Ultimate Cat Food Guide – Step By Step Guide Before Buying Cat Food
A few months back, we rescued an abandoned cat from the busy street. The cat was rescued in such condition that one of her legs was broken and she was very lean and skinny because of not having the right food. So, we gave her proper treatment with some shots of antibiotics. Along with this, we served her adequate amount and appropriate quality of cat food that she enjoyed a lot.
She started recovering. We gave her a cute name, ”Browny” since she is brown. Jenny and Jack my pet felines has accepted Browny as their best friend. Within two weeks, Browny started running and jumping all over the home with Jack and Jenny. We found her a very playful and naughty cat.
You must be thinking why I am telling you all these?
Well, I want you to guess what makes her recovery so fast.
So, what do you think what recover her quickly?
Proper care ???.....umm to some extent it is.
But actually, it all happened because of cat food that we were serving her with love and care. At that time of her life, she needs the best cat food that not only satisfied her hunger level but also provides her with proper nutrition and enhances her immune system. And that’s the primary reason behind her quick recovery.
Because the poor quality of cat food suppresses the immune system of a cat, along with some severe allergic reaction. Which we couldn’t afford at that time. We need to recover her so that she enjoys her rest of the life.
After her so quick and fast recovery because of high protein low carb cat food that she has been served. I decided to share some useful information about cat food that will be helpful for you and your feline. Because we love them, they deserve the best cat food.
There are so many things that you need to keep in mind while buying any cat food. And I m pretty sure that you do not have much time to read each and everything on the box of cat food at the store.
Moreover, there are tons of cat food brands in the market that makes it hard to decide which one is best and which one is wrong.
Here comes the survival!
This article will be beneficial for you. It will be providing you information about cat food, what kind of cat food you should choose, what factors you should keep in mind while shopping for your kitty and everything about food for your kitties.
If you really want your kitties to be healthy and fit like Jenny, Jack and my rescue, Browny. Then call your feline and cuddle her while reading this whole article.
Things You Need To Know About Cat Food
So let’s start with the fundamental information that you need to know about cat food. Obviously, it’s the food that has to be consumed by the cats. Like hoo-man(human), cats also want some delicious taste in their diet, which appeal them and they completely clean their bowls.
In addition to this, cat food has a specific specification that you need to know for the sake of your fur ball’s health. Otherwise, your fur ball may suffer!
You must be aware of this that cats are true carnivores and hence required meat in their diet, which means that they want protein for healthy living.
Talking about my cats’ squad (Jenny, jack and Browny), they love meat and enjoy it as if its party going on. On the other hand, if I served them anything other than meat, like, I remember once I was short of cat food, so I served them, a bowl of milk with bread pieces dipped into it. None of them like it. They just taste it and then leave it as it is. This is because they want some high-fat high protein cat food.
From that day onwards, I always keep extra stock of cat food at home.
You will be surprised to know that there are certain amino acids (unit of protein) and vitamins that cats are unable to synthesize in their body. Like taurine and arginine (amino acid) and vitamin A. These three components are immensely crucial in cat’s diet. We have to give that cat food that should have these three components. Otherwise, get ready for some drastic results.
Why I am saying this because,
Long-term taurine deficiency may result in retinal degeneration, loss of vision and even cardiac arrest. So make sure you are giving best cat food to your feline that has an appropriate amount of taurine, arginine and Vitamin A.
Best Diet For Your Fur Ball
You must be thinking that “do I only have to give taurine, arginine and Vitamin A.”
A big no to your question
You have to give them a proper diet that should have an adequate amount of everything. Everything that is essential for their good health and wellness.
Relax. I am telling you in percentages of each and every nutrients that have to be the part of her diet.
Here you go!
Ideally, your feline’s diet should have more than 50 % of calories of protein. And that protein should be of animal based, not plant-based protein. Furthermore, it should have 20-40% of calories of fats and 1-2% of calories of low carbohydrate. In addition to this, adequate water should also be a part of their diet.
Well, the best diet for your cat is the one that replicates what she would eat in the wild. If you notice this, if a cat is hunting mice, she will be fulfilling all her nutritional requirements that are the part of her diet, which I just mentioned. High protein, high fat and low carbohydrate!
But of course, how will you serve mice and rodents in every meal?
