Choosing a Healthy Cat Food
As all cat owners already know, having a cat in the family can be a wonderful, fun experience. One of the responsibilities of cat ownership is that of ensuring proper health care for your pet. Your cat will need a variety of things including vaccinations, flea and tick control, vet checkups, and sometimes medication.
One of the most overlooked aspects of cat health is also one of the most important. Many people don't realize that one of the most basic things you can do to help your cat stay healthy is to choose the best cat food for him. This really is an essential element in having a healthy and happy cat.
So, how do you know which cat food is the best? Every cat has different nutritional needs, but there are some basic rules you can follow when choosing food.
All cats should be given a high quality food. Like humans, they need protein, carbs and fats in their diet, while limiting chemical additives and preservatives as much as possible.
A high protein diet is absolutely vital if you want a healthy cat. Cats in the wild are naturally carnivores, and the majority of their nutritional needs are met from protein found in the meat they consume. Even though domesticated, pet cats still have the same nutritional needs as their wild counterparts, and since house cats aren't typically out hunting for their meals, it's important for you to provide the protein then need.
One thing that needs to be considered in choosing a food with high protein is the quality of the protein. We've all seen the advertisements and labels: "Tuna flavored" or "Delicious Chicken Dinner". But, what exactly does that mean?
Here we need to look at the nutritional label for the ingredients. Many foods use meat by-products, which can be nearly any part of the animal. They are lower in quality, and not as healthy for your cat. Look for products that contain chicken meal. In order to be classified as chicken meal, the product can only contain chicken skin, flesh and bones. It's by far the best source of protein for your cat. As an aside, chicken is a far better source of protein for cats than beef.
Foods that are labeled as "Tuna Flavored" or "Chicken Flavored" may actually not contain any meat at all. They simply have additives that make the food taste like meat. Again, always check the actual ingredients and don't go by what's printed on the front of the package. The front of the package may not tell the whole story.
Carbs are another important element of any cat's diet. While it's important, it isn't nearly as important in protein. Also, a high carbohydrate diet can actually lead to diabetes in cats, by making them insulin resistant, so cat foods that are high in carbohydrates and lacking in protein should be avoided.
There are several premium cat food brands on the market that include the necessary balance of protein and carbs, while also providing the fat that your cat needs in his diet. Eukanubais one such product. It provides the nutrition that cats need, and relatively speaking, isn't that much more expensive than cheaper brands.
I know what you're thinking, you've compared prices and the premium brands are really more expensive. I'd encourage you to take look at the label, specifically the recommended serving size. The premium brand serving sizes are usually less than the less expensive brands. So, you'll be feeding your cat less at a time, while giving him a higher quality meal.
I'd like to add that I'm not recommending or promoting Eukanuba food. I merely use it as an example of a good, quality cat food that most people are familiar with, or at least recognize the name. There are many excellent premium cat foods on the market, and you should take a look at several before making the best choice for your cat.
There is a side benefit to less food, as well. Less food means less waste. In other words, your cat won't be using the litter box as often if he's eating less food. This could equal a savings in replacing litter and boxes, as well as saving a little bit of time.
Finally, additives and preservatives are the same for cats, as for humans. Less is better. None is best. While it may not be possible to entirely avoid these ingredients, as much as possible, try to stay away from any chemical additives, colors or preservatives. While there isn't a lot of research in this area, when it comes to cats, we know that these ingredients aren't benficial for people, and it's more than likely that they're not helping our cats, either.
In summary, choosing your cat's food shouldn't be something you take lightly. Having a healthy, happy cat that will live for many years will largely depend on how well his health needs are taken care of. Choosing a better grade of food is one thing you can do right now to promote your cat's good health and his quality of life.