What's The Best Food For Your Cat?

Health & Medical Blog

Walk through the cat food section of your local pet supply store and you'll pass row after row of dry food, followed by stacks of different cans of wet food. How do you know which is best for your cat? Cats aren't much help as they will likely eat whatever you put in front of them, with the exception of the occasional food that they'll try to cover up and walk away from. Your veterinarian can make recommendations based on nutritional benefits. But in the end, the best food will be the one your cat eats consistently. Here is the rundown on your food choices and how to settle on the right one for your cat.

What Matters Most to Your Cat

Cats need animal protein in their diet to survive. Your cat's body doesn't make some of the vitamins and amino acids that it needs, so it gets them from eating meat. Manufacturers add some of these to their foods, such as the amino acid taurine, because they are so important to your cat. The form the cat food takes is not as important as the amount of protein it contains.

Dry Food

These foods come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, all of which don't matter to your cat. What does matter is the amount of protein they get from the food. Look for dry foods that have animal protein listed in the first few ingredients on the label. Low quality foods will list fillers, like cornmeal and wheat, as the primary ingredients. The high-quality protein-rich foods will be more expensive, but your cat's body will digest them better and more fully. More of the food gets used for energy and less of it ends up in the litter box.

Chewing dry food can help remove plaque from your cat's teeth. If plaque is allowed to harden into tartar, your cat can develop dental problems such as gingivitis and tooth decay. Don't add water to the dry food as it will stick to their teeth. If you feed your cat dry food, always keep a bowl of fresh water next to it so your cat can drink as they eat.

Wet Food

Like dry foods, animal protein should be one of the main ingredients. High-quality wet foods will have less filler and some may even advertise that they are "grain free." Price is affected by this with the protein-rich foods being higher priced than foods full of fillers. In general, wet food is more expensive than dry, mainly due to higher manufacturing and packaging costs.

For some cats, wet food is easier for them to digest than dry. Older cats with slower digestion may prefer wet food. Some wet foods contain added vitamins that can't be added to the dry variety. Your vet may carry some of the specialty wet foods containing vitamins and minerals helpful to cats with certain medical conditions.

Choosing the Right Food

Your cat is just fine eating the same thing every day. Your goal is to find a protein-rich food that they will eat consistently. First try a high-quality dry food since they are slightly less expensive and more convenient for you. If your cat ignores the bowl and looks up at you as if saying "What are you trying to make me eat?" try a wet food. Sometimes, cats will ignore a food because of the color or flavor additives. If you have a picky eater, look for a food that is high protein with no additives and preservatives.

When you've found a food that your cat happily eats every day, you've found the best food for your cat. Talk to experts like West Lake Animal Hospital for more information.


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