Cats are carnivores animals, hence; their food habits are quite different than other animals and even human beings. In fact, cats enjoy eating lots of meat from which they get protein and fat. If human beings ate the same food as cats from birth, we would get heart disease by the time we reach 20 years.
Even dog food is not good for cats since it is loaded with carbohydrates, which felines cannot digest easily. So how will you determine which is the best food for your cat? The very first thing that needs to be understood is that there is no single diet that can be labeled as best for every cat.
Since each and every cat is different it becomes very difficult to select the cat food that is best for your feline. But there is nothing to worry as there can be certain specifics that can assist you in selecting the best cat food for your feline:
Comprehend the special nutritional needs of your feline
It is very important to understand that cats have special nutritional needs. Cats require more of proteins in their diet. They also need different amino acids akin to taurine and arginine and fatty acids in the vein of arachidonic acid and linoleic acid. Cats need Vitamin A inherent only in foods of animal origin and may include an ingredient like retinyl palmitate. Ensure that the food that you select for your feline is specifically for cats.
The cat’s present age needs to be taken into consideration
Ensure that the food that you select for your felines is according to their present age. So if you feed a kitten cat food, then she will not get the right amount of proteins, vitamins, minerals and calories that is requisite for their overall growth. Conversely, if you feed an adult cat kitten food they will become overweight since they do not remain as active as kittens throughout the day. Similarly a senior cat requires senior cat food that is low in terms of calories and can be easily digested. When you are taking into consideration the nutritional aspect of the diet one size does not fit all cats.
Opting for the food type for Cats
There are lots of questions in the minds of cat owners as whether they should opt for dry food, semi-moist or canned food for their felines. The answer to this question is that it is contingent on the needs of the specific feline and their present health status. So when you are in confusion about the type of food that you need to opt for your feline it is best to consult your veterinarian as they would be in a great position to suggest the type of food that can be given to your kitten or adult cat.
Have a close look at the ingredients
It is imperative to give high quality food to your felines and that can be done by seeing the type of food ingredients present in the diet. There are different types of brands available in the market with economy brands being one of them. Remember that these brands technically meet the requirements of proteins, fats, carbohydrates etc in the food but they are very low in terms of energy values and consist of lower grade proteins.
There are certain health-building nutrients that may pass through your cat’s system without being absorbed. Hence, you need to feed larger quantity of lower quality food to the cat to ensure that they get the same nutrient as a smaller portion of premium food. Hence, if you look at the prices before purchasing cat food it is important to note the actual cost of economy foods will be much higher in the long run.
Always look at the product labels and scrutinize the ingredients in accordance of weight. So the first thing that needs to be checked is whether meat, fish, eggs or some other types of meat meal or fish meal is the first or second ingredient. Remember that since meat, fish and eggs have a high biological value they have high percentage of protein in the form of digestible, usable amino acids.
Evaluate the Guaranteed Analysis on the back of the product
Guaranteed Analysis is a chart which comprises of percentage of different ingredients present in the food. But the numbers enumerated in the Guaranteed Analysis are on an “as fed” basis and are not based on the moisture present in the food. Remember all pet foods have a different array of moisture wherein canned food has a maximum of 80% and dry food has 6%. To get a fair idea about the actual amount of ingredient present in the cat food you need to compare between dry and wet foods.
Scrutinize the AAFCO statement
To acquire quality feline food it is important to compare the DM ingredient with the nutrition chart like the Association of American Feed Control Officials Cat Food Nutrients Profiles. If the cat food has been labelled as “complete and balanced” it must meet the standards established by AAFCO either by meeting a nutritional profile or by passing a feeding trial.
When you have done the comparison and selected the best feline food it is important to give appropriate time to your feline to transit from current food to the new one. It has been observed that cats digest their food with the assistance of bacteria present in their intestine. If you make any prompt changes to the diet, there can be a number of changes in the bacteria types and their numbers which can make it very difficult for the cats to digest the food leading to an intestinal upset.
To avoid this problem, it is suggested to switch the new food slowly over a period of 7-10 days. You can assimilate 25% of the new food with 75% of old food. This can be done for approximately 3 days and then if the cat gets acquainted with it, then slowly make it 50% of the new and old food for 3 days and then 75% new and 25% old for the next 3 days. By then your feline would be ready to accept the new food. If you face any problems, consult with your veterinarian.