Good nutrition is essential to keep your cat healthy. If the food is high quality, you'll not only have a healthy pet, but also a happy one. Owning an animal is a big responsibility and it is up to you to decide what is best for their nutrition. It is very important that you choose the food that's best for your cat or kitten to ensure that they stay healthy and live a long and happy life.
The following guide will explain to you the variety of flavours, textures, quality and nutrients that are available in the cat food market. We will also help you to understand many of the eating habits that your four-legged friend may have that will allow you to better understand your pet and buy the food that best suits their needs.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Key Facts
- 3 Our selection: The best cat food
- 4 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about cat food
- 4.1 What are the differences between dry and wet cat food?
- 4.2 Why should I give my pet cat food and not human food?
- 4.3 Should cat food always be supplemented with water?
- 4.4 Is cat and dog food the same?
- 4.5 What food should a cat never eat?
- 4.6 Is it recommended to change the cat food I give my pet?
- 4.7 Is it advisable to buy cheap cat food?
- 4.8 What cat food is recommended for a pregnant cat?
- 4.9 What cat food should neutered animals avoid?
- 4.10 How much protein should cat food have on average?
- 4.11 Why doesn't my cat want their food and how do I change this?
- 4.12 What does cat food with malt do to help reduce hairballs?
- 4.13 Should I supplement cat food with knick-knacks or treats?
- 4.14 How many times a day should I feed my cat?
- 4.15 How many calories should my cat's food contain?
- 4.16 What if my cat's food doesn't contain taurine?
- 5 Shopping Criteria
- 6 Summary
- What your cat eats will influence their weight, their health and also their happiness. Eating is one of the most basic needs of any living being, including cats, so it is very important to choose quality food.
- Cats should not eat human food because it contains different nutrients than what a cat needs. Humans and cats are different, so is the diet and food requirements.
- Cat are lovers of routines, so when you find a meal that they like, you should stick with it because they may find it difficult to change to something else. With this in mind, it is important that you make a good choice from the outset, so that your cat does not become accustomed to an unhealthy product.
Our selection: The best cat food
In this section you will see a collection of the most popular cat food products among cat owners as well as a summary of each product. Cat food is one of the most basic needs of your pet, so before making the decision of what food to buy your furry friend, we want you to have multiple options available.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about cat food
Before opting for one brand or another, you should learn more about cat food and the eating habits of these animals. Remember that these pets love their routine, so if they like their food, they'll find it difficult to swap to a different product. With this in mind, give them the taste of quality and healthy food from the beginning to ensure they adopt a healthy eating habit.
What are the differences between dry and wet cat food?
A very important factor to keep in mind is that dry cat food usually contains only 5-10% water, so it offers little hydration for your pet. Meanwhile, wet cat food from a tin or pouch usually contains between 60-80% water.
Why should I give my pet cat food and not human food?
In addition, many of the foods people eat can actually be harmful to cats, such as onion, garlic, avocado, grapes or chocolate. If you decide to give your cat some human food, you must first check that the food does not contain any harmful products.
Should cat food always be supplemented with water?
With this in mind, you should always accompany your cat's food with a fresh bowl of water, especially if your cat eats mostly dry cat food. Wet food contains a lot of water in its composition, however a bowl of water is never unnecessary. You should also know that neutered cats should drink more water to avoid urinary stones. The easiest thing to do is always make sure you have a fresh bowl of water available for your cat at all times.
Is cat and dog food the same?
- Vitamin A: While it is an essential element in cat food, many dog foods do not include vitamin A.
- Taurine: Many dog foods do not contain taurine, while if your cat's diet is low in this substance, they could develop heart disease.
- Meat: Cats actually need a higher level of protein in their food than dogs.
- Hydrates and cereals: These are not necessary for cats, however they are very important for dogs to maintain a healthy diet.
What food should a cat never eat?
You also have to be careful with unnatural additives that can make cats addicted to a specific food that often does not provide sufficient nutrients. As mentioned earlier in the article, there are basic human foods that a cat cannot eat, such as chocolate, whole milk, onion and garlic.
Is it recommended to change the cat food I give my pet?
