What you feed your cat is important. It will affect your cat’s health, and the right food can help increase your pet’s life span. There are several types of cat food, and the informative tips included in this guide can help you make a smart decision for your pet’s health and your wallet.
How to choose cat food
One of the first things to consider is the age of your cat. Adult cats and kittens have different nutritional requirements. Kitten food generally contains higher amounts of vitamins and minerals, along with necessary fats and proteins needed for healthy growth and development. The packaging should list which life stage the cat food is intended for.
The ingredients used in cat food should be carefully considered to ensure your feline friend is getting the nutrition it needs. The ingredients are listed by weight, and the main one should be high in protein. Turkey, chicken or tuna are the most common, and you want to see at least one of these listed in the top three ingredients.
You also want to watch out for ingredients that are listed as “flavored”, which means that the food only contains the taste and is not an actual source of protein. This can be common in some of the lower priced cat foods which might seem budget friendly, but can adversely affect the health of your pet.
There is also “grain free” cat food which might be beneficial if your feline suffers from allergies, but it is important to remember that the missing ingredients are also an excellent source of carbohydrates which cats use to turn into energy.
Dry vs. Wet Cat Food
Some cat owners prefer feeding their felines dry kibble, while others use wet or moist pet food. There are several advantages and disadvantages associated with both types, and the best one for a cat often depends on the individual pet and its owner.
Dry Cat Food
There are several varieties of dry cat food for all stages of your pet’s life, including some that are specially formulated for indoor and outdoor animals. Outdoor cats often have different nutritional needs, and dry food can help ensure your pet stays healthy, active and happy. Dry food is also less expensive, and can be left sitting all day in your cat’s bowl without spoiling.
The downside of dry cat food includes its low moisture content, which can lead to dehydration and other health problems. It also contains a lower amount of protein, and its higher carbohydrate content can cause cats to burn off more calories than it consumes.
Wet/Moist Cat Food
Some cat food comes in a light gravy, while others are simply moist chunks of food. The right type of wet cat food will usually depend on the preference of your pet. Wet cat food has a higher moisture content which can help prevent dehydration, along with common kidney and urinary track problems. It also contains more protein and fewer carbohydrates, which will help cats develop important muscles and maintain a healthy weight.
Some of the cons associated with wet cat food includes it higher price, and the fact that it will spoil if left out. This requires owners to ensure their cat finishes all of the food before they walk away to prevent their pet from becoming sick later on. Most pet owners recommend implementing a set feeding schedule if you are going to give your cat wet food.
Specialty Cat Food
You can also find several types of specialty cat foods designed to meet specific health needs. This can include whether the cat lives indoors or outside, along with help controlling hairballs and calming sensitive skin. There are also cat foods for pets that are overweight or have stomach and digestion issues. Before choosing a specialty cat food it is important to talk to your vet to ensure all of your pet’s nutritional needs are being met.
The type of cat food you use will help you determine a feeding schedule that works for you and your pet. Since wet food can’t be left out for long periods of time, it is best to have a set schedule in place. This also helps with weight control, and will make it easier to give your cat any medication it might require. If you are using dry cat food it is not always necessary to have a set feeding schedule, though it is important to keep portion size under control to prevent your pet from overeating and becoming obese.