Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they require high amounts of protein and moderate levels of fat in their diets, along with various vitamins and minerals such as taurine and arachidonic acid.
PetMD reports that these nutrients can be found primarily in animal proteins. Plant-based proteins provide carbohydrates; however, carnivorous pets cannot digest them as easily.
1. Look for High-Protein Ingredients
An adequate intake of proteins is vital for cats’ overall health and wellbeing, with their bodies breaking down proteins into amino acids that serve multiple important purposes such as muscle growth, reproduction, metabolism and immunity. Amino acids also play an essential role in maintaining healthy skin and coat; because cats are carnivorous creatures they must obtain essential amino acids like taurine, arginine and arachidonic acid from animal sources (not plant sources).
As opposed to plant-based sources of protein, meat-based sources of protein in cat food should be prioritized over vegetable sources of protein. When reviewing a cat food product, make sure that meat, meat meal or fish is listed among its first three ingredients; liver or lung samples also make excellent sources of concentrated nutrients.
Check for AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) on pet food labels to ensure it provides adequate nutrition and meets feline dietary needs. AAFCO stands for Association of American Feed Control Officials and is the only government regulator that conducts rigorous nutrition analysis testing of pet foods to make sure they meet their nutritional claims.
If you are searching for high protein food for your kitten, Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Turkey & Chicken Liver Pate canned kitten formula may be just what you need. Packed with protein and boasting DHA to promote eye and brain development, as well as top quality natural ingredients without carrageenan use, this canned food makes an excellent option.
2. Check the Ingredients List
Though choosing foods with lower carbohydrates and grains may be important, it is more essential to look at the food’s ingredients list for an accurate representation of what is being fed to your cat. Being carnivorous animals themselves, cats require ample amounts of protein, fats and some carbohydrates for healthy lives.
Food labels with chicken, salmon or turkey listed as their first ingredients are an indicator of highly nutritious options, while foods containing meat by-products tend to have lower nutrient density levels. Fillers like wheat gluten or corn meal aren’t great choices because their low nutritional values shouldn’t form the cornerstone of any diet plan.
Keep an eye out for pet foods without chemicals or preservatives that have been linked to certain forms of cancer as well as health concerns for animals.
Probiotics like Enterococcus Faecium and Lactobacillus Acidophilus provide beneficial bacteria for your cat’s digestive system. You should also look for food containing taurine, an amino acid that cats cannot produce naturally but deficiency can lead to retinal degeneration and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). All dry pet food should contain taurine but some natural foods also include it.
3. Read the Label
When selecting the optimal cat food, it’s essential to look beyond fad diet trends and consider ingredients instead. Furthermore, make sure it fits with the life stage of your feline friend by checking the packaging; quality foods meet nutritional standards set forth by AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials).
Many pet parents are concerned with carbohydrates in pet food and seek grain-free or lower carb options for their cats, yet it’s essential to revisit ingredients lists when searching for low-carb options marketed as such – even products marketed as low-carb may still contain substantial levels of carbohydrates derived from vegetables and fruit sources. It is also essential to remember that carbohydrates provide essential energy sources and should be part of a well-rounded diet for cats if processed appropriately.
Finally, it’s essential to check the Guaranteed Analysis on each package. This provides a snapshot of all of the nutrients present and shows their percentage presence within a product; but be wary that some nutrients are measured crudely; thus not taking into account issues like digestibility.
Always look out for taurine, an amino acid found primarily in meat proteins that is essential to cat health including their eyesight, heart function and more.
4. Talk to Your Vet
Talking with your veterinarian about what diet your cat requires is invaluable in making informed choices for his or her unique needs, age and any health conditions they have. Furthermore, your vet will show you how to conduct a body condition analysis that can identify whether they are overweight, underweight or at their ideal weight.
Your vet can assist in choosing between dry food and wet food for your feline friend, as well as selecting both options or mixing the two together. Remember that wet food contains higher concentrations of proteins, fats and carbohydrates than its dry counterpart; so it is crucial that you select an option with an optimal mix of essential nutrients that fits their specific dietary requirements.
Find nutritious pet food options at your local Petbarn store or consult with a Pawp Professional to determine what will work best. Be sure to carefully read through the ingredient list, checking that there are no potentially toxic components like avocado, chocolate or grapes as these could prove fatal to cats.
Talking to your veterinarian before choosing a home-cooked recipe is also crucial. Although some owners claim success with homemade diets, these may not contain sufficient quantities and proportions of nutrients for supporting the health of your cat. Furthermore, home-grown or store-bought ingredients used may alter nutritional levels; the pet owner could even compromise them through cooking habits or their personal dietary choices.