Choosing the right cat food for your pet can be a daunting task for a lot of cat owners.
With so many different brands and types of cat food on the market, it is no wonder cat owners are finding it tough to choose the right one for their pets.
However, if you want your cat to grow up happy and healthy, getting the right cat food for your cat is a must.
In this guide, we will talk about commercial cat food in detail and help you better understand how to choose the right cat food for your pet.
- History Of Commerical Cat Food
- What Your Cat Needs In Order To Have A Balance Diet
- Types Of Cat Food
- Cat Food Standards
- Cat Food Brands
- How To Choose Cat Food
- Transitioning Your Cat To A New Cat Food
- Best Cat Food
- Issues With Commercial Cat Food
History Of Commercial Cat Food
Before commercial cat foods are invented, domestic cats live on a diet consisting of table scraps and whatever food or prey they could find. In 1860, a certain James Spratt, an electrician and salesman from Ohio invented the first commercial food for domestic dogs.
This dog food which was made from a mixture of beef blood, beet root, vegetables and wheat. It was in the form of a biscuit and was produced in England at that time.
It seemed the first commercial cat food was created by James Spratt as well. An old advertisement from 1876 shows Spratt’s Patent Cat Food with the following statement “Entirely supersedes the unwholesome practice of feeding on boiled horse flesh; keeps cats in perfect health.” It seemed likely the first commercial cat food was invented around this period of time.
Spratt brought his commercial pet food back to the US in 1895. Other companies started to take note of Spratt’s ideas and began making commercial pet foods as well. Thus, the idea of buying commercial pet food for pets started to take root in people’s minds.
However, commercial cat and dog food were still considered a form of luxury at that time. It wasn’t until 1920s that commercial pet food started getting more popular. The pet food industry also started to expand with the introduction of the first canned cat food. At that time, the pet food industry was still not regulated and that meant that anything could be sold as pet food by unscrupulous companies.
Due to the circumstances of World War II, the pet food industry was completed changed overnight. As resources are limited, raw materials are being diverted to essential industries to support the war. Metal, which was used for pet food cans was not readily available. People had less to eat as food was rationed and that leaded to nonexistent or lesser table scraps. Processed food, which was initially meant as combat rations for soldiers, slowly made their way into homes. Thus, dry pet food became more popular than ever.
After World War II, as the economy recovered and grow faster than ever, pet food started going mainstream as it became more affordable to the masses. Also, due to the flourishing economy, there were a lot of food wastage.
Pet food companies were quick to start profiting from these excessive food waste. As the pet food industry was still unregulated at that time, these food waste was reprocessed into pet food. Pet food at that time can contain anything imaginable, from deceased livestock, seafood and even roadkill. Most cat food at that time was made of fish.
In recent years, people began to take a greater concern and interest in the ingredients in pet food. As a result, the industry became regulated by the FDA and Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). However, many regulations are still unclear and it is up to individual states to enforce them.
Commercial cat food was found to be lacking in essential nutrients such as taurine in the 1980s. This discovery led to more research into the nutritional needs of cats. The cat food industry was thus forced to make the necessary adjustments to adhere to the nutritional needs of cats.
In 2007, there was a massive pet food scandal that led to huge recalls of pet food. A number of pet foods were found to be sickening and killing cats and dogs. Contaminants were found in various proteins imported into the United States from China and used as ingredients in pet food. Later, it was found that the contamination was caused by melamine in affected pet foods. A number of big pet food companies were affected and in total over 5000 pet food products have been recalled.
Moving forward, the desire for fresh, human-grade ingredients leads to a surge in interest in homemade pet foods. Many cat owners are now starting to make their own cat food for their beloved cats.
What Your Cat Needs In Order To Have A Balance Diet
It is no secret cats can be picky eaters. Their eating habits and preferences for certain food are formed early in life, during the first year. Once their eating habits are formed, it can be very difficult to change their minds. However, if you know how to approach it correctly, you can get your cat to eat right from the start. Otherwise, it will be more difficult to get your cat to transition to a new cat food once they are settled on the old diet.
Cats In The Wild
To understand what constitutes a proper diet for your pet, you have to look at cats’ natural diet in the wild. Cats are obligated carnivores, that means they only eat meat. In fact, they devour the whole prey. That means the meats, bones, organs, feathers and skins are eaten as well. Nothing is left out. So to feed your cat only meat without bones and skins is actually doing more harm than good.
There is also no place for plants in a cat’s diet in the wild as well. So make sure your cat’s diet should not contain any plants or at least as minimal as possible.