That’s nearly impossible.
That’s why; cat foods are available in the market to fulfill the daily nutritional requirement of your kitty. You can easily find high-fat high protein or even low carb cat food.
What Could Be The Worst Diet For Your Cat?
• Your cat will no longer survive if you feed her worst diet that is high carbohydrate/ high fats and deficient proteins.
My dear cat parent, don’t be scared. It’s better to be cautious before time.
Remember this, 22 essential amino acids are required by the cats to stay healthy, and unfortunately, these pussycats can be synthesized only 11 of them. So the rest of them will be covered from their diet. Meaning, you have to give your fur balls a food rich in protein, so that they can cover rest 11 amino acid.
• Secondly, many manufacturers used plant-based protein in preparing cat food that is very dangerous for the health of cats. They are using it because it’s inexpensive, but that could have life-threatening outcomes.
The reason behind this is felines have a short digestive system as compare to hoo-mans. Because felines do not have to break down the tough cellulose found in plants, so if you feed them plant-based high protein cat food, it will result in several problems related to digestion.
If you care for your meows, then avoid giving worst cat food and give them a high quality of commercial cat food and make them feel, that you love them.
Types Of Commercial Cat Food
Commercially there are two kinds of cat food available in the market which I am going to explain later on. These are
1. Dry Cat Food
Of course, the food that has very less amount of moisture content is called dry food. It has only 8-10% o moisture content, and it shapes like small kibbles. Most of the pet owners keep high protein low carb dry food in their pet dish so that their kitty eats whenever she has a mood to munch something.
- Water Content too low:
Cats need an adequate amount of water in their diet. If they do not get enough water, it will result in severe urinary tract infection and can cause serious kidney problems. Cats on long term dry food diet can become chronically dehydrated and may lead to even kidney failure. So it’s better to keep a bowl filled with water near their plates. So that she may stay hydrated, according to Purina, if you feed your dry cat food, she should drink approximately one cup of water for every ten pounds of body weight in 24 hours. In warm weather, she’ll need even more.
- Carbohydrate load is too high:
The best diet for a cat should have fewer amounts of carbohydrates. But dry food has a very high number of carbohydrates. Cats can survive with only 1-2 % carbohydrates also. They do not need it in much amount. There are many consequences of feeding them high carb diet. The first one is, dry food leaves carbohydrates residue in the cat’s mouth that encourages the growth of tartar and plague. The second one is dry food rich in carbohydrates may cause your furball obese and make them prone to diabetes mellitus, which is a life-threatening condition. It is also because of the free choice feeding of dry cat food which gives cats 24 hours access to food.
- Types of Protein:
Dry food mainly uses plant-based protein which is not good for the health of your kitty.
Certain cat parents feed dry food to their kitties entirely. I would say, you are shortening their life span by serving them food with less moisture content. A few months ago, I treated a cat with kidney infections, and it was in very worst condition. On further investigation, it was revealed that he used to consume dry cat food 24 hours.
It doesn’t mean that dry cat food is the worst choice. I am not at all saying this. You can feed this, but it would be very much better if you feed low carb dry food.
- Is More Economical.
- Is convenient because you can leave it out and it doesn’t spoil as easily.
- Is energy dense, meaning a cat can consume lots of calories quickly.
2. Wet Cat Food
Wet foods are the one that has high moisture content nearly about 70-80%. All wet cat food brands are available in aluminum or steel cans. They have a high-fat high protein content, hence meets the daily requirement of any adult feline.
It’s better to take your fur ball to regular dental checkup to avoid gingivitis.
High amount of water: All wet food contains an appropriate amount of water which is crucial for the health of urinary tract of felines. Furthermore, high water content of wet food makes it suitable for neutered male cats.
High level of proteins: All wet cat food have adequate amount of animal based protein
Ideal for cat’s weight loss or maintenance: The high water content of wet cat food makes it perfect for your cat’s weight loss or maintenance. Water will help your pet feel full.
If you ask me what should I give to my cat's either wet or dry food. I would say a combination of both.
Well, I always recommend people to serve both kinds of food to your cat. That is high protein low carb wet cat food and low carb dry cat food.
Keep a dry food dispenser at a place where your cat can reach easily so that she may munch it whenever she wants. It’s like a snack for her. Whereas, on her meal time serve her best-wet cat food. Don’t forget to keep a bowl of fresh and clean water.
