Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Johnson City, TN
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?