In the wild, cats prey on small animals such as amphibians, birds, insects, mice, rabbits, reptiles, rodents and squirrels for their meals. Occasionally, they may be able to hunt slightly larger preys. Other than that, their usual diet consist of mainly smaller animals.
As such, a wild cat will have multiple small meals a day that are high in animal protein and fat, but low in carbohydrates. Also, they will have to work hard to hunt for their meals. Hunting isn’t always a piece of cake. In between successful hunts, cats will have their fair share of failures as well. These hunts give wild cats ample exercises and workouts which domestic cats do not have.
Cats do not drink a lot of water in the wild. They mainly get their water from the animals they eat. The water content in the food they eat provide enough hydration for wild cats to stay healthy. When feeding your cat, you have to take note to provide enough water in its diet.
Due to these factors, the dietary requirements of domestic cats are very different to that of cats in the wild.
For typical adult cats which are active, they will require around 80 to 90 kcal of metabolizable energy/per kg of body weight per day. For inactive adult cats, they only require around 70 to 80 kcal/kg of body weight.
For cats which are gestating, around 90 to 100 kcal/kg of weight is required. For those cats which are lactating and depending on the litter size, around 90 to 270 kcal/kg of body weight will be required.
Kittens will have different energy requirements at various stages. As kittens age, their energy requirements tend to drop. At around 5 weeks old, kittens will require around250kcal/kg of body weight. At 30 weeks of age, the energy requirement will drop to around 100kcal/kg of body weight. From 50 weeks onward, kittens will require similar amounts to adult cats.
A deficiency in certain minerals and vitamins can lead to a host of health issues for cats. A total of twelve minerals is essential to promote good health. Minerals like calcium and phosphorus are crucial to healthy bones and teeth. While other minerals such as magnesium, potassium and sodium are vital for nerve, muscle and cell functions respectively.
Others like Taurine, an essential amino acid was found lacking in cat food before the late 1980s. Studies have shown that a deficiency in taurine long term will lead to cardiac arrest, loss of vision and retinal degeneration. Nowadays, most, if not all cat food formulas contain taurine.
The chart below lists the nutritional profiles required of cat foods and the roles of various minerals and vitamins in cat nutrition by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) according to the National Research Council.
Cat Food Nutrient Profiles From Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)
|Nutrient||Units (DM Basis)||Growth and Reproduction|
|Methionine + cystine||%||1.10||1.10|
|Phenylalanine + tyrosine||%||0.88||0.88|
|Eicosapentaenoic + Docosahexaenoic acid||%||0.012||NDd|
|Chlorine / Chloride||%||0.3||0.3|
|Copper (extruded food)g||mg/kg||15.0||5.0|
|Copper (canned food)g||mg/kg||5.0||5.0|
|Vitamin B1 / Thiaminej||mg/kg||5.0||5.0|
|Vitamin B6 / Pyridoxine||mg/kg||4.0||4.0|
|Taurine (extruded food)||%||0.10||0.10|
|Taurine (canned food)||%||0.20||0.20|
a. Presumes an energy density of 4000 kcal ME/kg as determined in accordance with Regulation PF9. Formulations greater than 4000 kcal ME/kg must be corrected for energy density; formulations less than 4000 kcal ME/kg need not be corrected for energy. Formulations of low-energy density should not be considered adequate for growth or reproductive needs based on comparison to the Profiles alone.
b. Recommended concentrations for maintenance of body weight at an average caloric intake for cats of a given optimal weight.
c. Although a true requirement for crude fat per se has not been established, the minimum concentration was based on recognition of crude fat as a source of essential fatty acids, as a carrier of fat-soluble vitamins, to enhance palatability, and to supply an adequate caloric density.
d. ND – Not Determined
e. If the mean urine pH of cats fed ad libitum is not below 6.4, the risk of struvite urolithiasis increases as the magnesium content of the diet increases.
f. Because of very poor bioavailability, iron from carbonate or oxide sources that are added to the diet should not be considered in determining the minimum nutrient concentration.
g. Because of very poor bioavailability, copper from oxide sources that are added to the diet should not be considered in determining the minimum nutrient concentration.
h. Add 10 IU Vitamin E above the minimum concentration for each gram of fish oil per kilogram of diet.
i. Vitamin K does not need to be added unless the diet contains more than 25% fish on a dry matter basis.
j. Because processing and specific ingredients may destroy up to 90% of the thiamine in the diet, allowances in formulation should be made to ensure the minimum nutrient concentration is met after processing.
k. Biotin does not need to be added unless the diet contains antimicrobial or anti-vitamin compounds.
l. Methionine may substitute choline as methyl donor at a rate of 3.75 parts for 1 part choline by weight when methionine exceeds 0.62 percent.
