Have you recently got a pet kitten, but it’s your first time having a cat, and you are not sure what are the healthiest options of the cat food? Have no worries, we will try our best to give you some guidelines on how to choose the right type of food for your new pet.
If you know cats, then you know they are quite stubborn and will do their best to provoke you in giving them more food they like. They can eat as much as you provide, but are also very picky – refusing to eat what you gave them, patiently waiting until you feel sorry for them enough to drag out their favorite food from the stash. Arm yourself with patience and determination. They have to learn who’s the boss.
Another thing you want to know about cat food is that it can be solid and wet. Solid cat food is of course dry, and for that reason very easy to handle and store. Once you’ve opened the bag, you can use it for some time without the risk of it getting spoiled. Wet food is all those pates that look freshly prepared and moisty. They might be challenging for storing, if you buy them in bigger cans you use multiple times, but the fact they contain a significant amount of water is good for your pet’s hydration. You can find out more here about the types and advantages of feeding your cat wet food.
Consider these when buying cat food:
1. The age of your cat
Before choosing the type of food, it is useful to know that the recommended feeding schedule of a cat depends on their age. Kittens, until they become adults (approximately a year old) should be fed twice a day. From adulthood until they turn senior, cats should be fed once a day. Food for the kittens is usually given to them until they are a year old, but your vet might suggest switching to adult food formula earlier.
Adult cats are of course given the adult formula until they are seven, which is the usual age when they enter seniorhood and start eating food formulas for senior cats.
You can visit here for the best cat foods for kittens and the best cat foods for older cats. This leads us to the next thing to consider.
With that said, the reality is the health and well-being of your cat as it gets older depends more on the type of food you’re feeding it. While there are formulas for kittens to help them grow and seniors as they get older; it’s much more important to focus on quality.
Naturally, cats would eat pretty much the same diet from kitten-hood to adult-hood. In the wild, they would eat pretty much anything they can get their paws on. So focus on high-quality food sources like wet, freeze-dried, and raw that are more biologically appropriate than kibble.
You can also look at the best cat foods for kittens and the best cat foods for older cats. This leads us to the next thing to consider.
2. Cat food ingredients
As most animals do, cats’ main nutrition needs are proteins (best from fish or poultry) combined with enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids. The most important amino acid for a cat to consume regularly is taurine. Water is also essential, which is why it is important to feed them wet food, aside from having a freshwater source next to the feeding pot.
Carbohydrates are not a necessity for cats, but most cat food contains carbohydrates derived from corn and rice, to serve as filler. The easiest way to know you are choosing the right type of food to follow the labels on the food products. The majority of food ingredients in the product are written in the first three rows on the label, so this should be enough to recognize whether your cat needs it or not. Since the proteins are the most important given the fact cats are carnivores, these three rows will tell you all you need to know about the meat source.
Aside from protein sources, the food should contain “the good ingredients” such as probiotics, eggs, plant source fiber, yucca, taurine, linoleic acid, also vegetables, and fruits such as sweet potato, cranberries, and so on. Avoid buying cat food that contains gluten (corn and wheat) or beef tallow, if it’s not good for humans, it not good for cats.
3. How active is your cat?
Depending on their age, their activity varies. As it is the case with all the kids, kittens tend to be much more active than adults. They spend much energy on playing and as we mentioned and are fed twice for this reason. Even though it is impossible to judge with 100% correctness, but female cats are more active during their life than males. Regardless of age, they like to pretend they are hunting and play daily. Male on the other hand can get quite lazy. You choose their food ale based on where you keep them. If they are adults, house cats, they can develop obesity eating normal adult food, so choose lower-fat food. If they go outdoors, you need not worry. Calories are important to avoid health conditions.
4. Health-related issues
Besides already mentioned obesity, the most frequent health issue cats suffer from are related to kidneys and urinary system and hairballs. For this reason, cat food has different formulas. We already mentioned the ingredients cat food should contain, so choosing a formula that contains cranberries will help with the urinary and kidney issues. It’s normal for a cat to cough hairballs, but if it’s too frequent try using food with hairball formula. Cats can also develop food allergies and it causes them to be sensitive to common ingredients found in cat food. Buying a formula with fewer ingredients and protein sources from sweet potatoes and green peas will help.
5. The price
Feeding your cat with quality ingredients is also a matter of budget. Ask yourself how much can spend and then see how you can balance your budget and the quality of the food. In most cases it is as with all the food – the higher the price, the better quality. But if you are having budget challenges then simply follow the advice about the ingredients – be aware of the good ingredients and choose a cheaper version of food, containing more good ingredients.
Be aware that just as humans, cats should eat a variety of food, so you will make no mistake if you combine wet and dry food from time to time. Using other products for strengthening teeth, for example, will add up to your cat’s overall health and will add to variety as well. In any case, spending time with your pet cat and monitoring its behavior and physical appearance will tell you a lot about its health condition and direct you to correct feeding.