You know that your diet impacts your own health, and your cat is no different! Feeding your cat the right food can help them stay active and happy, ward off many health problems, and help them live a longer life. But with that said, how do you choose from among the many brands of cat food available on the market? Does price matter?
The first thing to remember is that cats evolved as predators, and that means they need a diet high in animal protein. A food composed of about 50 percent protein, the right types of healthy fat, and relatively low in carbohydrates is best for your cat. Unfortunately, no, a vegetarian diet will not be healthy for a cat. The protein in your cat’s food should be derived from a high-quality source like duck, chicken, or turkey.
Keep in mind that moisture is important, too. Cats can vary in their water preferences, with some being more finicky about their water dish than others, but all need a food that includes some moisture in the formula. To help increase moisture, adding some canned food daily can be beneficial. This can be especially true for neutered male cats, who can be prone to bladder problems.
The age of your cat also matters. Kittens are the most active of all life stages, and of course they need a different mix of nutrients to support fast growth. Senior cats are less active, and need a formula lower in fat to prevent them from becoming overweight.
So what about those “all life stage” formulas? Depending upon their quality, those foods can often be appropriate for young and middle-aged adult cats who don’t otherwise have any health problems or special needs. But they’re usually not appropriate for kittens, nursing mothers, or senior kitties.
Yes, price sometimes matters. Many of the cheaper foods that you find at your local grocery store contain lower-quality ingredients and fillers that aren’t really appropriate for a healthy diet. Having said that, you don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune on your cat’s food either.
And of course, you want to offer your cat an occasional treat. If they don’t have any health problems or weight concerns, quality treats are usually appropriate.
Let’s discuss your cat’s diet at our next appointment, and we’ll help you choose a food that fits your pet’s nutritional needs and life stage.