With all the brands lining up the store aisles for different things for cats and cat’s products, many cat owners spend a good time choosing from these brands. Are you lost for choice every time you are at the store trying to buy some cat food? What is better, canned or kibble? Which flavor is best? Will the cat prefer red or brown food color? Remember cats are carnivores, and their bodies are built to get most of their nutrition from meat. Here are some tips to help you pick the right nutrition for your cat.
Cat nutrition essentials
Unlike humans, cats do not need carbohydrates, which means they have little use for grain products. A cat’s nutrition needs include:
- Proteins – This comes from the meat
- Vitamins and minerals
- Taurine – This is an essential amino acid that helps cats digest flesh
Cats can get the bulk of their proteins from the meat while minerals and vitamins come from crushing bones. Some cat products have added grain as filler, but it is of little nutritional value to your cat.
Look beyond the fancy labels
Marketers will have fancy labels like organic, humanistic, human-grade and so on. The only thing you need to know is how the cat food has been handled and processed. If there are no chemicals and additives involved, the food is safe enough.
If you are looking for cat food that helps maintain a healthy weight for the cat, go for labeling showing “reduced”, “light” or “low-calorie.” This labeling is allowed for products that meet a limit of specified calories.
Even by-products are good
Most of the cat food in the past was made from by-products of the slaughtering process. This includes unwanted kidney, tongue, heart, liver, and intestine parts, that are not palatable for many people. Just because these by-products are not good enough for humans does not mean they are bad for your cat. They have the protein, minerals, and vitamins that your cat needs.
Raw isn’t necessarily better
Cats are used to eating raw flesh, and their bodies are made for it. However, they will get as much nutrition from cooked meat just as they would from raw food. Cooked cat food is better in that it is safer to handle for you, as harmful bacteria have been killed off in the cooking process.
Natural preservatives are better
Cheap synthetic preservatives such as ethoxyquin, BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are commonly used in cat food. When not used in the correct amounts, they are toxic. Look out for products with natural preservatives like Vitamin C (ascorbic acid).