? Or that lets you move the lower jaw left and right? Not so with our cat carnivores.
For them, the lower jaw cannot move forward and has very limited side-to-side motion. The jaw on a cat is a simple hinge joint that lies on the same plane of the teeth; the hinge pivots. It's a lot like your knee joint.
When the jaw of a carnivore closes, the blade-shaped teeth at the cheek slide past each other and that's what allows them to shear meat off of bone. As the jaw moves, the temporarilis muscle triggers the movement of the jaw.
For herbivores, conversely, the chewing action involving forward and backward and side-to-side movement of the lower jaw pushes food back and forth into the grinding teeth - with the help from tongue and cheek muscles. This is a brilliant design that lets herbivores mechanically break down the cell walls of plants.
Meanwhile, a carbohydrate-digesting enzyme - sailvary amylase kicks into action and breaks down starchy carbohydrates. Cats don't produce salivary amylase.
So as we travel along the path of food making its way through a cat - before we even GET to the stomach and intestines - already our cat's physical makeup and biology is telling us about their carnivore status.
Won't my cat's teeth suffer if s/he's not eating dry food? Doesn't dry food help clean a cat's teeth?
The short answers are - no, and no.
Quite the opposite in fact. Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins summarizes it beautifully in her book, noting that even though most cats today eat dry food, the number of patients that veterinarians treat for serious dental and periodontal disease is tremendous.
Dry food, with its high-carbohydrate load mixes with saliva in the mouth to form a yucky, sticky paste that adheres to the gums and teeth much more than wet food. She notes that dry foods, if anything, may even promote plaque and tartar formation - the precursors to gum disease and enamel erosion. And that opens the door to expensive dental cleanings, downstream health issues, and stress and pain for your cat.
FOLLOW us on Facebook to get these Bites in your news feed.
Our carnivores are carnivores in ALL their parts. Honoring that truth keeps them from getting obese and sick.
Look at the beautiful TEETH of a cat! Those lovely, sharp, prominent canines are there for stabbing. The entire structure of a cat's mouth is designed to shear off chunks of meat and swallow it whole.
Those raspy TONGUES can lick the meat off of bones. Instead of grinding molars that move back and forth, a cat has carnassial back teeth that act like scissors to slice off flesh.
Look at the PADS of your cat's feet! They are ringed with fur because Ma Nature designed her to stalk silently and come closer to her prey. Her WHISKERS allow her to move confidently in darkness and guide her to the nape of the neck for a killing bite.
Cats are carnivores. And getting your cat on the diet nature intended is the finest way to get her and keep her at her true, svelte, self.
LIKE us on Facebook to get these Bites in your news feed.
Follow us on Facebook to get these L'il Bites in your news feed.
Follow us on Twitter where we're Tweetin' too.
L'il Bite Tags