The Truth About Healthy Cat Foods: We Break It Down
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Cats need a balanced diet with the right mix of ingredients to live a healthy life. Whether your cat is a fully grown adult or a young kitten, the right diet is crucial of your cat’s well-being. Like all animals, cats need nutrient-rich foods to get the vitamins and minerals they need.
You can keep your cat healthy by making sure you select foods that are right for your feline's lifestyle and age. But in order to find the right foods, you need to do some research before choosing a particular food or brand. Knowing what’s available – and what’s most healthy – will help you select a diet suitable for your cat.
Wet Cat Food vs. Dry Cat Food
There’s a big debate among cat owners: which food is best for domesticated cats? In the natural world, cats generally eat a protein-rich diet because they are strictly carnivorous. Many cat food brands, however, contain fillers. Instead of packing healthy, nutritious protein, some of the biggest are rich in fillers corn and other ingredients that can actually be harmful for a cat's nutrition.
Cats consume a diet that is 47 percent protein in the wild VetInfo.com reports, but most cat foods contain no more than 30 percent protein. Feeding your cat foods that contain only the nutrients needed will help keep your favorite feline healthy.
The two most popular options for cat food are wet and dry. Here’s what you should know about each variety:
Wet Cat Food: Many cat owners prefer to feed their cats moist food because its consistency is similar to the foods felines consume in nature. Wet cat food is most similar to meat, contains chunks of meat or fish, and cats are naturally attracted to its taste and smell. Cat owners rarely have a problem getting their cats to eat wet cat food. Manufacturers often include additives in cat food to ensure that felines crave the taste of their food.
Dry Cat Food: Dry cat food is controversial among experts on feline nutrition and cat owners alike. Veterinarians often recommend dry cat food because it’s made with an ideal mix of the nutrients cats need. Many pet owners, however, find it challenging to convince their cat to become accustomed to a dry food diet. To make matters worse, cats can get used to the taste and texture of the foods they eat. When you try to switch to a dry diet, your cat may, therefore, be unwilling to try the new food.
Choosing the Right Type of Food
If you’re trying to decide between wet food and dry food, the choice can be tough. Both wet and dry have their own advantages and drawbacks.
The advantage of dry cat food is it’s less expensive than a moist food diet. Some wet foods are perishable, and they often require refrigeration or freezing – especially if your cat doesn’t eat a full can or package each meal. You can buy wet cat foods that are nonperishable, but these foods tend to be more expensive. If you decide to feed your cat dry food, it’s important to select a kibble size suitable for your cat. Big kibbles can be too large for your cat to chew, and this can increase your cat's resistance to trying a new dry diet. With wet cat food, on the other hand, kibble sizes are not generally a problem since cats can break moist chunks into manageable nuggets.
New Options Available for Cat Owners
As a cat owner, it’s important to conduct sufficient research before choosing a diet for your cat. Many of the most inexpensive foods contain preservatives, vegetables, and other additives that can be harmful or even poisonous for cats. To keep your cat as healthy as possible, you should consider some of the following options:
Age-Specific Formulas. One of the best cat ways to choose which cat food is best for your furry friend is to look for food that comes in a wide variety of formulas designed to match your cat's lifestyle, age, and sensitivities. Many cat food brands offer specific variations that are designed for cats of certain age groups, such as 3 to 5 years old or seniors, and designed the food to meet their nutrition needs.
Certified Ingredients. Many cat foods that claim to be based in meat are actually made from animal by-products. To ensure your cat is eating the best of the best, look for foods or brands that are certified to contain no chicken or poultry by-products. In addition to containing real meat, the formula should also include veggies and wholesome whole grains (not corn fillers) to give your cat nutrients without risking weight gain.
Designed for Indoor Cats. If you keep your cat indoors, accounting for their lifestyle is critical for ensuring a healthy existence. Outdoor cats are often more active, so indoor cats can gain weight quickly if they eat the wrong food. Look for products made from an ideal blend of proteins and vegetables to give your indoor cat the nutrients necessary to live a healthy sedative life.
Choosing the Right Cat Food
Today, there’s a broad range of cat food options available on the shelves of your local pet store and online. The Internet makes the search for the perfect cat food even easier, enabling you to choose from hundreds of different cat food brands – but it can also complicate your decision. Narrow down your options and find the right food by doing a little research online to find foods ideal for your cat's characteristics.
Don’t forget to check the labels and prices, too. Most cat food manufacturers list their products’ ingredients right on their website, and helps ensure you avoid feeding your cat an unhealthy diet. Additionally, online shops are a great source for finding discounts on different cat foods and brands. By conducting research online before making your selection, you can keep your cat healthy for years to come while cutting costs at the same time.
Like anything, it's always a good idea to be aware of the latest research. We recommend comparing at least 3 or 4 options before making a final decision. Doing a search online is typically the quickest, most thorough way to discover all the pros and cons you need to keep in mind.