To briefly answer the question as to which is the right cat food, we have to consider the quality of the available feeds. With significant consideration for individual feline requirements, this can quite vary widely due to health and living conditions. An indoor-only senior cat with diabetes or an older cat with arthritis has different nutritional needs than a new kitten, for example.
There is specific food that cats require, such as animal-source protein, along with a variety of minerals and vitamins, which all commercial cat feed must have. The difference between brands, then, lies in the ingredients and the quality.
Choosing the Right Cat Food
Start With The Ingredient List
The first five on the list constitute the most significant volume of what’s in the product. If you see grains listed first, such as corn, wheat or soy, the food will be harder for the cat to digest.
You may see a lot of vomiting and possibly large amounts of waste in the litter box. If the food is “just going right through them,” they are not getting sufficient nourishment, and they will eat more and more often.
Cats have a short and very efficient digestive track. It makes it possible to digest protein dense food efficiently. Adding fillers such as grains slows the process and denies the animal the full benefit of the nutrients in the dry food.
It’s also worthwhile to note that many cats do not chew dry food, and instead, swallow it whole further lowering any food value.
Canned Or Dry?
Because grains are used to help maintain the shape of the kibbles, fewer grains are needed for canned food, if any. Many people feel this is better for their cats. In many ways, it is.
The lesser the grain content, the better the digestibility. However, some canned foods may be lower in overall protein if they contain too much water. It’s natural for a cat to obtain much of its moisture from eating fresh prey, but if the percentage is too high, say, over 80 percent as is found in some canned foods, they may not get what they need.
Another consideration is how the dry food was made. Typically, meat and meat byproducts, along with a certain amount of other “mystery ingredients” are cooked at the very high heat. This ruptures fat cells making it necessary to prevent rancidity by adding chemical preservatives. These should be listed on the package, too, and may include BHA, BHT, potassium sorbate, calcium sorbate, propylene glycol or sorbic acid.
If you can’t pronounce it, it’s probably not a natural ingredient. Once cooked, the “mash” is forced through small openings at high pressure to form the kibble shapes. Since all that heat and pressure can destroy most of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals are usually added in during the final stages of production. This is done to ensure that the required nutritional value for cat food is reached.
It is most common that the cheaper the food, the lower the quality of ingredients usually found in it. You can probably blame this for your cat having one or more health problems during its shortened life.
For your cat to a have an enjoyable healthy and long life as your special companion, be sure to provide the right cat food you can find.