Our cats are more than just pets to us, they are part of the family, and we want them to live a happy life for as long as possible. Choosing the right food for our pets is an important factor, and like many cat parents, I have searched the web looking for the answer to the simple question of what to look for in cat food. As I am sure many others have come across the answer is not as simple as the question. There are many controversies and disagreements when it comes to debating how best to feed cats. As confusing as the subject may be, I have come to some conclusions.
More meat and fewer grain products in the top five ingredients. Buying a grain-free cat food is best for cats because they are carnivores. Make sure meat is at least the first ingredient listed.
Stay away from corn, wheat, or soy as carbohydrate sources. If you do choose a cat food with grain, try to avoid corn, wheat and soy.
Artificial preservatives are a no go. Chemical preservatives such as BHT, BHA, and ethoxyquin are used to extend shelf life and reduce spoilage however they promote reactions such as dry skin to medical problems such as liver and kidney disease.
No by-products. By-products may seem fit for some because cats in the wild will eat its entire prey, however there are concerns about just what’s in those by-products and its quality. By-products are usually not deemed fit for consumption by humans. Treat your pets as you would treat yourself.
Watch for specifics. Ingredients such as “chicken meal” are a decent cat food ingredient. However, ingredients such as “meat meal” can come from any mammal at all.
AAFCO approved. Check the label to ensure that the manufacturer has formulated its pet food to meet minimum nutritional requirements. Do this by looking for a statement on the packaging that says it is approved by the AAFCO.
After looking at these key figures, there are many quality cat foods to look into. If price wasn’t a factor, Orijen cat food would be at the top of my list. However, price is a major factor in pet food choice. Currently I am feeding my cats Blue Buffalo. It was in my budget and its ingredients fit into my peace of mind. Whichever cat food you decide to choose for your feline family member remember to make sure they get enough moisture into their diet. Dry food is the cheapest choice and most convenient. However, cats are known for not drinking enough water and this can cause Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). I give my cats a little wet food each morning as well as always having a water dish filled with fresh water. If you are planning on only giving your cat(s) dry food, then I suggest purchasing a water fountain. Water fountains will help encourage your cat(s) to drink more water because the movement and flow of the water draws their attention in.
There is a lot more information surrounding the best cat foods and what to look for. An article I read, explains how to read more than just the ingredients list. The way the product name is introduced on the packaging is also a factor. (Miller, n.d.) Overall choosing the best cat food for your pet doesn’t just benefit them. It benefits you as a pet parent because you get to see how a happy tummy can lead to a happy kitty.
If picking the right cat food for your pets has confused you as much as it has me (because of all the conflicting matters out there and all the discussions) I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions. Please leave a comment, I would love to hear from you!
Miller, K. (n.d.). How to Read Cat Food Labels. Retrieved February 2015, from WebMD: http://pets.webmd.com/cats/guide/how-to-read-cat-food-labels