Loss of appetite often strikes people and cats when they most need the strength supplied by a healthy, nutritious diet, but is Ensure the answer?
Forcing anyone to eat is a nearly impossible task, but there are nutritional drinks that could help keep up their strength. Ensure is a brand that provides an array of health shakes for humans to fit different conditions.
It is often used as a supplement for people that suffer from a lack of appetite, such as cancer patients. Each shake is packed with a combination of nutrition that is supposed to be the equivalent of a meal.
Can I Give My Cat Ensure? Answer: No.
Ensure is manufactured for humans. It contains the necessary nutrients to serve as a meal substitute for humans, while the requirements for cats are completely different. The nutritional shake contains large amounts of sugar and milk. Sugar has no real place in the feline diet and most cats are lactose intolerant.
Additionally, the proteins contained in the drink are plant-based, while cats require their proteins to be primarily animal-based. The same company that makes Ensure also produces a version that is suitable for cats under the name of Clinicare Feline Liquid Diet.
Most Cats are Lactose Intolerant
Most human nutrition shakes are based on a solution of milk with added nutrients and proteins. Although they love the taste of milk, most cats lack the enzyme necessary to break down the sugars in cow milk. Consuming milk usually gives cats digestive discomfort and diarrhea, so feeding them dairy is never a good idea.
A lack of appetite is usually a symptom of a broader health issue and adding indigestion and diarrhea does not help your furry friend. There are a few lucky cats that can digest milk without any difficulty, but even then Ensure does not meet their nutritional needs.
Cats are huge fans of smelly food. The strong smell of tuna for example, may spark their lackluster appetites. Tuna is not suited as the basis of a long term diet because it lack taurine and contains traces of mercury, but is an excellent supplement if a cat refuses to eat normally. Another alternative is to force feed cats through a syringe. The easiest way to do this is by filling the syringe with an all meat baby food.
It is important that you check the ingredients on the baby food label, because onion and garlic are toxic to cats. Avoid any food that contains even traces of these roots. Your veterinarian can also prescribe an appetite stimulant to help interest your cat in eating once more.
Clinicare Feline Liquid Diet
The Clinicare Feline Liquid Diet operates under the same principles as Ensure does for humans, namely providing the necessary nutrients in liquid form. This feline version does not contain milk to account for the lactose intolerance of most cats. It also contains taurine which is an essential amino acid for cats since they cannot produce it themselves.
The formula takes into account cats’ need for high protein nutrition and their delicate electrolyte balance. Like Ensure, it has high caloric content to ensure optimal energy in feline patients that suffer from a lack of appetite. Clinicare is often fed to cats that have problems with their liver or kidneys.
Never Substitute Water
Descendants of desert animals, cats still require a constant source of water to remain healthy. Clinicare might be a liquid form of food, but it should never be used as a replacement for water. It is crucial for cats to remain well hydrated and water is the only fluid that can ensure this. It is used for digestion, regulating body temperature, lubricating tissues and processing waste.
Ensure is for People, Clinicare is for Cats
The nutritional content of Ensure is specifically target to the diet of humans. It contains vitamins, minerals, and proteins that are crucial to our omnivore diet. Cats are obligate carnivores and their body metabolizes food differently. As a result, the nutrients they require from a meal differ from those that are present in Ensure. Clinicare is the equivalent of Ensure for cats. It leaves out the milk that is difficult for cats to process and has added essential nutrients for a healthy cats such as taurine.