Copito, a little 6-month old black and white kitten, was brought in to the Galapagos clinic for a fractured femur. On physical exam we found that several other bones were not forming correctly. We asked his owners about his diet, and they told us that he was being fed mainly fish and meat at home. Although a diet of meat and fish is what we typically think of as ideal for a cat, it is lacking nutrients and a balanced diet is necessary for a healthy development.
Copito was suffering from a disease called nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism. This is a disease that cats develop when they are only fed meat or fish without a good calcium source. The resulting nutritional imbalance leads to weak bones which in this case lead to a fracture.
This case highlights the importance of feeding your pet an appropriate and complete diet and why we advise owners all over the world to feed their pets commercial cat or dog food or consult with a veterinarian about how to balance a home cooked diet. Copito’s owners were not aware of the dangers of only feeding a growing kitten only meat and fish and immediately started little Copito on a diet of cat food.