With so many cat food products available, finding the best one can be a challenge. Whether you are a new cat owner or just looking to change your feline’s diet, you should consider several factors before choosing a food. Keep these in mind and the best food will quickly rise to the top of the list.
Step 1: Be aware of the three main categories of pet food: grocery store, premium, and healthy. Pet foods sold by grocery stores and large retailers usually contain inexpensive ingredients that are lower-quality and less-digestible than the alternatives. Though these products are inexpensive, they are not the most nutritious for your cat. Premium foods sold by pet stores, grocery stores, and veterinarians add some higher-grade ingredients to the list but may still contain chemical preservatives and artificial flavors and colors.
Healthy foods are the market newcomers and feature the most nutritious and highest quality ingredients. Real meat is typically the primary source of protein and other ingredients include whole grains and fresh vegetables and fruits. Healthy foods do not have artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives and they use the best natural fatty acid sources and have additional minerals and vitamins. Though healthy foods typically cost more due to their higher quality, cats can often consume less since these foods are denser in nutrients.
Step 2: Consider the age and life stage of the cat. The food should contain ingredients designed for the age of your cat such as kitten, adult, or a senior.
Step 3: Assess the body condition of the feline because an underweight or overweight cat has different nutritional needs from a cat that has normal weight for its size. If necessary, choose a maintenance or weight control style of food.
Step 4: Take feline health history into account. If the cat has allergies, cancer, diabetes, or trouble digesting, select a food that is designed for the medical condition.
Step 5: Consider the preferences of your cat. Some felines prefer canned food or a combination of canned and dry food. No single food is considered best, say veterinarians.
Step 6: Ingredients are extremely important. Review the ingredient list and make sure the first ingredient is a high-quality protein source like eggs, fish, or meat. This is more complete and more easily digestible than vegetables. Amino acids like arginine and taurine and fatty acids like linoleic acid and arachidonic acid should also be on the list. A preformed type of Vitamin A is also important. This is only present in foods originating from an animal and may be listed as acetate or retinyl palmitate.
Step 7: Feed your cat the new food for one month and then conduct a health check. Coat should be shiny, eyes should be bright, and the cat should have a healthy level of energy.