In the wild, cats are naturally carnivores. This means they require nutrients that naturally come from animal products. When choosing a food, it is recommended to keep their need for a high protein diet in mind. Cats in the wild are hunters that consume proteins and some fats from small rodents and other prey. From this natural prey diet, they get nutrients, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Here are some tips to consider on choosing the best cat food for your household.
What to look for in a cat food
With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the best food for your furry friends. The main thing to consider is their need for high protein, looking at where that protein comes from, and the percentage of fat. If you feed your cat food containing high protein like their non-domesticated diet would provide, there should not be a need for supplements or extra vitamins and minerals. Giving your cat too many vitamins and nutrients through supplements can be harmful. It is best to always discuss with your vet before adding anything to their diet.
Dry food vs. wet food
Dry cat food is convenient for pet owners because it is relatively inexpensive and does not dry out. It can also offer owners the convenience of free feeding, where their cat can grave their food whenever they feel like eating. The main thing to consider with dry food is that it usually contains high grains that they do not really need, and cats often don’t like it. If your cat is a picky eater, you may have to opt for the less convenient option - wet food.
Wet foods usually require a feeding schedule, but they are also good for hydration because they contain at least 75% water. Wet food is the most expensive option; however, canned foods usually have a long shelf life. The semi-moist packets do not usually have a long shelf life, especially when opened, but they are an excellent option to consider as well.
What about homemade food?
It is possible to make your own cat food; however, this can be a very time-consuming process. It is usually recommended by vets to purchase commercially made foods because they are required to follow dietary regulations that are supposed to be the best fit for cats.
Commercially created cat foods are required to follow guidelines from the Association of American Feed Control Officials. However, it is still smart to still read the labels because the animal products, byproducts, fiber sources, and grains that food contains can vary tremendously by brand.
If they need protein, what about raw meat?
Raw meat is not recommended for cats because they are at risk for disease and illness. Raw meat hypothetically can be a great source of nutrients; however, it can be very risky without knowing the background of the meat. There have even been horror stories of cats developing neurological disorders from raw meats. Raw meats put cats at risk for a parasitic disease that is very dangerous called toxoplasmosis. Overall, veterinarians do not recommend feeding raw diets to cats.
What about picky eaters?
Cats can become picky eaters and can definitely get bored with their food. If your cat starts to become bored with its food, it is good to buy a variety of flavor options so they are not eating the same boring meal every day. Luckily most brands have options like chicken, fish, and lamb so you can give your cat a rotation of meals. If your cat does not want to eat its food, consider topping dry food with wet food to make it more appealing.
If your cat has other health-related concerns that you believe are related to diet, it is best to discuss it with your vet. Cats can have food intolerances just as humans. Sometimes narrowing down these intolerances can be difficult, but you can find a brand of food out of the hundreds on the market for your furry feline with some trial and error.
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