Feeding Your Cat : Cat Foods 101

Princess & Pepper

Usually, I talk about dog food and the issues of recalls. Today, I want to focus on Cats’ Health. Cats are carnivores. That’s the most important thing to keep in mind when considering what to feed yours.

Cats are different from us and from dogs. When it comes to nutrition, they are very inflexible, and owners must realize that. Compared to what their owners should be eating, cats need to eat a lot of meat for protein and for fat.
If we ate like cats, we’d have heart disease by age 20. They are not at all the same as humans and they are not little dogs. The reason this is brought up, it’s not uncommon for owners to treat their cats the same way they treat dogs, which can eat a variety of foods and remain healthy.

Dog food can be fatal to cats over time because it doesn’t meet their nutritional needs and it’s often loaded with carbohydrates, which cats can’t process well. Cats get severe obesity problems from carbs, which can lead to diabetes. A cat’s system is not designed for carbs. They are to be avoided.

Pleasing Your Cat’s Palate

When choosing a cat food, check that the label and make sure it meets the standards set by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). That ensures that the food meets at least the minimum nutritional needs of your cat.
You can ignore terms like “gourmet,” “premium,” “super-premium,” and “natural,” which have no standard definition. You can ask your vet what type of food (wet or dry) they recommend for your cat.

Once you’ve made your choice, let your cat do a taste test. If your cat likes the food and doesn’t have any gastrointestinal upsets (such as diarrhea) afterward, you’ve chosen well. However, if your cat doesn’t like the food, you need to be prepared to offer options. Cats often will go on hunger strikes rather than eat something they don’t like . And such strikes are dangerous. A cat that won’t eat can suffer from liver failure and get fatally ill. They can get themselves into big trouble.

If you do need to switch from one food to another, introduce the new food gradually, in small amounts over a week. This helps prevent your cat from rejecting the new food outright and lessens the risk of upsetting your kitty’s stomach.

Feeding Time, Portion Size, and Snacks

How much food will your cat need? It depends on some factors you might not expect. For example, is your cat an indoor or outdoor animal? Has your cat been spayed or neutered? Both affect your cat’s dietary requirements. Your best bet is to seek advice from your vet, who will determine your cat’s ideal weight and daily calorie count.
Be proactive about asking your vet about your cat’s weight and food.
Once you know how much food your cat needs, stick to it. It may seem like too little to you, but it will keep your cat at a healthy weight. For cats, it’s hard to get the weight off once they get overweight.

Next, schedule your cat’s meals. Cats like to eat small meals throughout the day, so plan to leave food out so your cat can come and graze when they feel the need to nibble. You can put out half in the morning before leaving for work and the other half when you return.

Though you may like to give your cat treats, keep them to a minimum.
Don’t let snacks dilute their nutrition ( I know I do) . Just like with people, you don’t want them on a diet of salty things.

Top 5 Best Cat Foods

There’s little agreement about which brand of cat food is truly the best, and no single manufactured food offers perfect nutrition. However, there are a few brands that do show up consistently in top reviews. Take a look at the criteria for a top-notch cat food, and then examine five brands that meet those standards.


Criteria for the Top Five Brands

While you’ll see fancy labels on many brands that claim to be organic, holistic, or superior in some other way, the truth about any cat food’s quality is revealed in its ingredients list. The five cat foods listed below all meet some basic criteria that are supported by Vet Info.

A truly top-quality cat food should:

Use named meat protein sources
Contain no by-products
Contain no fillers such as corn, wheat or soy
Contains no artificial ingredients or preservatives
Since ingredients are listed by weight, a look at the first five ingredients in any brand will give you a good idea about its true quality. Keep that in mind as you examine the list of the top five brands.

1. Orijen Dry Adult Cat and Kitten Food

This brand uses all fresh meats that have never been frozen, and they source them locally from the same region in Canada where the food is made. The formula is 80 percent protein, and 20 percent fruits and vegetables.
The first five ingredients in this formula are:

Fresh boneless chicken
Chicken meal
Fresh boneless salmon
Turkey meal
Fresh chicken liver

The fact that two of the first five ingredients are meat meals is no cause for alarm. Meals are merely concentrated sources of ground meat, and these meals are named so you know exactly what they are. This food also contains no grains, by-products or artificial ingredients, and it’s preservative

2. EVO Turkey & Chicken Dry Cat and Kitten Food

EVO Turkey & Chicken Dry Cat and Kitten Food was rated best dry cat food by Consumer Research. EVO uses real named meats and meals to provide the protein in their formula, not less expensive by-products. The company designs their foods based on the way cats eat in the wild.
The first five ingredients are:

Chicken Meal
Herring Meal
Chicken Fat
This product also contains no artificial ingredients or preservatives.

3. Wellness CORE Original Dry

Pet Food Talk gives Wellness a rating of five out of five stars for its natural ingredients and high-quality protein sources. Customer reviews at Pet Care Rx also give this food five out of five stars based on how willing the cats were to eat it, as well as how their condition improved after being on this formula. This is a completely grain-free diet, with no artificial ingredients or preservatives. It also contains probiotics for improved digestion, as well as flaxseed and salmon oils, which contain essential fatty acids.
The first five ingredients are:

Deboned Turkey
Deboned Chicken
Chicken Meal
Whitefish Meal
Herring Meal

4. Nature’s Variety Instinct Canned Chicken Formula

Canned cat food provides more moisture than dry, so it can be a healthier alternative to dry food for many cats. However, it’s difficult to find wet food that doesn’t contain the thickener carrageenan. Natures Variety is one of the few products that leave those thickeners out of their formulas. This formula is 95 percent chicken meat and liver, and five percent vegetables, fruits and other healthy ingredients. This food is also grain free and gluten free. Customer reviews at Pets 360 give this food an approval rating of 4.6 out of five for its natural ingredients and nutritional value.
The first five ingredients are:

Chicken Broth
Chicken Liver
Ground Flaxseed
This formula also contains montmorillonite clay, an ingredient you may have never run across before. It’s a natural anti-caking agent and source of minerals.

5. Blue Buffalo Wild Delights Canned Chicken and Turkey

Pet Food Talk gives a five star rating to the entire Blue Buffalo line, including canned and dry foods, because of the care they take to ensure only the healthiest ingredients go in. Blue’s Wild Delights is formulated to be as close as possible to a cat’s natural diet if it were living in the wild. This formula is grain and gluten free, contains no by-products or fillers, and uses named, high-quality meat proteins. It’s also free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, and contains no corn, wheat or soy.
The first five ingredients are:

Chicken Broth
Chicken Liver

CONCLUSION : Always Check The Ingredients

It’s the nature of the pet food business to change formulas and ingredients without any notice. This means that a food that meets the highest quality standards now may not meet it forever. So, it’s up to cat owners to check the ingredients list each time they buy a new supply of food in order to be sure that their favorite brands are still the top foods available.

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