This is how your cute little kitty will have both types of cat food in her diet and will stay hydrated and fresh.
What to Choose?
But what if, you can’t afford both kinds of food and want to serve your cat either dry food or wet cat food?
So my dear fellows, I am sharing a quick guide that helps you to choose between dry food and wet food.
Does Taste Of Cat Food Matters?
I always took this lightly that taste of cat food matters to the cat. If they do not like the taste of their food they reject it clearly.
I realized it a few years back when I observed that my adult male cat Jack, is a picky eater. He wants a small amount of food, but it should be tasty. And then I realized that, yes they have taste buds like a human.
Human has 12 times more taste buds than felines. Cats have around 470 taste buds whereas we have 9000 taste bud. So it doesn’t mean at all that cats have a weak sense of taste. Just like their strong sense of smell, they have a strong sense of flavor too.
You will be surprised to know that cats can detect four different flavors that are bitter, savory/meaty(umami flavor), salty and sour. They do not have a sweet tooth.
The acid receptor is there in cats to protect them from consuming any bitter, poisonous substance that harms them.
From that day onwards, I start observing my cat family and came to know their likes and dislikes about food.
Being a cat parent, what contented me most is, when my felines finish their plates. They do so only when they like the taste of their food.
This makes me satisfied that if I get busy somewhere and couldn’t get free before their next feed time. They will not feel hungry.
Does The Smell Of Cat Food Matters?
The worst problem that I face was in winters when Jenny got cold and fever. It was very severe that her nose was blocked entirely. I was giving her home treatment. I served her favorite wet cat food brand, but she refuses to eat it. In fact, she did not show any interest.
I was so worried that she is not having her meal properly how will she recover. I tried feeding her different varieties of wet cat food and dry cat food brand. But she again refused. Still, I couldn’t figure out the reason behind her refusal.
Then suddenly I remember, “Oh Man! Her nose is blocked”. That’s the point where the shoe pinches!
She has Anosmia that is because of cold.
Well, Anosmia is a term used to indicate loss of sense of smell.
The sense of smell is extremely important for cats. Since they have very few receptors on their tongue. So it’s the smell of the food that stimulates her sense of hunger. So it is believed that their heightened sense of smell assists a lot in their appetite.
So this is the cardinal reason why cats with a respiratory infection or nasal blockage stop eating.
If felines can’t smell their food, they won’t get hungry. No matter you are serving them their best cat food, but they will not show any interest.
Does The Shape And Texture Of Cat Food Matters?
Cats are attracted by not only the taste and aroma of food but also by the texture and shape of cat food. Cats can be very particular about the shape and size of dry food kibbles and also prefer good food that has an appropriate taste because different breeds of cats pick up their food differently with their tongue.
In wet food, usually feline prefer soft food over hard food.
In contrast to this, in dry food cats prefer large pieces over crumbs.
It has also been observed that cats are also attracted by the shape of their kibble type food. Many cats show more interest in low carb dry cat food when shape vary from day to day or week to week. Shape and size can impact many things like
• Dental health: It is essential that the cat’s teeth penetrate the kibble so that a 'brushing effect can be achieved. This may help to reduce plaque, which can lead to tartar and encourages good oral health.
• Digestion: The more a cat has to chew the kibble, the slower the ingestion speed, which can aid in digestion.
Furthermore, you will be surprised to know that “mouth feels” matter a lot for a cat. It means the ease with which they are able to pick up the food and the way it feels in their mouths. This is the key to finding your cat’s favorite wet food texture.
There are different types of texture that you can find in best wet cat food.
Some of them are:
What About By-Products And Grains?
Let me first tell you what is mean by by- product and grains!
Talking about grains, it is the foundation of many cat foods that are available in the market. Grains mean corn, rice, and wheat. These ingredients are easier to produce and hence become the foundation of any cheaper cat food to fulfill the requirement of carbohydrates. Grains give a tough time to these innocent creatures. Sometimes they suffer from an allergic reaction and some face difficulty in digesting them. Because cats aren’t designed to consume carbohydrates as they lack salivary enzyme “amylase that breaks down carbohydrate into its smaller units in the oral cavity of cats. That’s why cats face a tough time in digesting carbohydrates.