While you're figuring out which brands your cat might like, it's a good idea to offer only quality food right from the start. If they like a product, it will be difficult to move away from this, so it's best they become accustomed to a healthy product from the start.
Is it advisable to buy cheap cat food?
In addition, animal nutritionalists often say that cats like food that is of a lower quality because it contains the most additives that make them addicted to that product. It is therefore advisable to take a good look at the nutritional content of each product before making a purchase.
What cat food is recommended for a pregnant cat?
It is also important to mention that cats have difficulty producing milk during the lactation period and need to increase their level of body fat during pregnancy. Specified animal vitamins and supplements are usually not necessary for a pregnant cat, unless you notice that your pregnant cat is very low on weight.
What cat food should neutered animals avoid?
That's why most cat food brands offer specific products for cats that are neutered with foods that have fewer calories. If your neutered pet is more than seven years old, it will need an antioxidant booster supplement that many feline food products offer.
How much protein should cat food have on average?
It is important not to give more protein than is specified, especially for castrated cats or cats that live solely indoors, as they can gain weight if they consume more than the recommended amount of protein. However it is equally important to mention that cats need animal protein in their diet, so they can not be vegetarian. The key is to find the right protein balance for your cat.
Why doesn't my cat want their food and how do I change this?
- They don't like the taste. One of the first causes you should rule out is that your cat doesn't like the taste of the food you're giving him. This problem has an easy solution: try different brands and flavours until you find the one that appeals to them. To do this, you can buy the small servings and packages that offer small amounts of food.
- It's so hot. In summer or in warm climates, cats eat less. It's no reason to worry because they also spend more time resting and use less energy. Make sure you always have clean water available and cool places for them to rest from the high temperatures.
- Location of food. Cats are very clean and neat animals. If their food is located in a place with strong smells or an area that is dirty, they may not eat. For example, a litter box should be kept far away from the food bowl.
- Depression. If there has been a sudden change or traumatic experience in your environment, your cat may be depressed. Moving house, a new baby in the family or a new pet can lead to depression in cats. If this happens, cats often do not want to eat but instead they sleep more than usual. If you notice this behaviour, spend time with with your cat and give them some affection to show them that they are important in your life.
- Illness. If your pet vomits, has diarrhoea or you think that he may have a fever, you should take him to the vet as soon as possible. It could be a simple food poisoning or it could be something more serious.
- Hairballs in the intestine. Cats are self-cleaning animals that use their tongue to clean themselves, however this can lead to them to ingesting a lot of hair. Often they don't eat because they feel full from the hair they have ingested. To counteract this issue, keep your cats hair well brushed so that they do not ingest more or choose a cat food that contains malt to reduce hairballs. If neither of these tactics work, take your cat to the vet.
What does cat food with malt do to help reduce hairballs?
Cats generally do not have any issues eating cat food containing malt, as it's usually available in the form of a sweet treat with an appetising taste. Malt is a natural product but is not a complete food, only a complement to an existing healthy diet. Malt will help to eliminate the hair in their intestines through their faeces, as it works as a laxative.
Should I supplement cat food with knick-knacks or treats?
Treats are very useful for training your cat. If you want to change an annoying habit of your cat, you can reward them when they are well behaved to reinforce the good behaviour. At the same time, don't give them a treat when they does something they shouldn't do as this will give mixed signals. Treats also serve to strengthen the bond and trust your cat has with you.
How many times a day should I feed my cat?
Giving your cat food all depends on their self control and how they ration their food. Some cats can have all the food in the bowl in the morning and simply eat their food throughout the day, little by little. Meanwhile other cats will eat all the food the moment you give it to them. For this reason, you must take control by providing the food depending the type of cat you have.
How many calories should my cat's food contain?
Generally speaking, it is estimated that your cat should eat approximately 60 calories for each kilogram they weigh per day. So if your cat weights 5kg, they should consume approximately 300 calories over the course of a day. Dry cat food usually contains about 300 calories per cup.
What if my cat's food doesn't contain taurine?
Taurine is only found in animal tissues, which means that cats must maintain a carnivorous diet and cannot follow a vegetarian diet. Taurine is an amino acid, as is arginine, and both nutrients are necessary for the health of your cat.
