Choosing the Right Cat Food

With so many choices available for cat food today, choosing the right brand for your Saint Lucie County feline can be a bit of a head scratcher. Kitty’s health will depend in large part upon her diet, so you do want to be sure to make informed choices. Unfortunately, the requirements for pet food labels are not as strict as they are for people food, so figuring out which food is best can be a bit of a challenge. Here are a few pointers.

Canned Food

Your kitty needs a lot of moisture in her diet. In the wild, cats live on small prey animals, which can be up to 70% water content. Many veterinarians now recommend canned food over dry food for this reason. Tuna is fine as a treat, but you don’t want to make it Kitty’s main food, as it won’t fill all of her nutritional needs. For more information on how diet affects your cat’s health and behavior, see the article ‘Your Cat’s Diet Can Influence His Behavior‘.

Dry Food

Dry food is fine as a supplement, but Kitty should have canned food as well. Kibbles are often overly processed, and can be high in filler content and carbohydrates, which felines don’t need. You wouldn’t find a cat eating wheat or potatoes, yet these ingredients are turning up and more as fillers.

What to look for

You’ll want to check the labels carefully. One thing that labels for pet and human foods have in common is that ingredients are listed by volume. You’ll want to choose a food with meat listed as the first ingredient, and in clearly identifiable, one-word terms; chicken, turkey, beef, etc. Meat meal is fine for the next thing on the list, and small amounts of veggies or rice are also acceptable in smaller amounts. Pay attention to the flavor descriptions. A food that says “chicken” will have more chicken than one which says “with chicken”, while something that says “chicken flavor” is only required to be 3 percent chicken.

What to avoid

Stay away from products which contain wheat, grain, potatoes, corn, or soy. By-products are also best left on the shelf, as these may contain things Kitty would naturally leave alone. Try to avoid foods with artificial color or flavoring.

If your kitty turns down the food in her dish, you likely won’t have much luck getting her to change her mind. Cats can be finicky, but often for good reason; they will ignore foods that smell even slightly off, and some cats simply won’t eat things Mother Nature didn’t intend them to eat.

Please check with your Saint Lucie County vet for recommendations on what to feed your feline friend.

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