Right Food for Your Cat
Feline guardianship comes with many responsibilities, but one of the most important ones is providing quality food for your pet. Pet shops have foods ranging in texture, flavors, vitamins, nutrients, etc., so choosing the best food can be overwhelming. To choose the right food for your cat, you must carefully read food labels and know the basics, which we will cover in this article.
Cat Food Nutritional Needs
Cats require plenty of water. In addition to water, their basic nutritional needs are:
- Protein from a meat, fish, or poultry source
- Certain vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and fatty acids
Cats are carnivores by nature, and therefore cannot thrive on vegetarian diets. However, most fruits and vegetables can be added to cats’ diets to provide additional nutrients and antioxidants and support their optimal health.
Even though cats do not essentially need carbohydrates, corn, wheat, rice, and other grains are often used as fillers for cat foods.
Factors Choosing Cat Food
When choosing the right food for your cat, there are several factors to consider, as their nutritional needs depend on:
- Age – You should either buy food that is produced for all life stages or specific to your cat’s life stage.
- Health and weight – If your pet needs to lose or gain a few pounds, you should buy food proven to help manage weight. If there is any medical issue involved, you may seek professional advice from the veterinarian before purchasing any particular food.
- Cat breeds – You can buy food made for specific breeds that can meet their unique nutritional requirements. Cat food manufacturers consider kibble size for specific jaw shape, add the necessary fatty acids, which are crucial for healthy bones and joints.
- Activity level – Daily nutrients and calories allow cats to function to their full potential. Different activity levels require different protein levels in foods. Overfeeding or underfeeding can lead to various health issues.
- Food sensitivities and allergies – Does your cat show any signs of food sensitivity (a dull coat, an upset tummy, ear infections, or persistent scratching)? Cats can have an adverse reaction to one or more ingredients in their food. You should eliminate anything that may be upsetting your pet’s overall health.
Right Cat Food Canned or dry?
Nutritionists agree that pets should get a variety of high-quality food of different textures and flavors. So, your cat should eat both dry and canned food. Let’s see why:
- Dry food is very convenient for use, while canned food contains water which is especially important for hydration, especially if your cat doesn’t drink water regularly.
- No food is perfect, but a combination of canned and dry food ensures that your cat gets the right amount of nutrients – essential minerals and vitamins.
- Like any other species, cats can become bored with the same food for every meal and even quit eating if they are stubborn enough. Also, their health may suffer if they are eating the same meal every time for many years in a row.
- Your cat can develop certain allergies over some time. To help to avoid it, you must provide variety.
- A variety of foods can help avoid food addictions that can build up due to a lack of other options. A cat can become addicted to a particular flavor of a specific brand, and that kind of addiction is challenging to break. Our Pro Cat Sitters follow pet parents feeding instructions. We are willing to share our expertise.
Reading Cat Food Labels
AAFCO is an organization that sets standards for pet foods in the U.S. Every food you buy for your cat should be AAFCO approved – complete and balanced.
Always check the life stage recommended on the label, such as kitten food, adult cat food, food for lactating cats, etc. Look for the main protein source – it should be the first listed ingredient on the label. Avoid brands that only state “meat” as the protein source. Instead, look for a particular protein source, such as fish, chicken, turkey, rabbit, lamb, or beef. Always check the expiration date for freshness.
You should also know what to avoid when reading the food labels. Stay away from food that is classified as “by-products,” “meat and bone meal,” and “animal digest”. Also, you should avoid buying food with added sugars, cornmeal, carbohydrate fillers, and chemical preservatives, such as BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, and propyl gallate.
Some binders, flavoring, coloring, and preservatives may be added by cat food manufacturers. Preservatives are necessary to keep foods fresh, and they are highly unlikely to cause any problems in a cat’s health. Also, many cat food manufacturers use natural preservatives, such as vitamins C and E.
Try to Avoid Cheaper Foods
First-time cat owners may try to keep expenses low and buy the cheapest foods they can find. However, that may not be the most effective option, as cats eat as much as they need to get the certain nutrients they require. So, they might eat twice as much of that cheaper food. Furthermore, the continued feeding of substandard foods over a few years may contribute to (or even cause) some medical issues that require expensive veterinary care.
Make Long-distance moves less stressful
Some pets experience anxiety during a long-distance move, which can disrupt their routines and habits as well as their food consumption. Your cat might refuse the food they are used to until they feel entirely safe in the new home. That shouldn’t worry you because those kinds of behaviors usually don’t last long, but if they persist, you should consult with your vet and maybe even change the cat’s diet a bit.
A long-distance move is a challenging time in everybody’s life. Of course, you’ll want to make it as less stressful as possible for yourself as well as for your pet. For example, if you’re moving to or from Missouri, keep in mind that reliable assistance is crucial as you can leave all the hard work to experienced professionals. Long-distance movers offer a wide range of moving services, from help with planning and organization to renting storage units, packing, unpacking, and much more, so you can let them handle everything while you focus on your cat’s wellbeing.
When you’re able to choose the right food for your cat (whether it’s a kitten, adult, or senior cat), you will help keep them healthy and happy for a long time. This guide is a great place to start, but make sure to consult a vet if you have any questions or concerns.