How to Choose the Best Cat Food for Optimal Health

Cats, being obligate carnivores, rely on protein from meat for survival – this includes its byproducts such as liver and heart as well as whole proteins found in poultry, fish and lean deli meats.

Minimally processed food sources typically meet vitamin requirements through natural sources and nutrient-rich ingredients, while cats should avoid carbohydrates as these may aggravate digestive issues and increase the likelihood of hairball formation.


Cats are carnivorous by nature, necessitating high levels of protein in their food for essential vitamins and minerals like taurine and arachidonic acid, both which are only readily available from animal sources.

These nutrients provide energy and essential amino acids, essential to building muscles, organs, blood and skin while providing energy. Amino acids also form part of a cat’s daily diet as they support bodily processes.

To ensure your feline receives enough protein, search for foods containing meat or byproducts of meat first. Any products which include unknown sources or roadkill could potentially be toxic and should be avoided altogether.

Canned and dry formulas offer different levels of protein depending on the ingredients they contain, so to select an appropriate option for your cat it is important to read labels carefully and select products made with animal sources like chicken, salmon or beef. Keep in mind that canned foods usually contain more water than dry food which could increase protein per serving levels per can; however many canned recipes are packed full of extra nutritional boosts and may have more fat than other varieties.


Fat is essential in helping cats feel satisfied after each meal, supporting absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and creating a barrier against bacteria and viruses. Look for animal sources of fat like chicken or fish for best results.

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As strict carnivores, cats need protein-rich food sources such as animal proteins such as taurine and arachidonic acid derived exclusively from animal sources. Furthermore, cats should receive adequate levels of minerals like calcium, phosphorous, iron magnesium sodium in their diet to promote strong bones muscles and teeth.

Check the food label to look for protein sources early in its ingredients list, such as “dinner, entree or formula.” Additionally, steer clear of products labeled with words like “byproducts,” which do not meet AAFCO standards and may contain fillers such as synthetic vitamins or fillers; opt instead for foods listing whole and specific proteins, like chicken livers or lungs as options.


Fiber is an essential part of cat nutrition. It can help prevent constipation and support healthy digestive function while aiding the cat’s absorption of essential vitamins and minerals from food sources like whole grains, legumes and vegetables.

An excellent cat food should contain plenty of dietary fiber. But be wary when selecting one with too much fiber: too much can impair digestion as well as interfere with absorption of key nutrients like protein.

One way to help avoid this situation is to select foods with a lower-glycemic index, like ingredients that are gentle on the digestive tract such as marrow bones, sweet potatoes and peas. Furthermore, dehydrated food products often undergo minimal processing using lower heat methods.

Vitamins & Minerals

The optimal cat food will contain sufficient vitamins and minerals for optimal health. Look for food containing all the essential vitamins such as A and riboflavin as well as minerals like calcium chloride iron magnesium phosphorus potassium sodium.

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Make sure that the food also includes sufficient amounts of fats, energy-rich nutrients that help reduce inflammation and maintain skin, coat, and joint health. Fats also play an essential role in transmitting nerve impulses and controlling metabolism.

Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they require taurine and arachidonic acid from animal protein sources if they want adequate supplies of these essential vitamins. A diet consisting of at least 70% animal proteins will ensure adequate amounts of these vital elements.

Minimally processed foods should meet the vitamin needs of healthy cats; however, if you are concerned that your cat might not be getting all of their necessary vitamins and nutrients from food alone, speak to your veterinarian about providing high-quality nutritional supplements specifically designed for cats. However, as such supplements can be costly, only add them as recommended by a veterinarian.


Store-bought pet foods tend to sit for months on warehouse or supermarket shelves before they make it out, often becoming highly processed with preservatives and lacking essential vitamins and nutrients. Luckily, subscription services now offer fresh food directly delivered right to your door!

These recipes are typically AAFCO-approved for your cat’s life stage and contain high-quality meats (such as chicken thighs, hearts, liver and wild Alaska Pacific cod) along with other nutritious ingredients like vegetables and fruits. Some versions also come in minced or pate textures that make eating easier for cats.

Raw cat food offers more natural nutrition for cats than dry or cooked kibble, and digests much easier. Most raw meals are prepared by nutritional specialists in a sanitary environment to eliminate potential bacteria contamination risks. Some brands even offer single protein freeze-dried treats and toppers which add flavor and nutrition while providing hairball control or immunity support.