When buying food for your cat, it is important to evaluate many aspects before making a purchase as food is the basis of your cat's health. In the following section we have included the most important factors you should consider before buying cat food. With this guide, you can be sure you're making the right decision. The shopping criteria is:
The two most well known textures of cat food are dry food and wet food. Experts recommend alternating between both styles of food and not using wet food simply as a reward, as it is often used. The advantage of wet food is that it provides a high content of water and cats hydrate themselves well by eating wet food. Another positive of wet food is that it is very useful for older animals that often have less strength to chew.
The benefit of dry cat food is that it usually has more varieties and is useful for sterilised animals as it is low in calories and prevents the risk of fattening. Another benefit of dry cat food is that it helps to strengthen the cats teeth and can also be stored in any climate after the package is opened.
In the following table you will see the main nutrients or components that are present in cat food. That way you'll easily understand which part of the label you're interested in and what to look for. Be careful, as smart advertising will try to trick you into buying an unhealthy product, however with this table we do our best to keep you well informed.
|Nutrients||What form does it come in||Quantity that your cat needs||Properties that contribute to your cat's health|
|Protein||Meats, fish||It depends a lot on the type of cat, but the adequate percentage can be considered between 25% and 40%.|| Proteins are fundamental when feeding of your cat, since they are a carnivorous animal.
Protein is essential for maintaining optimal muscle mass.
|Fats||Animal products||Should be between 15 and 20% of the total food.|| Serves as insulator and protection for their internal organs.
The best are fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6.
They improve the taste of cat foods.
Provides vitamins A, D, E and B.
|Minerals||They are calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and ash.||The percentage of calcium must be more than 1%, phosphorus and magnesium must always be less than 0.3% and it is even better if magnesium is below 0.1%.. Ash levels must be below 10%.||Necessary to keep your cat's bones healthy.|
|Amino acids||They're found in animal protein.||Should contain at least 25% taurine or arginine.||Amino acids are essential for proper functioning of the eyes and heart.|
Normally, the taste of the main ingredient prevails, which is usually either salmon or a specific meat such as chicken or turkey. However, in some cat foods, flavour elements are also added to the food to make it taste more appealing. As long as the food contains the necessary nutrients, the flavour will depend on what your pet likes.
It is very important to know that the sensitivity of cats to bitter flavours is 400 times greater than that of dogs, but, on the contrary, they lack taste buds to enjoy sweet flavours.
As cat food should only contain raw ingredientes that have been processed, cat food should not be coloured. If there is any color, such as reddish or green, it is because the food contains some kind of added food colouring. It is common to find artificial colours in low quality cat food.
As with any other product, cat food packages have eye-catching colours that try to capture our attention with their designs and advertisements. The important thing is the quality ingredients in the food and not the extra elements that add colour to your cat's meal.
Most experts divide the quality of cat food into three different groups. Quality is defined mainly by the ingredients that make up the food. It is very important that you review the quantity of each nutrient in the food. The quality of cat food is divided as follows:
- Low quality: It is made with by-products of animals unfit for human consumption, such as cartilage, feathers, beaks or crushed hooves. To bulk-up the food, manufactures usually add chemicals that may taste good but do not have nutricional benefits.
- Medium quality: They usually alternate meat with by-products of animal origin. Therefore, the protein level does not come directly from meat or fish.
- High quality: These contain the quantity of protein that is required, coming directly from meat and not animal by-products. They are low in carbohydrates and cereals, while they do not usually contain artificial flavours or preservatives.
When you're choosing the food you're going to buy your cat, it is very important that you look at the quality aspects of the food. We all know that if we decide to make a pet part of our lives, that we will have more expenses each month. The important thing is that you prioritise the health of your cat by giving it healthy food that will allow it to stay healthy and lead a good life.
When choosing a new cat food, take a good look at the food label and the ingredients it contains. Colours and flavourings are extras that will not help the well-being of your cat so it is best to avoid these. If your cat has an eating issue, try a different brand or if it is required, take your furry friend to the vet for a checkup.
(Source of featured image: Kirill Kedrinski: 27003809/ 123rf.com)