There are so many choices on the market when it comes to cat food. In your quest to provide your feline friend with optimal health and maximum longevity, you strive to make the selection that will enable her thrive. Ingredient labels and debates over the best way to feed cats can be confusing. By learning these basic facts and tips, you will feel empowered to make the best choice for your cat.
Proteins in Wellness Cat Food
First and foremost, cats are obligate carnivores. They descended from wild cats that consumed hunted prey to survive. Cats require taurine and arachidonic acid. Taurine is an amino acid that is crucial in maintaining your cat’s heart health, and arachidonic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid that aids in maintaining her renal health. These nutrients are only found in animal protein sources.
When reading the ingredient list on a wellness cat food, the protein source should be listed simply as chicken, beef, salmon, turkey or whichever meat is stated on the front label of the food. Avoid foods with ingredients labeled as chicken by-product or chicken by-product meal. By-products can be made of any parts of any animals that have been rendered, including those unfit for consumption. You would not consume a turkey by-product dinner on Thanksgiving, and neither should your cat. Protein sources should be specified and they should be whole meats. Avoid feeding exotic meats, such as venison or lamb, because you may need to fall back on a novel protein source if your cat ever develops a food allergy.
Pet food labels list the ingredients in descending order according to the weight content. The protein source should be among the first few ingredients listed, ensuring that the protein content is high enough to supply your cat with the taurine and arachidonic acid that she needs.
Carbohydrates and Produce
In the wild, cats consume a diet that is high in protein and fats and very minimal in carbohydrates. Most wellness cat foods contain some carbohydrates. As the incidence of feline obesity has risen, fiber contained in the food can promote a healthy weight by helping your cat to feel satiated more quickly at mealtimes. Many of the natural and organic cat foods do not contain corn, soy or wheat, which contain gluten and other potential allergens. Instead, these foods contain alternative carbohydrate sources, such as potatoes, barley, green peas or brown rice.
Many cat foods contain a small portion of fruits and vegetables. When a wild cat consumes her prey, she wastes no part of animal. She does not know when her next unsuspecting meal will come along. The produce found in your cat’s food is placed there to mimic the stomach contents of herbivorous prey. The vegetables and fruits also add a boost of vitamins and antioxidants to the food.
Avoid Additives in Cat Food
Stay away from cat foods that contain artificial preservatives, such as ethoxyquin, BHA or BHT. Artificial flavors and colors should also be avoided. Keep in mind that when food varieties use the words “entrée,” “platter” or “dinner” on the front label, they are required by the Association of American Feed Control Officers to contain only a very minimal amount of the meats that precede these words. That leaves at least 75 percent of the ingredient content list free to be filled with plenty of artificial ingredients and filler additives.
Water Your Cat
There is debate over whether canned food is better for cats than dry food. Many owners embrace the convenience of dry food that can be left out for the day without spoiling. Ideally, a combination diet of canned and dry food will keep you and your cat happy.
Most cats love canned food. The nutritional value of canned food over dry food for cats lies in the moisture content. Many cats do not drink enough water, which is essential for digestive, urinary and renal health. Feeding your cat some canned food each day is a clever way to sneak moisture into her diet. For the remainder of the day, you may offer her a controlled portion of dry food that she can pick on at her whim. To encourage drinking throughout the day, consider purchasing a pet water fountain. These fountains aerate, filter and circulate the water, and the bubbling stream entices many cats to drink.
Lively, growing kittens have different nutritional requirements than adult cats. As adult cats enter their golden years at seven, their requirements change again to meet the needs of a less active senior feline. Ignoring these requirements can be harmful to your cat. Kitten foods are high in protein and calories to accommodate their high metabolism and developing bodies. Seniors require less protein, and a high protein diet is taxing on their kidney health. Choose the food accordingly to ensure that your cat receives the complete and balanced nutrition that she needs.
Better Brands of Cat Food
Which brand of cat food is the best? The answer is simple. The best cat food is the one that your cat thrives on. Every cat is an individual. Your friend’s cat may thrive on one brand, but your cat may not do nearly as well. The best cat foods are the ones that keep your cat’s gastrointestinal and urinary tracts functioning consistently and optimally, provide your cat with a lustrous coat, healthy skin and bright eyes and give her an overall demeanor of happiness and vitality. Many owners have marveled at the fact that their cat behaved like a kitten again when placed on a different food.
In the same manner that natural food diets are better for humans than consistent menus of junk food, the same is true for cats and dogs. Most of these healthier options can be found in pet supply retail stores. Due to the higher quality of the ingredients found in these foods, they cost a bit more than foods found in the supermarkets and discount stores. When choosing a brand of food for your cat, keep the above points in mind and opt for the best food that fits these needs and that your wallet can afford.
Cat Obesity Prevention – More Food for Thought
To avoid obesity, which can lead to a host of health problems for your cat, always measure your cat’s food. Feed your cat according to the guide on the bag of food. If your cat is already overweight, be sure to feed for your cat’s ideal target weight. If you are unsure, bring along the bag and a can of the food to your veterinarian on your cat’s next checkup and ask him to calculate a healthy meal portion for her needs. Every food is different, so it will be much more helpful is he can see the label of the specific food.
Whenever you change your cat’s diet, remember to wean her slowly onto her new diet. Over the course of a week, gradually increase the proportion of new food in her dish while gradually decreasing the proportion of old food. Abruptly switching diets can cause gastrointestinal upset. Better overall nutrition is the key to better health today and a better quality of life for the duration of a longer lifetime.
Besides information on how choose the best cat food, we also provide information on choosing top rated dog food and understanding organic dog food. PetPremium helps to keep pets happy, healthy and protected.