*The AAFCO is set to come up with new changes to the nutrient profiles of cat and dog food in late 2017. We will update the changes as soon as possible.
Issues With Unbalanced Diet
Feeding your cat an unbalanced diet may lead to malnutrition, which in turn will lead to a lot of health issues for your cat in the long run. If your cat started having problems out of the sudden, it may be due to long term deficiency of certain nutrients and minerals in your cat’s diet. Thus, it is to our benefit to ensure that our pets have a balanced, healthy and wholesome diet.
To summarize, an optimum diet for your cat should consist of the following:
- > 50% animal protein
- 20% to 40% fat
- 1% to 2% carbohydrate
- 70% water content in the ingredients/meat
Types Of Cat Food
There is a wide variety of cat food on the market for cat owners to choose from. Due to strict legislation, commercial pet food manufacturers must adhere to certain pet food standards. For cat owners who still have concerns about commercial cat food, you can choose to give your pet homemade cat food instead.
Commercial Cat Food
Now, let’s look at the different types of commercial cat food. Basically, we can classify commercial cat food into a few main types such as dry, wet, dehydrated or freeze dried and raw. Specially formulated cat food for cats with special needs and health ailments are readily available as well.
Nowadays, some cat foods are termed as complete, which means these cat foods contain all essential nutrients, minerals and vitamins that a healthy cat will require. You do not need to feed your pet any other food products for your pet will be getting all its required nutrients, minerals and vitamins from these formulas.
There are also some cat foods which are termed, complementary or supplementary. This means this type of food cannot be used solely on its own and must be fed in addition to other foods. You should only feed your cat such supplementary foods on the advice of your vet.
Dry Cat Food
Dry foods are usually made from a mixture of ingredients by the process of extrusion, which is a form of cooking under high heat and pressure. Flavor enhancers such as animal fat are often sprayed or coated onto dry foods to make them more appetizing. The finished products usually come in the forms of biscuits/mixers, flakes (flaked cereals), kibbles and pellets.
There are a few reasons why dry cat food is popular among cat owners. First, it is definitely cheaper to feed your pet cat a diet consisting mainly of dry cat foods. Also, dry cat food can be left out in the open far longer than other types of cat food. Then, there is a misconception that it is better for dental health as dry food can help scrape the plaque from the teeth. In fact, there is little to no evidence to support this notion.
Dry food manufactured in the United States contains less than 20% moisture as stipulated by regulations. However, most dry cat foods fall way below that, at less than 10%. This is why a number of veterinarians are against feeding your cat wholly dry cat food as your cat will not be getting enough water, leading to dehydration. Also, depending on the quality and types of ingredients being used, dry cat food may also be less digestible.
Feeding your pet a diet consisting of fully dry foods may not be ideal. Your cat may run the risk of not getting enough water in its diet, resulting in dehydration. In the long run, it may lead to a host of health issues.
- More economical.
- Convenient, as you can leave it in the open and it won’t spoil as easily.
- Pack more calories per gram.
- Contains around 6% to 10% of moisture.
- Less protein and more carbohydrates than wet cat food.
Wet Cat Food (Canned)
Wet cat foods are generally less processed which makes them more ideal for cats. Wet foods also contain mainly fat and protein, which is what a cat’s diet should consists of. The processes to produce wet foods normally involve high temperatures to sterilize them before sealing under pressure, though it is not always the case. Wet foods normally come sealed in aluminum or steel cans in different sizes, foil pouches and trays. They can be in the form of chunks in broth/gravy or jelly, flakes/shreds, meat loaves and pate.
Wet cat foods are less popular with cat owners as they are generally more expensive. Also, once open, the food either had to be consumed within a couple of hours. Unused portion has to be refrigerated immediately to maintain quality and prevent spoilage. Thus, they are deemed less convenient to feed.
Cats will find wet foods more palatable as they contain more fat, protein and water. Wet foods typically contain around 60% to 78% moisture. The high water content allows cats to have enough water to hydrate themselves. While many people are concerned about the lack of certain minerals and nutrients in their pets’ diets, water is just as important or even more important. Having enough water is key to preventing your cat from developing health issues.
- Spoil more easily and needs refrigeration after opening.
- Less calories than dry cat food.
- Contains up to 78% moisture.
- Contains more fat and protein and lesser carbohydrates than dry cat food.