On the other hand, By-products are the left over from an animal once it has been used for a primary purpose. By-product includes everything like bone, organs, head and many other products like this.
Well, there has been a long debate about the presence of by-products in cat food.
We are keeping both opinions in front of you. And leave this option upon you to choose either you should go for cat food with by-products for your cat or cat food without by-products.
It will be your choice totally!
Cat food with By-Products
Let’s start with the opinion that favors the presence of by-product in the cat food.
Usually, the feral cats when caught any prey like mouse or bird. They leave its feathers only. The whole animal is in the tummy of cats.
Now those parts or by-products that you will discard if you cut the bird or mouse, such as organs, heads, tails, has been consumed by the cat completely.
But you don’t have to worry about it.
Prey is full of protein.
Your cat took a high protein cat food in her meal.
So summarizing my statement, if a cat consumed cat food along with by-products, it would be very much beneficial for her. This is the way feline will have more nutrients than any straight meal. Like in chicken by-product you can get a right amount of Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Zinc, Copper, and several other essential nutrients.
In short cat foods with by products are the great choice. But make sure the label should have “named by product”.
Cat food without By-Products
Let’s talk about another school of thought that says that cat foods along with by-products are not at all a good option.
The reason behind this many manufacturers claims to use unnamed by-product in their cat food. Which means the source from where they obtained by product is either unknown, or they don’t want to disclose it to the pet parents.
This is quite suspicious. I mean what kind of source they are using that they need to hide it from the pet owners.
So I would recommend you to choose cat food with named by-product. At least you should be aware of what by-product source they are using to feed your fur balls.
Rest,Decision will be yours!
Right Amount To Feed Your Cats
How much to feed depends upon your cat’s lifestyle and body condition. Every cat is different from another cat. The most important point to ponder over while feeding cat is to give them enough to maintain healthy body condition,
You know what according to a survey in the USA, about 58% of the cats in the USA are overweight.
So this means you should feed your cat in such a way that helps her in maintaining a healthy weight.
Because there are lots and lots of problem associated with overweight cats, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure.
According to the Animal Medical Center in New York, a healthy, active 8-pound adult cat requires about 30 calories per pound per day. So, the average 8-pound cat needs about 240 calories per day.
Typically, dry cat food brand contains about 300 calories per cup, and canned food contains about 250 calories in each 6 oz can. (or, 125 per 3-ounce can). Using these counts as a guide, an 8-pound cat would need 4/5 of a cup of dry food or just less than a full 6-oz can (or two 3-ounce cans) of wet food per day. You can adjust the proportions based on whether your cat prefers more or less dry or wet food.
How often to feed?
You must be thinking with what frequency you should feed your cats.
Do you have to go for meal feeding or free feeding?
Meal feeding is actually feeding cat on specific time of the days.
Like you feed your cat in morning and in the evening. This way you can monitor food intake closely.
In contrast to this free feeding is, when you give your cat free access to food. This way she will have many small meals per day. But remember, for free feeding high protein low carb dry food will be served only.
Well, I usually follow combination of both types for my cat family with plenty of water supplies.
But if you find meal feeding convenient you can go for it.
But remember, frequency of meal greatly depends upon the age and health of cat.
• Kittens require more food per pound of body weight to support their growth than do adult cats and therefore should be fed more often throughout the day.
According to the American College of Veterinary Nutrition,
“Growing kittens up to six months of age may require three meals a day, and from age six months to maturity, most cats will do well when fed two times a day."
•Talking about the health of the cat, the health of your feline matters a lot,
In case if she has diabetes, you may need to feed him based on whenever he is administered insulin. On the other hand, if your cat has hyperthyroidism, he will want to eat all the time.
So it’s better to feed her keeping in mind her age and health.
How do we rate best cat food?
I love feline, and I always want to do best for them — not only for my cat family but also the other cats in the world.
I decided to write reviews about each cat food brand and give its rates.
By doing so, I will be helping other pet parents and their cats too.
First I review some cat food brands that are considered best cat food brands by their manufacturer.
