There is no doubt that cat owners want the healthiest options for their feline friends. However, finding a healthy cat food requires looking at the list of ingredients, finding a safe, reliable brand and considering the cat's personal health. With so many products on the market with misleading labels it’s hard to know which one to pick for your cat. Here are a few simple ideas to help you choose the healthiest food for your cat.
Pay Attention To Recalls: Be sure to research whether the brand has been recalled in the past. Pet food brands that have been recalled two or more times in the past five years should be a warning to you. Companies that respond to recalls professionally and have very few recalls are usually safe for pets.
High Quality Ingredients: Choose a cat food that utilizes high quality ingredients. For instance, a company that uses grains that are easy for the animal to digest are a better choice than a brand that uses other types of grains.
What to Look For
Protein-rich Foods: Cats are healthiest when they consume protein-rich foods. For instance, a cat food that contains meat as the first ingredients is your best option. When reading the label, look for the words chicken, fish and beef.
Quality Grains: Quality grains that are suitable for cats include quinoa, brown rice and barley. Cat food, and other pet foods, also have preservatives. Look for natural preservatives like vitamin C to provide the best possible food.
Organ Meats: Organ meats are usually classified as by-products on pet food labels. If the ingredients list is high quality and the brand is reliable, by-products, like organ meats, can help your cat maintain good health. Look for foods that list which organ meats are in the food. For instance, liver is a nutritious organ meat that is healthy for cats.
What to Avoid
When reading the ingredients label, there are some ingredients to avoid. For instance, if the ingredients list simply says “meat” or “meat meal,” rather than a specific protein, avoid purchasing that brand. Rendered fat, bone meal and by-products that are specifically identified should be avoided as well.
Other ingredients to stay away from include corn, wheat, sugar, food dyes and carrageenan or other thickeners like xanthan gum. Cats can't digest corn or wheat very well, and sugar, food dyes and thickeners are unnecessary, and sometimes harmful, ingredients.
Cats need both wet and dry food. Wet food provides cats with necessary water, and also helps prevents urinary tract problems, such as urinary tract crystals. Both wet and dry cat food should contain high-quality ingredients.