Is it important to learn how to choose the right food for your cat? The answer is a resounding yes! It is important for your cat’s health and overall well-being and happiness. So, how do you go about choosing the right food for your cat? There are a lot of factors to consider.
Consider the Needs of Your Cat When Choosing Food
How old is your cat? Depending on his age, his nutritional needs will be different.
Kittens are more active than adult or older cats and therefore need more calories in their diet. Also, they are developing and growing so they need a diet that is high in protein and fat so they can build healthy bones and teeth.
As cats grow into adults, their caloric needs will change since they aren’t as active and are no longer growing and developing. You will want to monitor the caloric intake so that your cat does not become overweight as an adult.
Older cats will need proteins that are easier to digest, and because they are more sedentary, their diet should be lower in fat as well.
#2 Nutritional Requirements
Cats are different from dogs in that they need much more protein than dogs do. Their food should be high in animal-based protein and low on plant-based ingredients. Cats do not tolerate grains as dogs do, so their diet needs to be grain free. Also, cats do best with a diet low in carbohydrates.
According to the catsite.com, a cat’s natural diet contains the following:
- 72-78% moisture content
- 63% protein
- 23% fat
- 2.8% carbohydrates
Different Types of Food Choices for Your Cat
There are many choices of food available for your cat and all of them have their pros and cons.
#1 Dry Food
Dry food is easy to use and typically costs less than all other forms of cat food. However, there are a lot of cons to using strictly dry food for your cat. Sometimes, the savings in food may translate into higher costs in health care for your cat later on in life.
Some of the cons of dry food are
- It is highly processed and typically very high in carbohydrates
- Dry food oftentimes has non-meat sources of protein which cats do not tolerate well
- Kibble is very dehydrating for your cat because of the low moisture content
#2 Wet Food
Wet foods have a lot more moisture in them and this helps to keep cats from getting dehydrated. Cats often do not drink enough water and end up developing kidney and urinary tract issues. Therefore, having a food high in moisture content helps to alleviate that problem.
Canned foods also have a lower level of carbohydrates.
Some of the disadvantages of using canned food are
- It is typically more expensive than dry food
- It can go bad if left out for more than a few hours
- Some cats do not enjoy the refrigerated leftovers
#3 Raw Frozen or Freeze Dried Food
Raw food is the closest to a species-appropriate diet for your cat and has many advantages. It is minimally processed and contains natural ingredients. Cats eat less and therefore maintain better weight control. It can also be cheaper than canned food, but, like canned food, it provides a high moisture content. It also contains less carbohydrates than both canned and dry food.
One of the disadvantages of raw food is that it has to be thawed before eating and it cannot be left out for long periods of time. However, with good planning and scheduled feedings, it can be easily adapted to the cat’s lifestyle (and yours!)
How to Choose the Right Food for Your Cat
The best way to choose the right food for your cat is to put all of the information above together.
- Consider your cat’s age
- Evaluate your cat’s nutritional needs based on his age and based on a ca’ts nutritional requirements
- Weight the cost – remember to consider both present costs (how much the actual food costs) but also future costs (costs you will incur caring for your cat’s health and well-being)
What do you feed your cat?