How to pick a cat food
Picking the right brands and flavors of cat food can take some experimenting. After all, it’s not just a matter of researching cat nutrition, which would be a project on its own. You also have to consider your cat’s habits, age, and tastes. But, it’s so gratifying to get to know your furbaby better and learn what she needs. When Jade first came to me, she was stick-thin, with matted, patchy hair. I loved watching her enjoy regular meals and grow into the energetic, fluffy, shiny-haired adult she is now.
If you’re working on finding the right food for your cat, take these guidelines from Dr. Catsby. And remember that all food tastes better with comfy whiskers!
Look at the ingredients.
Unlike other common pets, cats are obligate carnivores. That doesn’t mean they can only eat meat. But it does mean they need meat in order to thrive because their bodies don’t produce the amino acids and vitamins that omnivores and herbivores do. Instead, they get these nutrients pre-formed from the meat they eat. So, the first thing you want to look for on the cat food ingredient list is a specific type of meat, fish, or poultry. If all you see is “meat” or “meat product,” it’s probably over-processed and not as healthy.
A good quality cat food should also contain taurine, an amino acid that cats specifically need, and other vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. Avoid byproducts like bone meal. Carbohydrate fillers, like oats or soybean meal, are fine in moderation but should be well under 50 percent of your cat’s diet.
When looking at ingredients in cat food, use the same judgement as you would with the ingredients lists of your own groceries. Too many added sugars and hard-to-pronounce preservatives probably means it’s unhealthy.
Offer at least some wet food.
Jade drinks water regularly, but Jade is a weirdo. Most cats tend not to drink much water on their own, so it’s important to feed them wet food at least once or twice a day. Try to rotate different flavors of a trusted brand so that your cat gets a variety of vitamins and minerals – and so he doesn’t get bored.
Different diets for different life stages.
Many cat foods are formulated for a specific age, which can really come in handy. Kittens need more protein, fat, and calories to fuel their active, growing bodies. Adult cats should have a lower-calorie diet than kittens with more protein than carbs or fat. And senior cats should have a low-calorie, low-fat diet with lots of water and easily-digestible proteins for their aging digestive systems.
What do you feed your cats?
I want to hear from you about your kitties’ diets! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me about what your cats eat and why. Or, let me know if you have any questions about cat diets and nutrition that we can tackle on the blog.
May you have mellow, marvelous meal times this week!
Hannah and Jade