Buying cat food should be as simple as picking something off the shelf and giving it to Kitty. However, much of the popular and easy to find cat food at your local pet store isn’t as healthy as it appears. Your cat needs a nutritious and balanced diet to stay healthy and happy at every stage of life.
How do you know if you’re feeding your cat quality food? A lot of big-name pet food brands get away with offering substitutes or byproducts that don’t offer your cat anything nutritional. This can lead to weight problems like diabetes or gastrointestinal problems for your beloved friend. Read through this guide to make sure you’re feeding your pet the best possible food.
Cat Nutritional Needs
First, let’s discuss what your cat needs in his or her diet. Cats are carnivores which means they need animal protein to survive. This protein can be from a meat, fish, or poultry source. Cats also need an essential amino acid known as taurine. Aside from taurine, cats need a variety of minerals, vitamins, and fatty acids just like humans do. Finally, your cat needs plenty of water.
Don’t confuse your cat’s diet with your own diet. Humans and cats have very different nutritional needs! For example, cats don’t need carbs like you do. However, many pet food brands pack their formulas with corn, wheat, and rice as fillers. These don’t serve much of a nutritional purpose, though they won’t do harm when used in moderation.
Here’s a breakdown of what your pet needs daily:
- Animal protein (from meat, fish, or poultry)
- Vitamins, mineral, enzymes, and fatty acids
Now that you know what your cat needs in his or her diet, you can make an informed decision about what they eat every day. Visit Kitty Catter for specific brand reviews and recommendations.
Canned Food vs. Kibble
There is no single answer to the canned food vs. kibble debate. At least, not from top cat nutritionists. Most agree that it’s best to include a variety of options in your pet’s diet. There are pros and cons of both canned and kibble, so it’s worth trying a variety to see what works best for your lifestyle and your cat.
Dry food is more convenient because it’s easy to leave out for “free feeding.” However, canned food has a lot of water which many cats struggle to drink enough of regularly. Cats also are prone to boredom when they’re given the same food every day. They might stop eating it, so it’s worth trying new things. Cat’s also might develop allergies if they’re exposed to the same foods too frequently.
Choosing Quality over Price
One of the unfortunate realities of pet food is that you get what you pay for. Cheaper brands might seem like a great way to reduce the cost of pet ownership, but these brands are full of fillers and run low on the vital nutrients your pet needs to be healthy. These can lead to health problems over time, so it’s good to look for better quality when you can.
Note that this doesn’t mean you need to choose the most expensive option for your cat. Always pay attention to the additives, ingredients, and more to make sure you’re choosing a formula that’s healthy. Here’s what you should look for on the label of your cat’s food:
- Look for AAFCO’s requirements on the label by seeing the term “Complete and Balanced”
- Find a named protein source (like “chicken” or “beef”) rather than “meat”
- The protein should be the first ingredient
- Check the expiration date
- Avoid any ingredients with the word “by-products” or “meal”
- Avoid preservatives like BHA or ethoxyquin
- Finally, choose foods without excessive carbohydrate fillers like corn
Now that you know the best food for your furry friend, you’re ready to make an empowered decision that benefits the health of your pet. You treat your cat as a member of the family. Make sure he’s getting the best food possible for a long, healthy life.