07 February 2013

Misc. Digestion Thoughts

Some people have asked me why I know so much about cats and cat digestion.  And the answer is, I'm curious and I think.  I know from my students that the ability to link two disparate facts is not common.  Apparently, I'm gifted in that area, because I hear or read something and begin to try to fit it into what I already know.

Over the last couple of weeks, I heard three stories on National Public Radio that have intrigued me.  And I do wonder how they relate to cats.

  1. One form of malnutrition in humans is related to the wrong mix of intestinal bacteria.  I forget what the disease is, but young children in Africa can go from a normal weight to malnourished in 2-3 months because the flora of the gut has changed.  And it seems the change in the flora caused the malnourishment, and not vice versa.  Could more problems in cats, especially chronically underweight cats, be related to intestinal flora?
  2. One difference between dogs and wolves is 4 genes which are responsible for digestion of carbohydrates.  Wolves, the ancestors of dogs, have very limited ability to digest carbohydrates.  But as wolves began to live near humans, the diet changed from all meat to meat and carbohydrates.  Eventually, the genes of the wolf/dog changed enough to allow the animal to digest carbs.  Cats are much younger in terms of domestication, so has there been any similar modifications in genome?  Why is the cat genome not as well known as the dog?  Could cats eventually become omnivores?
  3. The time of day one eats seems connect to weight gain/loss.  One study showed that if humans ate a large meal in the morning and small meals later, they lost weight.  Likewise, people who ate large meals later in the day did not lose weight.  Could this be applied to cats?  Maybe feed underweight cats more at night?
I don't know if any of these directly relate to cats, but I'm already looking into increasing probiotics in the cats' food, especially with Clarissa.  I did look up and find probiotics can help food allergies.  So what else good can they do?

Anyway, to the people that ask, "How do you know all that?" this is a glimpse of what I do -- I listen, learn, and then try to link things together.


Cynthia said...

Very interesting thoughts Linda, it will be good to see how you get on with the probiotics with Clarissa

L.M. Hornberger said...

I have the concentrated probiotics -- BeneBac -- but I'm hesitating to give them to Clarissa. I want her to be over her recent tummy problems. Since the stuff is in an oil, it should also work as a laxative.