You want the best for your cat, but how do you tell what the best cat food is? Are you just rolling the dice and hoping your cat is getting the nutrients they need for a healthy diet? Buying cat food is something that pet owners often wrestle with.
The wrong food can make your cat sick or uncomfortable. Even worse, poor food can result in a shorter lifespan.
There are actually several telling indicators of good cat food. Before choosing cat food for your feline friend, you should consider the following seven things. Keep reading to find out the secret to selecting good cat food!
1. Where’s the Protein?
Cats are obligate carnivores, and they require high protein diets. Beef, chicken, and seafood are all pretty common proteins that you will find in cat food. But in addition to being the most important ingredient in cat chow, it is also one of the most expensive.
This means that cheaper cat food brands will sometimes load their cat food with fillers or “meals.” They are not as nutritious for your cat, but save money for the brand.
You will be able to tell by looking at the ingredients list. Focus on the first three ingredients. Ingredients should be listed in order of highest weight, so the first three ingredients will give you an idea of what the food is made out of.
The first ingredient should always be pure protein. Beef, turkey, or some other meat. If it isn’t, pass on that brand and look at another.
2. Look for AAFCO Approval
Next, you should look for feeding trials that were approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. This will signify that the food has been tested and approved by an official entity. This adds a layer of credibility both to the brand and the food you are thinking about buying.
If the pet food package labels you are looking at don’t say anything about the AAFCO, put them down and move on.
3. Get a Veterinarian’s Opinion
It is likely that you have taken your cat to the vet at least once. It is always a good idea to ask for your veterinarian’s opinion about what type of food to buy.
Not only can they offer their expert opinion as to which food is the best, but it is likely that they are familiar with your cat and your cat’s needs. Different cats have varying struggles or health issues, and one way to address those is through diet. Your vet may have a recommendation for your feline friend based on what they have witnessed about your cat.
For example, different foods can help with your pet’s coat and digestive system. Your vet may recommend something different to help with dental issues. Getting the expert to weigh in on your cat’s diet is always a good idea.
However, this can get tricky when your vet recommends different food for all of your cats. But there are solutions to this problem as well. Find out more about how microchip cat feeders can feed specific cats.
4. Life Stage
Is your cat full-grown or are they still a kitten? Have they entered into their elderly years yet? Believe it or not, the life stage is an important factor to consider when selecting cat food.
This is because cats need different nutrients when they are growing versus when they are already grown. Looking for the specific formula that matches your cat’s life stage is an important thing to do.
And it isn’t difficult. Most brands will say right on the bag whether the food inside is intended for adults or kittens.
5. Expiration Date
Has the food been sitting on your shelf for a long time? It may very well be expired. Always check the expiration date and the storage instructions before purchasing or serving cat food.
This is important because older food can lose its nutrients. Remember, cat food is still food. Your cat needs it to be full of nutrients in order to live a healthy life.
6. Look for Supplements
While you are looking at the label, be on the lookout for any other supplements each cat food may offer. This will help you compare between brands.
In addition to protein, cats need other nutrients to live a healthy life. Good cat food will contain added ingredients that will help your cat live its best life. Here are some common healthful additions:
- Omega-3 fatty acids like flaxseed and salmon oil
- Natural ingredients like cranberries
- Probiotics and prebiotics
- Dietary fiber
Fiber, prebiotics, and probiotics all help with your cat’s digestion. Keep an eye on their litter box to make sure that it is working.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for keeping your cat’s skin and pelt looking sleek. If your cat has dandruff or itchy skin, maybe it is time to get them some more omega-3’s.
Other natural ingredients can have added benefits as well. Look for things like cranberries which are known to promote urinary tract health.
7. The Cost
In most facets of life, we are always looking for deals. Your pet’s food choice is one area where you should expect to pay more.
By no means do you need to spend a fortune on cat food. But only paying a few dollars is a surefire tip-off that the food does not contain enough nutrients for your cat’s health. To double-check, just look at the rest of the label.
Buying Cat Food Just Got Easier
Buying cat food doesn’t have to be complicated. Once you know these tips and tricks for discerning healthy brands, it gets much easier.
We know that you want what is best for your cat. That’s why we put out quality content on how to make the best choices for your pet. To learn more about diet, check out our Pet Care section and keep reading!