How to choose the best cat food
Giving your cat the right food is one of the most important responsibilities as their owner. It can mean the difference between hundreds of dollars in vet bills versus never going to the vet at all. Remember, cats work the same way as we do, the healthier they are the happier they are.
After reading this article you will be an expert in reading cat food labels, making it easy to choose the right food for your cat. First, it is important to understand some of the basics of cat food selection.
However if you don't have time to take in all this information feel free to check out our list of the Best Dry Cat Foods that meet all nutritional requirements for a cat's diet.
Basic Nutrition In Cat Food:
- Meat/Poultry- This should be the main ingredient in your cat’s food(great source of protein)
- Taurine- An amino acid essential for basic muscle function, vision, and digestion
- Other vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that aid in health
Surprisingly, carbohydrates are not necessary for a cats diet. Carbs are mainly present in fillers found in cheaper cat foods. (Corn, Soy, Rice, etc.)
It is best to choose a cat food, whether it be dry or canned, that is high in protein and has little to no carbs. Most well-known brands such as Blue Buffalo make sure these requirements are met in every type of their food. Buying from them is always a easy option.
Why Cheaper Food Doesn’t Save Money
When you first get your cat you may think you are saving money by buying the cheapest food available. This is actually very counterproductive as you wouldn’t feed yourself the cheapest food available for every meal. Health is a concern for yourself and it should be one for your cat too.
Cats have certain nutritional needs that must be met, so although your bag of cat food may cost half the price your cat will likely be eating much more food per meal. This is because cat foods packed with carbs and fillers do not satisfy your cat as much as protein-rich formulas.
Consuming cheap food over a long period of time leads to health issues that require medical attention. And no one wants to be forced into spending hundreds of dollars to save their pet.
If you stick to the quality brands of cat food you will get your money’s worth.
Dry vs Canned Food:
If you are wondering if kibble or canned food is better for your cat there is no straight answer. The best choice would be using a mix of the two. Here are some of the main reasons why you should feed your cat both dry and canned food.
- Dry food is cheap and convenient
- Canned food is usually more nutritious
- Cats can snack on dry food throughout the day
- Canned food contains the same water saturation as a wild cats diet(Only dry food can lead to dehydration)
- Using both can provide the right amount of nutrients that one may have been lacking
- Brings variety into your cat’s diet
Cats should still stick to a consistent meal plan. For the best results, we recommend using canned for lunch and dinner along with dry food left out all day. Make sure that both are quality, protein-based formulas.
How to Interpret Cat Food Labels
Whether you are shopping at PetSmart or reading descriptions on Amazon, it is important to be able to distinguish the foods that will either accommodate or fail your cat’s nutritional needs. Listed below are some of the most important things to look for and to avoid when choosing a quality food formula. You now have everything you need to know in order to choose the right cat food.
Things To Look For
- Protein source as the first ingredient(chicken, lamb, salmon, etc. Should not just say “meat”)
- Vitamins C and E
- Is the brand well known for its quality
- AAFCO Complete and balanced label
Things To Avoid
- Chemicals that you cannot pronounce such as ethoyquin, BHA, or BHT.
- Any type of carbohydrate filler, especially cornmeal
- Food Dyes