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The evolution of the cat – from opportunistic rodent-eating hunter to indoor companion with ready access to meals – has coincided with an increased lifespan and health. However, the cat remains unique in many of its dietary needs and in the way it generates energy, with specific requirements for certain nutrients. Its carnivorous metabolism, reinforced by historical access to a diet of animal-based tissues and very little carbohydrate, have meant that some of its enzyme systems are limited in their capacity – or lacking altogether. This has led to an absolute need for certain essential nutrients from animal flesh in the food and supplementation with others. The growth life-stage phase sees some further requirements, with an increased need for energy and protein, along with certain nutrients. Many commercial diets now provide an easy-to-feed, balanced way of providing these essential nutrients to take the kitten from a vulnerable post-weaning stage through to a healthy adult.