Five Secrets for the Very
Best Cat Food
by: Fred Ege
There is a significant difference between dog and cat food even though their may appear to look the same. Cats need a much higher amount of protein and fat than dogs do. Also, cats have different needs than dogs, so don't feed your cat dog food, or your dog cat food. Remember, Cats are primarily carnivores and need plenty of meat in their diet. Here is what to look for when you are deciding what to feed your furry friends.
Avoid Cat Food Fillers
Cats need to eat food that is rich in protein, so make sure the amount of fillers is kept to a minimum. Carbohydrate rich food is not good for your cat, so don't buy cat food that is full of them. Instead, read the labels and buy a cat food that is not filled with fillers and other by products. Even when a cat food is high in protein, it doesn't mean that the protein comes from a meat source. Avoid those blends which contain a lot of wheat or rice, and look for a meat source as the first ingredient.
Cats Need Protein
Your cat food should always be rich in protein. The protein should come from a meat source such as poultry or fish, and should be the first ingredient. Many cat food brands advertise chicken, beef, and tuna flavored cat food because they know that cats need protein and cat owners are looking for quality cat food. However, you need to make sure the cat food you buy has a sufficient amount of protein regardless of what flavor it is. Also, some will list chicken as the first ingredient, however, when it is listed as "chicken" this means raw meat. Approximately 70% of it is water, so when it is cooked with the other ingredients, chicken will probably really be the 5th to 7th ingredient.
Look for Taurine content
Check the cat food you buy for an amino acid called taurine. This amino acid is very important in your cat's overall health, and your cat will eat as much food as it has to in order to supplement this particular amino acid. So, if you are buying cheap cat food that does not have the proper nutrients your cat will eat a lot in order to get the nutrients it needs. If you buy a nutrient rich cat food then your cat will eat less and save you more money while still getting proper nutrition, and probably not gaining a lot of weight either. Look for taurine on the ingredient label.
Canned or Dry Cat Food?
Cats should be fed a mixture of both dry and canned food. The dry cat food should be given for free feeding. Canned cat food should be use as a supplement at meal time because it has extra water in the food. Look for canned cat food that has a high amount of protein from a meat source. You can mix and match with dry and canned cat food as long as they have a high nutrient density. Cats should always have access to water, and you should consider having an extra bowl of water always available.
Cats are subject to FUS, crystals that can cause urinary tract disease and pain. Feline formulas should be carefully designed to reduce or eliminate this problem through low magnesium and low ash, correct pH levels and high digestibility. Look at the percentage of magnesium and ash on the label of what you are feeding your cat. You can also play a major role in controlling this problem by always having fresh water available. Cats drink and store water differently from dogs. They store body water in highly concentrated urine. High concentrations can lead to crystal formation. In our work with cat owners, we find there are several ways to enhance water intake to reduce problems:
- Always keep fresh water readily available, 24 hours a day.
- Place food and water dishes several feet apart and feed and water in a quiet area.
- Place a second water dish close to your cat's favorite spot.
- Feed canned cat food (to provide additional moisture content) for one of the meals.
- Leave dry kibble available at all times.
Cats will nibble/feed between 10-20 times throughout the day and night. Eating over an extended time also allows for continuous water intake to balance the food intake.
Here's what to look for:
- High protein and high fat content.
- Meat as the first ingredient.
- Avoid those blends which contain a lot of wheat or rice fillers.
- High Taurine content.
- Low Magnesium and low ash content.
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