How To Choose The Right Cat Food
With all the commercial cat food options on the market, choosing the best food for your cat can be overwhelming. “Should I be feeding wet or dry food?” “What ingredients are best for my cat?” “Which are the best food products to get?” These are the questions we’ll answer to make your decision an easy one.
Basic nutritional requirements
Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning that they must eat meat. While they can eat other foods such as carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, meat is a necessary component that should occupy the biggest proportion of their diet. Here’s the breakdown of a cat’s basic nutritional needs:
- Protein such as beef, chicken, poultry or fish
- Taurine, an essential amino acid found in the muscle meat of animals
- Vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fatty acids
Types of food
Currently, the most popular types of food on the market are wet, dry and freeze-dried raw food. While there is no “correct” type of food, it is recommended to use a combination of different types to keep your cat interested in its food.
- Dry food – allows for free-feeding. Some veterinarians believe that dry food is more beneficial for a cat’s teeth. Cats on a dry food diet are usually not getting enough water and can become chronically dehydrated. They are also more prone to obesity and diabetes due to the free-feeding technique commonly adopted by owners. Low-quality dry food often contains higher levels of carbohydrate as a filler to cut costs.
- Wet food – keeps your cat hydrated. Wet cat food usually has about 70 percent of water, which is a similar proportion of water intake as felines in the wild. Finicky cats are more likely to take to wet food, as it is more palatable than kibbles. However, it is important to ensure that you are feeding a high-quality wet food that does not use meat by-products as the main ingredient.
- Freeze-dried raw food – highest in freshness, nutrients and enzymes. Due to the way freeze-dried food is prepared, it is certainly the most natural commercially-bought food you can feed your cat. This type is probably the most expensive option, so it is recommended to vary it with wet and/or dry food to lower your costs.
When researching for the best food for your cat, here are things you should look out for, and what you should avoid on the label.
Look out for…
- Composition of food meets or exceeds AAFCO standards
- “Complete and Balanced”
- Ingredient list should start with a named protein source such as “beef’, “fish”, “chicken”
- “By-products”, “meat and bone meal”, and “animal digest” in the ingredients list
- Chemical preservatives such as “BHA”, “BHT”, “ethoxyquin”, and “propyl gallate”
- Corn meal, which is usually used as a filler
- A high proportion of carbohydrate, also used as a filler
Freeze-Dried Raw Food