I usually do review on the basis of:
- AAFCO Rating
- Ingredient list
- Macronutrient profiles (Guaranteed Analysis, Dry-Matter Basis, and Caloric Basis)
- Price along price per pound
- Calories per 100 grams
- Whether meat is the first ingredient
- How each food compares to the average of all foods on a macronutrient basis
- Whether the recipe uses more than 4 controversial ingredients
After reviewing above attributes in any cat food brand I start giving them rates on a star scale of 1-5.
This is how I usually give them stars
- Sequence of ingredient list matters a lot as mention earlier. So if meat is the first option in food ingredients then I am going to give 1 point
- Presence of named by product will get 1 more point
- Protein level of food, if its above average then I am going to give it 1 more point
- 1 point will be given to those recipes that contain fewer than 4 controversial ingredients.
- Last point will be given to some extras in the cat food like carbohydrate content, probiotics, added vitamins and mineral.
This is how we reviewed and rate best cat food brands on fair and neutral basis, so that you may save your time and choose from our reviewed and rated products.
How to Buy the Best Cat food?
If you a new cat parent and going to buy the commercial cat food for the very first time then the first and foremost thing you have to do is “READ THE LABEL”.
A rule of thumb: in the label all the ingredients are listed in order by weight.
So ideally the protein source should be the first listed ingredients, which is then followed by a secondary protein source. After that, fat should be there. And then comes carbohydrate filler, oil, preservatives, added vitamin, and minerals as well as taurine
Beside this, make sure that the cat food should have
- More meat, less grain in the top five ingredients.
- No corn, wheat or soy as a carbohydrate source
- Human grade ingredients (very few brands offer)
Reject the cat food if it has:
- Corn and wheat gluten
- grain meals and unnamed by-products
- BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)- preservative
- BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) – preservative
- Food Dyes (Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5 and 6, 4-MIE)
- Rendered fat
Since BHA and BHT are carcinogenic. According to California’s office of environmental health BHA is one of the known carcinogens and reproductive toxins that is responsible for kidney failure
These food dyes are responsible to cause hypersensitivity in animals.
Rendered animal fat provides flavour enhancement for kibble and is a source of microorganisms (Salmonella, etc.) and toxins (heavy metals, etc.) If moisture penetrates a dry food bag, then harmful bacteria and mould can flourish.
Where to Buy Best Cat Food?
Markets are loaded with tons of cat food brands that you don’t know what quality they are offering. Same goes in virtual markets. Nowadays it’s better to buy everything online. You search the product, study about it and at the same moment hit the buy button. So it’s become quite convenient to buy online now.
But it’s still a hard decision to make which food to choose for your lovelies fur balls, especially when you are a first-time cat parent. You may find multitudes of deceiving cat food brands that not only harm your kitty but also waste your time and energy.
I would suggest you to do in depth research before selecting any cat food brand
With your busy schedule I know its become nearly impossible for you to take out time and searched about different cat foods commercial brands, study them and then decide.
Phewww….. It’s a very long process
But here is a glad tiding for you!
We have compiled a list of best cat food after doing extensive and thorough research about different cheap and expensive cat food brands, its ingredient, its composition and even about the manufacturer.
Everything that you need to know about the brand of commercial cat food. We have gathered it for the sake of your ease at this website, which will have some affiliate links of Amazon.
Isn't it the best part that you are going to purchase at the same time from Amazon? A trusted website! Yes, it is, take a look at our range of best cat food and selects the best one for your kitty from the world’s trusted website.
Cats are the most beautiful and cute little creatures. That needs love and care. The best way to show them, love, is by giving them the high-end quality of cat food that keeps them healthy and fit.
As a cat parent, I will advise you to be very cautious about cat food. I don’t want you guys to repeat what mistakes I made while taking care of felines. They are living beings and want food that is not only of top-notch quality but should also have taste and proper nutrients.
Be very careful while choosing any commercial food for the cat because the food is the only thing that is in direct contact with the cat. Her overall health depends upon the food that you are serving. If you have served them inappropriate food, they will suffer a lot and obviously, it will going to hurt you.
It’s better to give them the best cat food and make them see growing, playing and running.
That’s indeed, a wonderful feeling!
So it’s mandatory to choose the best cat food for your pussycats.
For the love of kitties, I have shared the main essential buying guide that you should follow while buying a cat.
Moreover, different brands of cat foods have also been reviewed which will be very helpful for you in choosing the right cat food.
Give those furballs your love, care, and best cat food!