As a cat owner, keeping my feline friend as healthy as possible and for as long as possible is a primary concern. Did you know that feeding your cat the right food and a high-quality diet affects your cat’s mood? Might sound strange but feeding your cat the right food keeps her happy and jovial all the time. A healthy pet is a happy pet. However, choosing the best food for your pet can be confusing. There are endless choices and if you choose to do it right at the pet store, it becomes overwhelming. With so much to choose from, we have come up with the best ways and what to look for as well as what to avoid in cat food for your feline friend. Let’s get right into it.
What Is the Best In Cat Food?
Did you know there are guidelines and regulations that govern what can be included in pet food label and what a company can claim legitimately and what they can’t?
Start with looking at the name of the cat food. According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) if pet food is advertised to contain one ingredient, the food must have at least 95% of the ingredient. If the food is advertised to contain a combination of ingredients, the combination must be at least 95% of the pet food not including added water. For example, if the food claims to be made of beef, then the beef must make up 95% of the food.
If the food has descriptive phrases in the name, it must contain 25% of the named ingredient.
One of the most important ingredient in pet food is animal protein. Cats can live on animal proteins alone. As a matter of fact, the leopard and cheetah are part of the cat family and they live solely on meat. To choose the right food for your cat, take a good look at ingredients. Ingredients are all listed by weight.
The best cat food should contain some animal protein and fat. Cats are carnivores that require nutrients such as arachidonic acid and taurine served in their diet. These are nutrient only available in animal protein sources. The animal protein source can be beef, turkey, chicken, fish, poultry, among other meats. It can also be in form of by products or even by product meals.
The main reason to consider grains as part of cat food is due to digestion and an amicable source of carbohydrates. Grains provide a great source of healthy carbohydrates for you cat. The cat can metabolize the carbohydrates using them as an energy source. While some people prefer to avoid pet food that contains grains, others believe that a diet high in protein and a bit of carbohydrates is good and healthier for cats but that is a controversial subject.
As a cat owner, remember that a grain-free diet is not specifically a low carbohydrate diet. In most cases, these companies switch grains with another carbohydrate source like potatoes.
Safety and Quality
The safety and quality of food you choose is critical to the cat’s health. If possible, go for an extremely high quality food whose manufacturer sets high quality safety standards for their suppliers.
A high quality manufacturer has no problem with inspections by the government or third party auditors. This ensures it meets the very high sanitation and cleanliness standards as well as maintain excellent manufacturing practices.
Consider Life stage
With so many cat food choices available, you will come across so many different cat foods that claim to have it all. While this might be true, they do stretch it a bit but in accordance to the law. When choosing the right cat food for your pet, check the food label for the nutritional adequacy statement. This is a statement that tells you if the cat food is balanced and complete for either all or specific life stages.
This depends on the age of your pet and your preferences. There are foods complete and balanced for all life stages, the same for growth and reproduction, or for adult maintenance. Depending on the age of your cat and your preferences, you can go for specific life stage food or all life stages cat food.
Choosing the right pet food for your cat’s life stage is crucial. Adult cats have different nutrient needs than kittens so make sure to choose the right cat food for your feline friend according to life stage.
Analyze the nutrients
On the packaging of most pet food, a guaranteed analysis is included. Here, you also find a list of the minimum amount of fat and proteins by percentage as well as the maximum amount of moisture and fiber.
Compare the guaranteed analysis of the top pet foods and if possible convert the analysis to a dry matter basis. This eliminates the moisture content and prevents it from skewing the comparison results.
What to Avoid
For the best of your cat, there are food ingredients and products you should avoid.
Meat byproducts are all secondary products produced in addition to the initial product. You don’t need to know the species of animal that the meat comes from. All you need to know is meat byproducts are an inferior type of protein that the cats don’t need.
If you are a cat enthusiast, you have come across meat meal. This is another of the what to avoid types of cat foods. It is a mysterious meat byproduct and claimed concentrate meal. These are produced by rendering which is a he red flag. The meat used in the rendering process isn’t fit for human consumption and the process also destroys or alters the natural proteins and enzymes.
Cat food shouldn’t contain a lot of cornmeal or carbohydrate fillers. An excess of these two isn’t good for your cat. Most of the dry cat foods in the market can contain as much as fifty percent of grains. If you have older cats or a cat with diabetes, avoid these foods at all costs. Feed them grain-free food with limited carbohydrates. On the same, wheat gluten is problematic for cats and it is a cheaper alternative compared to whole grain and muscle meat protein options.
Before you opt for specific cat food, consider the support offered by the food brand you choose. Are you sure you can pick the phone and talk to a person who can help you out with the nutritional questions or problems you might have.
Whichever cat food you think is best for your feline friend, make sure to follow all the guidelines with some help from your veterinarian. Different cats require different amounts of food and sometimes following the feeding guideline can confuse you. Before you choose the right cat food for your feline and start feeding her, visit your vet and have a body condition analysis done. This way, you are able to determine if your cat is overweight, underweight or has an ideal weight and the right amounts of food to feed the cat. Feed your cat to keep him lean and with an ideal body weight to keep him as healthy as possible longer.