What’s the best diet for Burmese cats?

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Burmese cats are a popular and likeable breed. Unlike a lot of other purebred cats, Burmese have largely retained the classic cat appearance rather than having some of the more extreme features we might see with other breeds. But appearance and personality aside, looking after our precious Burmese cat means aiming for a quality diet that fits within your budget.

Does a Burmese cat have any different dietary requirements compared to any other cat breed? Not specifically. All cats need a high quality meat diet that provides all the essential nutrients.

But there are some specific health related characteristics of some Burmese cats in different parts of the world that should be kept in mind when you’re planning which foods to provide.

One of the more serious issues with this breed is that Australian and European Burmese cats are known to be more prone to developing diabetes; this is due to the genetics of these populations. The same problem is not known to occur with United States Burmese cats.

Some bloodlines of Burmese cats are at risk of carrying a gene that causes hypokalemia which causes weakness in the skeletal muscle and is most often seen in the neck but can impact on the entire body in some individuals. These episodes can come and go and is caused blood levels of potassium being too low. Burmese owners in most locations should be able to access low cost DNA testing to find out if your cat is carrying the gene that causes this condition. All owners should watch for signs of weakness though, including difficulty in walking and holding the head up. While a vet should always be consulted to deal with this condition, supplementing the diet with potassium is important for Burmese with hypokalemia.

Potassium is a mineral and an electrolyte which is critical for the normal function of muscles and nerves. Because cats with chronic kidney disease, a common occurrence in old cats, often have a potassium imbalance, potassium supplementation for cats is not uncommon. The cat should be regularly monitored by your vet to measure potassium levels. These supplements will be sold as renal support products and the active ingredient is potassium gluconate. Renal K+ is a prescription supplement that your vet can prescribe if your Burmese with hypokalemia is suffering with low potassium levels. This issue can not specifically be addressed through diet alone.

Food to help prevent diabetes in Burmese cats

Since we know that Burmese have a higher risk of diabetes, special attention should be paid to the diet and specifically, what the ingredients are in the foods you’re choosing to provide to your burmese cats. Although diet alone isn’t a guarantee of preventing diabetes from developing, we should be doing everything possible to minimize the risk. The general advice for food to help prevent diabetes in cats is to maintain a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. For many Burmese owners this will mean wanting to avoid the low quality, cheap foods that are more often than not packed with inappropriate ingredients like grains which are high carbohydrates; foods which are not ideal for any cat regardless of breed. Many dry foods will be high in carbs, while wet and canned food provides the easier way of obtaining the right levels of protein without the excessive carbohydrates that a Burmese cat needs to reduce diabetes risk.

Blue Buffalo offer some quality high protein options in both wet and dry foods. These are highly regarded foods by most cat owners. These products are naturally low in carbohydrates because they don’t contain any grains, so there’s no wheat or corn filler. There’s also no soy ingredients used. Blue Buffalo is available in multiple canned varieties and meat types, as well as high protein dry. A lower cost option is the Iams high protein range, but keep in mind that this Iams dry food contains some corn ingredients so is not the most ideal low carb option.


Image credits:
Black Burmese cat by Mikael Moiner

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