How to Choose the Best Cat Food for Optimal Health

How to Choose the Best Cat Food for Optimal Health

A nutritious cat food should include proteins and essential fatty acids to build strong muscles and bones, carbohydrates for energy, fiber for digestion aid and vitamins and minerals for overall wellness. Phosphorus is essential for bone development but too much phosphate can contribute to kidney disease in cats.


Protein is an essential nutrient for cat health, providing energy and supporting muscle development. Furthermore, it contributes to maintaining bones, skin, blood, organs and coat health as well as immune health. Amino acids found in proteins provide energy through digestion as amino acids are broken down to produce energy for digestion purposes and energy provision for your cat.

Cats are obligate carnivores and require high protein diets that include taurine, arachidonic acid and other important nutrients only found in meat sources. To identify a high protein food for cats, read its ingredient list closely – look out for animal proteins like beef, chicken, fish or lamb that appear early on the list.

High-protein cat food comes in both wet and dry formulas and may include raw, cooked or dehydrated ingredients – the key is making sure it provides adequate levels of proteins and amino acids, according to Swiniarski.


Fat is essential in the formation of hormones, helps cats feel satisfied after meals and facilitates absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Furthermore, fat provides a barrier against bacteria and viruses.

As such, it’s crucial that you select high-quality food with fat listed as one of the first ingredients, in order to prevent selecting food low in quality fat that may contribute to obesity in your pet.

Protein sources in cat food should come primarily from animal sources like meat. Cats are obligate carnivores who require essential nutrients like taurine and arachidonic acid that can only be found through eating meat.

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Check the ingredient list to identify its source of meat protein as well as type of fat used, for instance “chicken fat” or “animal fat”, rather than corn oil, palm oil or sunflower oil. Semi-moist and canned food options tend to have more moisture content as well as meat-like textures that cater more directly to cats’ species-appropriateness.


Cats are obligate carnivores and require a steady diet of animal proteins in order to remain healthy. Animal proteins provide important sources of taurine and arachidonic acid which are vital components for cat nutrition.

Canned foods tend to contain less carbohydrates than dry food, emulating more closely the natural prey of cats. But high quality dry food marketed as complete and balanced will contain all necessary ratios of proteins, fats and carbohydrates that meet a cat’s nutritional requirements.

Carbs provide digestible energy sources for cats but excessive intake may inhibit liver enzyme production that converts glucose to useable energy. Thankfully, high quality complete and balanced pet foods typically do not pose health risks to felines; some pets with digestive abnormalities may have difficulty tolerating certain carbohydrates however.


A cat’s diet should include plenty of fiber to promote digestive health and help minimize hairball formation. Fiber also aids in reaching and maintaining an ideal body weight.

Choose food with sufficient protein content when feeding your cat, as they are obligate carnivores with stomachs designed to digest only animal proteins. Without adequate meat sources of protein, your cat could develop taurine deficiency which could lead to blindness and heart failure due to dilated cardiomyopathy as well as not receiving enough arginine (which could potentially cause seizures).

Look for food that provides a balanced amount of proteins, fats and carbohydrates with vitamins, minerals and fiber for your pet. One way to know whether a food meets nutritional standards is by reading its label; look out for signs like AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements or Veterinary Formulation claims on its packaging that indicate this food has been tailored specifically to meet the requirements of your pet’s diet.

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Cats need both macro and trace minerals for healthy development, nerve and muscle function, thyroid regulation, blood sugar regulation and skin and coat maintenance. Cats have proven adept at breaking down carbohydrates for energy sources that fuel their active lifestyles.

Food with too little minerals could pose health issues for your cat. You should never add supplements without first consulting your vet.

Minimally processed foods typically satisfy vitamin requirements through natural means, using whole ingredients like chicken, meats and fish as sources. Unfortunately, many dry foods also rely on synthetic vitamins to supplement an inadequate diet with natural ones. Minerals such as iron and copper help support red blood cells’ healthy functions while supporting immune system immunity; Phosphorus supports bone health through protein synthesis, cell growth and nervous system function; while omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids play key roles in maintaining good cardiovascular and coat health.


Cats need various essential vitamins to support their overall health and wellness. Most cats need trace amounts of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K); however water-soluble vitamins C and B should also play an essential role in feline nutrition.

Good quality cat food should provide the proper balance of these nutrients and include sources of amino acids (LA; AA; DHA and EPA). Furthermore, an exceptional diet should contain omega-3 fatty acids for maintaining cellular membrane health as well as linoleic acid to support skin and coat health.

Dietary needs for cats vary depending on age, lifestyle and any health conditions they may have. Discussing this matter with your veterinarian is an ideal starting point to select appropriate food.