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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-21-2011, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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Fats

I have a question about fats. I've been adding the olive oil in with the rabbit, because of the reactions to fish, chicken, and lamb. Lucy hates ground beef, so it's not an option either, and I haven't really pushed the issue with her. I tried the lamb again in smaller amounts, like 1/8th lb to 3 lbs of rabbit because the stuff I have is so very fatty , and at first the smaller amount worked, but a week later the itching started again. As soon as I take them off the food with lamb in it, the itching stops.

The olive oil alone isn't enough fat in the diet, it isn't doing the job I'd like it to do on it's own. I'd like to try adding beef fat, I think if I'm only adding it in small amounts, Lucy should eat it, or it will be easier to work her into eating it vs. the 1/2 lb of ground beef added to the rabbit. I really wish the lamb meat would work, because when they are on it, they look awesome, their coats really blossom.

Dave is going to stop at the meat market on the way home tonight to pick up fat.

1. How should he ask for it, rendered, or just as scraps?

2. What is the minimal amount I should add to 3 lbs of rabbit meat?

Also, because I cannot add fish oil into the diet for the omegas, can I add ground flax seed? I have a bunch here because I take it, and I have the grinder, so it would be easy to add.

1. Can I add some to the mix to be frozen, and then add some fresh daily sprinkled on the food?

2. How much added to the mix?
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-21-2011, 05:19 PM
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For the beef, I vote that the scraps would be better. It’s probably up to her for now though, since some cats don’t like chewing large pieces of fat.
As far as the amount to add goes, you likely don’t want the total fat content of a meal to exceed 40%, and I feel that 30% is already fairly high. What are you trying to accomplish by adding the fat? Do you want to feed smaller meals with the same total calorie content, or are you trying to get her to gain weight?

A note about the olive oil, since you’re concerned about omega-3s: Olive oil can be exceptionally high in Omega-6 content, so if you’re interested in the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 (rather than total omega-3 content), you will likely want to remove the olive oil or make sure you’re using oil that is relatively low in omega-6s.

Your question about flax seed is a fairly complex one IMO. I’m a biologist, not a biochemist, but here’s my answer and explanation:

The short answer:
No. Flax seed is probably a worthless addition, though it is unlikely to actually be harmful. spirulina (an algae) is probably a better choice, if fish oil and other animal sources must be ruled out.

The longer explanation:
Not all omega-3 supplements are created equal. This is because the omega-3 designation refers to the location of the first carbon-carbon double bond in the fatty acid chain. This means that several different fatty acids are referred to as omega-3 fatty acids. The fatty acid that flax seed contains is ALA, a fatty acid that is commonly (only?) obtained through plant oils. ALA is considered an “essential fatty acid” (EFA) for humans because it can only be obtained through diet.

Fish oil contains different fatty acids than flax seed. These oils are, generally speaking, EPA and DHA, which are associated with reduced inflammation as well as cardiac health. These are also the only omega-3s that the FDA recognizes for their health benefits. Humans are capable of (although, not very good at) converting ALA to EPA, which is a precursor to DHA. Although I cannot find any studies on the topic, I would tend to expect that cats are even worse at this than humans are, since they evolved strictly as carnivores and ALA is found in plants.

If you cannot give fish oil, I would try spirulina, assuming that grass-fed meats have already been ruled out for some reason. Although spirulina also contains ALA, it contains many other omega-3s as well, including EPA and DHA. In fact, algae consumption is the source of the omega-3 content in fish.

Thoughts, anyone? Any biochemists out there?
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 07:56 PM
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For what its worth, the AAFCO only lists omega 6's as an essential requirement in a cats diet. Though, IMO, cats should be taking in omega 3's in addition to 6's. The ratio of 6:3's is a little difficult to answer. There are a couple of threads that discuss, more like offer up some theories, about how much of what should be feed in order to come remotely close to the general recommended guidelines. AshleyHoneyBee touched on some things that should be taken into consideration. Cats are obligate carnivores. And its usually best to stick to animal based ingredients as some of their biological processes are not able to convert specific substances into required nutrients. But there may be some plant sources that cats are able to utilize some parts of.

IMO a fairly good site with info about omega's Omega Fatty Acids: Sources, Effects &, Therapeutic Uses in Cats

You say reactions to fish......... What kind of reaction? An inflammatory reaction or your kitty doesn't like it. Have you tried raw fish like salmon, mackerel, or sardines? Canned fish? Brains and eyes are higher in omega 3's (more dha than epa though). Or other fish oils like sardine's, anchovies, etc? Egg yolks do contain some omega 3's, but I can't remember how much of what ( you can use this site http://nutritiondata.self.com/ to figure it out). Yolks have a decent amount of fat. If memory serves me right, a quarter of a yolk is fat.

Last edited by chris10; 02-26-2011 at 07:59 PM.
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