Follow our helpful cat food tips to keep your feline friend happy and healthy.
Your cat is part of your family. You should feed it like family, too. Buying the right cat food can lead to a longer, happier and healthier life for your cat. Always work with your veterinarian to come up with a complete nutrition plan for your cat, as their dietary needs can vary depending on breed, life stage and medical history.
Kittens and adult cats have different nutritional needs. When you’re reading the cat food label, look for a life stages description. If the label says it’s “complete and balanced for all stages of life,” it’s safe for a kitten or adult cat. You’ll also find cat food that is designed for “adult maintenance,” meant only for adult cats. Kitten food will be made for “growth and reproduction.” Kitten food generally has a higher amount of proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. The higher amount of nutrients helps with proper growth and a healthy weight.
Cat Food Ingredients
When you’re buying cat food, it’s important to read through the ingredients. You want protein, such as chicken, tuna or turkey, in the top three ingredients. Ingredients are listed in order by weight. Cats need their diet to be meat-based, not plant-based. They can only get the nutrients they need from meat sources.
It’s also important to consider flavor. Look for foods with specific proteins listed, such as beef or chicken, over generic terms like “meat flavored”. You’ll know where the cat’s protein is actually coming from.
Whether grain-free cat food is healthier or not is debatable. Grains are a source of carbs, which your cat can use as an energy source. However, some experts believe that grains can cause allergies in your cat. Also, even if the cat food is grain-free, it can still be full of other carbs, such as potatoes. If you’re aiming for a high protein, low carb diet, it’s best to keep this in mind.
Specialty Cat Food & Treats
There are many different types of cat food, and even treats, available for helping with health conditions. You’ll find cat food that can help with hairball control, sensitive stomach, weight control and sensitive skin. Consult with your veterinarian before putting your cat on a regimen of these kinds of cat food.
You’ll also need to choose between wet and dry cat food. Both have their pros and cons.
Dry Cat Food
- Less expensive
- Can be left out all day
- Less moisture
- Less protein
- More carbs
Wet Cat Food
- Moisture content
- More protein
- Less carbs
- Easily spoil if left out
- More expensive
Cats have a low thirst drive, which can lead to dehydration, and eventually urinary tract and kidney problems. Wet food can help make up for the lack of water your cat consumes. If you choose to use wet food, it’s best to figure out a feeding schedule for your cat, where they can finish the food at each sitting.
Healthy Feeding Schedule
When it comes to making a healthy feeding schedule, it really depends on the individual cat. There are two methods for feeding your cat: free feeding and scheduled feeding.
With free feeding, you leave the bowl of food out at all times so your cat can eat when they please. It’s best to do this method with dry food, because it won’t spoil as quickly as wet food. It’s also a great option if you’re not home enough to follow a feeding schedule. It can also work great for multi-cat homes. However, some cats will overeat. This can cause obesity, and lead to other health problems. If you choose this method, it’s best to monitor your cat’s weight and eating habits. If they overeat and begin gaining excessive weight, it will be time to get your cat on a scheduled feeding diet.
If you’re buying wet food, you will definitely want to consider scheduled feeding. You can fill the bowl with food and take it away after some time has passed. We recommend giving your cat half an hour to eat. You can also help your cat with portion control. Portion out some of the cat food, and let the cat eat at its own pace. This method works great if you have a regular schedule where you’ll be at home for feeding time. It’s also a good method for cats in need of weight loss, or that need to take medications with their meal. It’s best to check with your veterinarian before putting your cat on a diet.
Your pets deserve only the best. For more helpful tips and information, check out the pet care section of our blog.