How to Choose the Best Cat Food for Optimal Health

Cat food should provide safe, nutritionally complete and balanced nourishment for their pet. Though occasional treats may be allowed, those containing avocado, chocolate or grapes should be limited and only given occasionally.

Owinging to their carnivorous diet, cats require a high protein diet in their food. When searching for pet foods that meet this need, look for ones with animal protein as their first ingredient and essential amino acids like leucine and lysine as well as taurine to round off their nutrition needs.


Protein is an essential nutrient in any diet and cats are no different. Being carnivorous creatures, cats require specific proteins like taurine and arachidonic acid found in meat-based products for proper nourishment.

When selecting cat food, ensure it contains the highest percentage of protein listed on its Guaranteed Analysis label. A great source of protein would be an identified meat like beef, turkey or chicken or an appropriate meat meal such as poultry meal or fish meal.

Avoid ingredients derived from plant sources like soy, corn and wheat as these tend to be more costly and contain less nutrition than their meat-sourced equivalents.

Search for ingredients with short ingredient lists that limit potential allergen exposure – for instance Stella & Chewy’s Duck Duck Goose Dinner Morsels contain only 98 percent duck and goose meat plus organs and bones so there is little risk of allergic reaction. Also look out for high-quality fats such as chicken fat, salmon oil or flaxseed as well as fiber from fruits or vegetables such as tomato pomace that helps promote firm and regular stool formation.


Cats are obligate carnivores and require nutrients like taurine and arachidonic acid that can only be found from animal sources, not plants. When selecting high-quality food, look for these nutrients near the top of the ingredient list as this indicates its quality.

Carbs should make up no more than 10% of your cat’s diet on a dry matter basis; unfortunately, most commercial food contains carbs to aid extrusion process.

Seek low-glycemic carbs from fruits and vegetables that digest slowly to maintain steady blood sugar levels, rather than those found in processed sugary foods and white rice that spike your glycemic index.

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Some pet parents opt to feed their cats raw food to maximize nutrition and digestive health, although many vets advise against making raw meals at home due to potential risks from bacteria contamination. A less risky alternative would be freeze-dried raw foods such as Instinct’s Primal Freeze Dried Raw Chicken or Stella & Chewy’s Chick Chick Chicken Dinner Morsels made with 98 percent cage-free chicken meat, organs and bone as well as certified organic vegetables and fruit for instance.


Felines are obligate carnivores, meaning that they must consume meat to get the essential nutrition that their bodies require. Protein provides essential building blocks and energy sources, while fat provides energy storage capacity and contains fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K that support skin and coat health.

High quality cat food will contain an appropriate balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates as well as meeting any life stage requirements for your feline companion. For instance, an older adult cat may benefit from selecting a recipe with lower calorie counts but higher protein levels.

When selecting dry or canned food for your feline companion, always read the ingredients list. Just as with human foods, items listed according to proportional weight. When searching for recipes with fresh meat as the first ingredient or concentrated meat meals as listed as ingredients – both will ensure sufficient animal-source protein to meet felines’ dietary requirements naturally.


When selecting high-quality cat food, it’s essential to take your cat’s preferences and health needs into consideration. Unspayed cats may require more calories than spayed pets, while cats with history of urinary tract disease should consider foods with moderate fiber amounts.

Foods containing various fiber sources – insoluble fiber like wheat bran, cellulose and psyllium) and soluble fiber like tomato pomace or chicory root extract can all provide different forms of relief by helping regulate water balance in your digestive system and thus avoid constipation and diarrhea.

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Keep in mind that ingredients are listed by weight, and that canned versus dry food will have more moisture. Aim for meat-rich food because most cats are obligate carnivores who require nutrients such as taurine and arachidonic acid only available from animal protein. If your pet appears overweight, consult with a veterinarian for specific dietary advice.


Cats need vitamins to stay healthy and prevent immune system disorders, vision problems, skin conditions, and premature aging. Antioxidants help combat free radicals which damage cells. For optimal vitamin supplementation in cats, high-quality commercial food specifically formulated to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for cats or animal feeding trials should provide them with essential dietary needs.

Common vitamins include Niacin (vitamin B3) for nerve function and blood circulation; Biotin for hair, skin, and nails; and Vitamin A to keep eyes and skin healthy. As Vitamin A is fat-soluble, it’s stored in liver fat cells rather than being excreted through urine like water-soluble vitamins do.

Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, are an essential nutrient for cats. They help build and maintain muscles, bones, blood vessels, organs and skin and coat. Since cats are carnivorous by nature, amino acid sources such as taurine and arachidonic acid must only come from animal protein sources to provide all their needs.


To stay at their optimal best, cats need a healthy balance of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids in their diets. Most of these nutrients come from animal proteins and fats found in high-quality commercially prepared cat food; since cats are carnivorous creatures that prefer eating meat over plant matter.

Minerals can come from plant or animal sources (bone meal is one example). Some chelated minerals may make them easier for the body to absorb; any food endorsed by the Association of American Feed Control Officials must provide all of these essential nutrients without needing additional supplementation.

Idealy, minimally processed raw foods should provide cats and kittens with their necessary vitamin requirements naturally through using whole ingredients like chicken and fish. AAFCO standards also set minimum requirements for various minerals in their diet such as phosphorus which aids bone development in kittens.