We already discussed how a vegan diet might not be the best idea for your cat to consume. But what would be the healthiest food to feed my cat? Well, it’s quite simple, really.
The healthiest food to feed my cat
You first must know the necessary nutrients a cat needs. Cats are obligate carnivores, and here is what you should know about their diet.
If your cat’s diet contains all the necessary nutrients, then it already is the healthiest food you can offer for your pet. Take a look at wild cats or other related species; not much has changed in their diet regardless of their domesticity since they are hunters.
The healthiest food should always contain meat. Dogs are more of an exception to this since they are omnivorous. Cats evolved as hunters consuming high amounts of protein, moderate amounts of fat, a minimal amount of carbohydrates, and more than a dozen other nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids(1).
Though they need certain amounts of each specific nutrient to stay healthy, more is not necessarily better. Cats can suffer from overdoses of vitamins and minerals. You shouldn’t use supplements if you are feeding your cat a balanced and complete diet(2).
If you decide to use supplements, you should always consult with the veterinarian first. In regards to water, make sure your cat always has access to it, and the water is clean and fresh at all times(3).
In regards to nutrients, your cat’s food should provide things like vitamins A and B12, taurine, proteins, and arachidonic acid. Lacking any of these components could lead to serious medical issues over time. They ensure that your cat’s health is optimal.
Types of Food
When it comes to commercial cat food, there are three formulated variants: dry, semi-moist, and canned. These products all differ in water content, protein level, caloric density, palatability, and digestibility (4).
Dry Cat Food – This type of food contains between 6 to 10% water. Depending on the specific formulation, a mixture of different ingredients is combined, extruded, and dried into bite-sized pieces.
This variant is relatively inexpensive, and it doesn’t dry out. Dry food is, however, less palatable than moist or semi-moist food, and depending on the ingredients, less digestible. These products should be stored in a cool, dry location; they can last for months.
Semi-moist Cat Food – This product is made up primarily from meat and meat by-products, which contain around 35% water. There are other ingredients such as soybean meal, cereals, grain by-products, and preservatives that are added in the final product. This type of food is generally mid-range in regards to price. It may be more appealing for cats than dry food.
Canned Cat Food – It has a moisture content of at least 75%, making it an excellent dietary source of water. It is often the most expensive type of food, but highly palatable for most cats.
Many variants are available and they all have the longest shelf life when unopened. Some of them may be nutritionally incomplete, and as such, it is essential to read the nutrition labels carefully.
Did you know?
– We all love to give our cat some treats; however, a good rule of thumb is not to let gifts exceed 10 to 15 % of a cat’s daily caloric intake.
– Cats can be quite choosy about where they eat. Heavy-traffic areas, noise, the presence of other animals, dirty containers, or nearby litter boxes can deter a cat from eating.
– Obesity is the most common nutrition-related problem in cats. They are susceptible to a myriad of health problems because of this, such as arthritis and diabetes. Be considerate and responsible!