WHAT SHOULD MY CAT EAT?
Are you wondering about what is the best food for your cat?
Before answering this question there is some information you need to know.
Cats are obligate carnivorous
This means that between the three groups of eaters in the animal kingdom ( herbivorous, carnivorous, and omnivores) cats are meat eaters and they need exclusively meat to satisfy their needs.
In meat they can find the vitamins and fatty acids they require to be healthy. They have a huge biological need for niacin, taurine and vitamin A. All of them can be found in meat sources.
Cats are hunters, meaning that when in outdoor environments they chase and eat their prey fresh. They have four front canine teeth that help them clutch and chew the flesh, and their strong jaw is very effective when ripping the meat from the prey’s bone.
Of course this does not mean that you will give fresh meat to your domesticated cat. Don't do that, because it can bring diseases due to some bacterias present in flesh, for example toxoplasmosis.
Their digestive system is not prepared to assimilate carbohydrates, such as bread, most cereals, sugars or pasta, so avoid to give your pet foods that contain carbohydrates and privilege the ones with the most amount of protein.
Even if cats can eat most vegetables , preferably steamed ( excepting avocado, wild mushrooms, rhubarb, onion, garlic, shallots and scallions which can be toxic or even poisonous if consumed in big amounts) , their bodies are prepared to an exclusively meat-based diet.
Vegetables as broccoli, chopped carrots, lettuce, peas or spinach can be consumed in moderate amounts and provide them some fiber and water, which favors digestion.
You can also give cooked chicken breast to your cat or feed them with some salmon or small amounts of tuna fish. However, canned or wet food sold in shops is more complete and fulfill more the needs of our four legs pals.
IS IT BETTER TO GIVE MY CAT DRY OR WET FOOD?
Both options are valid and the ideal according with most breeders would be mixing both, giving one to two portions of wet food per day and one or two of dry food ( with a total of three to four meals per day).
Dry food is practical in terms of storage and according to some vets is better for the teeth of your feline. It will keep their teeth clean and with reduced chances of having Caries or inflammation in their gums. However, dry food contains more carbohydrates than wet food, so in this point if consumed exclusively it can lead to obesity problems or digestion issues.
Wet food is higher in nutrients and has less carbs which favours your cat’s health. Moreover it is humid and helps to keep your pet hydrated. This reduces the possibility of renal problems . The cons are in the fact that you cannot leave it on the plate for several hours, due to bacteria, and also on the price (canned food is usually more expensive than dry food).
Our Maine Coon Gus devours wet food but he is not fond of dry food, so we tried to mix some dry food in the same plate and meal, together with the wet food. However, the vet told us it is not the best option. This way dry food won’t “clean” his teeth and also the food could be less durable.
WHAT ARE THE BEST FOOD TRADES FOR CATS IN THE MARKET?
Now that you know more about your feline, I’ll tell you something : always look carefully to the packaging label of the food you are buying .
Have the following aspects in consideration :
- The biggest amount of protein in cat food, the best it is (the ideal is more than 30 per cent, otherwise your cat won't feel satiated and will ask to eat more). If you have a Maine Coon like me the ideal is to give them food with more than 50 or 60 per cent of proteins. They are big cats and these gentle giants need extra food, if compared with other “normal sized” cats.
- See what are the sources of the protein in the packaging label. Cat food producers who care about your animal health are honest and should make a detailed description of what are the ingredients contained in the product you are buying .
- If most of the protein contained in the package label comes from milk or fat don’t buy it. Kittens food contain sometimes goat milk but adult cats can be intolerant to lactose and that is not a good food source for your grown feline. Also, even if cat’s body is prepared to digest fat, the most meat and less fat a food has the best for them. Even if fat is necessary it should not exceed the 20-24 per cent in a package. It can avoid future health and obesity problems .
- Labels as PREMIERE, PEDIGREE or GO GREEN are many times marketing tricks to make you think that food is the best and then you can make a wrong choice without noticing. Again, always read the package labels first. Don't be fooled by producers who just want to make profits without paying attention to your pet.
- Avoid products with sugar or cereals. Cat’s body is not prepared to digest sugar and some cereals. Remember that cereals have carbs.
To give you a better perception of what I just said, let's have a look at different labels and see which ones are good or not.
Let's start with the label below. I underlined what I thought could be interesting to see.
This trade and package , made specifically for kittens and “growing cats” uses the word PREMIERE.
Even if is not bad, the label is not totally transparent. It uses the word “poultry” instead of being more specific using words like chicken, turkey, or other kind of meat sources( we just know that four percent is chicken but we are not told from which “poultries” the other parts come from ).
We are told in a beginning that the percentage of meat and animal components is high (57%) but when we read more carefully we find that only 14% is fresh meat. The other animal components come from fats or milk.
Potato starch and rice have carbs which could be avoided and replaced for other different ingredients .
We can conclude that even if the quality is not so bad and has also fatty acids (in a small percentage) vitamin A and taurine, the title PREMIERE does not reflect the quality and transparency it should have.
Let's have a look in another dry food for kittens :
Here the description is more detailed and the amount of protein is bigger when compared with the first one (85%, with around 60 percent being real animal protein). It does have rice even if does not specify which is the amount and has a bigger amount of vitamins and taurin if compared with the first product.
WHAT ARE THE BEST FOOD TRADES?
There are many food trades out there. Some with no quality at all, with many carbs and sugar and others with a reasonable or good quality.
However, if you thrive for excellence I would recommend two:
LEONARDO - it has a good selection of ingredients and a big amount of protein (more than 80%). Low in carbs and with no added sugars, Leonardo uses seeds and other ingredients that keep your cat healthy and satisfied. Our Maine Coon, Gus, loves it, in particular the wet food.
ZIWI - this trade is even higher in proteins (more than 90%), very natural ingredients and it thrives for his excellence.
The only disadvantage I found in these two food trades was the price (but quality has it's price).
If you want to share your ideas about this subject, we are all ears!