When your cat asks for food, what do you feed her? Choosing the right cat food is one of the most important decisions for your cat’s health. But with so many brands available, it can be hard to choose. Learn how to read cat food labels and choose ingredients for a quality cat food that will fulfill your pet’s needs.
What does your cat need for good health?
These are the basic essentials that should be a part of your cat’s diet:
- Protein from red meat, fish or chicken
- Taurine (an amino acid vital to your cat’s health)
- Vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and fatty acids
Tips for reading cat food labels:
- The first few ingredients should include a named protein (beef, chicken, etc.), rather than a general protein (“meat”).
- Buy foods with high-quality proteins such as chicken, beef, lamb, salmon, etc., which are more easily digested than by-products.
- Avoid food with meat/bone meal, by-products and ingredients with “digest” or “meal.”
- Notice the name of the product. If an ingredient is mentioned in the name, it must meet minimum requirements per FDA rules.
- If the name mentions a meat or fish, that item should make up 95% of the formula (not counting water). “Tuna Cat Food” should have 95% tuna, for example.
- A food with “dinner” in the name (i.e. “Chicken Dinner for Cats”) must have 25% of that ingredient.
Keep in mind that low-quality food will often have too many carbohydrates or grain filler, which means your cat will need to eat more food to get the nutrients she needs. A diet with low-quality food may also lead to allergies or medical issues.
The benefits of premium cat food
Just like human organic food is more nutritious than processed food, premium pet foods are more densely packed with nutrients. Their high-quality proteins are also more digestible and their amino acids lead to shinier coats. Overall, they have more nutritional value per ounce, so your cat will get more nutrients in less food.
Consider buying a premium cat food to support your pet’s health and quality of life.