As all cat owners know, a feline can be a wonderful addition to any
family. One of the most basic aspects of cat ownership is proper health
care for the cat. Health care for a cat encompasses a wide array of
vaccine shots, flea protection, vet visits, medications, and even proper
However, the most important aspect of cat health is also often
overlooked. People spend hundereds of hours and thousands of dollars over the
lifetime of a cat to keep it healthy, but most cat owners don’t pay
nearly enough attention to the proper cat food.
The right cat food is absolutely essential to a healthy, happy cat.
But what is the best cat food for your cat? While each cat will have
slightly different nutritional needs, there are some general rules that
must be considered when looking for cat food.
First of all, cats (like their human owners) need a high quality diet.
This means the best types of protein, fats, carbs, and the less
preservatives and chemical additives, the better. Most of the research
available online does not compare specific brands of cat food, as much as
specific ingredients to feed your cat, and which to stay away from!
Cats need a high protein diet. Wild cats are very carnivorous, and cats
derive a great deal of their nutritional needs from protein. House
cats, while not wild, still have many of the same nutritional needs as
their wild feline ancestors. So, the most important ingredient in any cat
food is protein.
Carbohydrates are also an important part of a cats diet, though not as
important as protein. Cats really should derive the majority of their
nutritional needs from protein, so cat foods that are high in
carbohydrates may not necessarily be the best for them.
Interestingly enough, many of the premium brands of cat food, such as
Eukanuba and Innova offer exactly what most cats need, and aren’t
necessarily more expensive in the long run. This is because high end cat
foods need a smaller serving amount than the low end cat foods to give a
cat all the nutrients they need to be satisfied and healthy.
When comparing a premium brand such as Eukanuba, to a lower cost brand
such as Purina, the cost difference for the recommended serving size is
only a nickel a day. Furthermore, because a cat will eat less of the
high end cat food, their waste will be reduced. This can cut down on the
frequency of litter replacement and litter box related chores.
Another aspect of cat food to be considered is the quality of the
protein in the food. Because of the way many pet food companies describe the
meat in the food, it can be difficult to figure out exactly what the
difference between “chicken flavored”, and “chicken dinner” is.
Food that contains “chicken meal” can only be made from the skin,
flesh, and bones only. This is really the best type of protein for a cat.
Food that has “meat byproducts” can contain nearly any animal parts, and
are of lower quality than “chicken meal”. Food that is “chicken
flavored” only has to taste like chicken, but may not contain any animal meat
at all. Also, chicken is generally better than beef for cats.
And it goes without saying, preservatives, as well as artificial
colors, should be avoided whenever possible. Although specific research is
lacking on this subject, we do know that preservatives and artificial
colors can have a negative impact on human health. It is only logical that
cats will also be negatively affected by artificial colors and
preservatives in their cat food.