Air Dried/Dehydrated/Freeze Dried Cat Food
Air dried, dehydrated and freeze dried cat foods all have something in common, hence they are normally classified together. During the processes of making these foods, the water content in the ingredients is removed. The process of removing the water content from the ingredients differs in all three types of cat food.
While air dried and freeze dried cat foods are considered raw, dehydrated cat foods cannot consider the same due to the higher temperatures used. However, sometimes the meats used in some dehydrated foods are freeze dried first. Since meat is the main ingredient in these formulas, this technically makes these dehydrated foods raw.
Now, let’s look at how each of these cat foods is being made.
Water in air dried foods is removed by the process of evaporation. This process is very similar to that dehydrated food, though heat is not used. Using air to dry the foods minimizes damage to the structures of ingredients used. Thus, air dried foods can provide nearly all the benefits of raw foods.
On the other hand, dehydrated foods are heated at low temperatures for a very long time to remove the moisture from the ingredients. As the temperature used is way below the temperature considered to have these foods cooked, these foods still retain most of the amino acids, enzymes, nutrients and vitamins found in raw foods.
Freeze dried foods are flash frozen. They are then removed of all moisture by a strong vacuum before they can be exposed to damaging heat or chemicals. This process doesn’t allow the moisture to turn into the liquid state first, rather the moisture is removed when it is still in the gaseous state. Thus, freeze dried foods are considered the equivalent of raw foods minus the moisture.
While air dried, dehydrated and freeze dried cat foods are expensive than dry foods, they are gaining popularity due to a number of reasons. Firstly, these foods provides the same nutritional benefits of raw foods without the hassles or risks of handling and preparing raw foods.
Next, due to the way these foods are processed, artificial preservatives is not used. The fresh and raw ingredients used provide a highly nutritious diet, plenty of natural flavors and a more natural texture when rehydrate for cats.
Thirdly, feeding your cat these foods is very simple. Simply add warm water to the food, wait for it to rehydrate before mixing and servicing to your kitty. You can even serve it without adding water.
One thing to take note though if you do not rehydrate these foods before feeding your cat is that hydration can become an issue. Some cat parents feed these foods in conjunction with dry foods. If you are one, make sure your cat is drinking enough water. Otherwise, your kitty may run into kidney problems in the future.
- More expensive than dry foods.
- Provides the same nutritional benefits as raw foods, but without the water content.
- Can be safety stored at room temperature.
- No preservatives as fresh ingredients are used.
- Ideal for cat parents who like to travel, hike or camp often.
- Ideal for cat parents who are petrified of handling raw foods, yet want the benefits of raw food for their pets.
Raw Cat Food
Commercial raw cat foods are gaining popularity in recent years due in part to recent pet cat food recalls. The pet food recalls of 2007 actually kick-starts this sentiment. More and more cat parents are aware of the need to give their pets a balanced and completed diets. Advocates liken the raw food diet as similar to the diets of cats in the wild, which is the perfect healthy diet for cats.
Raw foods are available in many different forms. Some raw foods come fresh in bags, pouches or tubs. Others come in the forms of frozen meat, patties, rolls, or premixes. The premixes are normally freeze dried cat foods termed as raw foods by pet food manufacturers. Frozen meats are more preferable as the shelf life is longer, though you need to thaw it first before serving to your cat.
Commercial raw cat foods are perfect for cat parents who want the benefits of a raw food diet for their pets without the hassles of preparing it themselves. When compared to the inconveniences of preparing homemade raw foods, commercial raw foods are a viable alternative. A typical raw food diet should contain at least 80% to 85% of meat. 10% should be edible bone with the remaining 5% to 10% organ meat of which half has to be liver. You should take this into consideration when choosing a commercial raw food for your cat.
- More expensive than dry foods.
- Convenient alternative to homemade raw foods.
- Mimic the natural diet of cats in the wild.
- Provides the best health benefits
Specially Formulated Cat Food
Specially formulated foods as the name implies, are cat foods specifically formulated to address the needs of cats with either special diets or specific needs. Listed below are specially formulated foods that can be found on the market:
- Complementary cat food – Foods which are considered as additional food or treats that supplement your cat with minerals, nutrients and vitamins alongside your cat’s main diet.
- Complete cat food -Foods that meet the nutritional profiles as set by AFFCO and pass a feeding trial using AFFCO procedures.
- Gluten free cat food -Foods that are free from gluten, but may contain grains which don’t contain gluten.
- Grain free cat food -Foods that are free from grains and gluten free, for cats that are allergic to a protein found in grains.
- Natural cat food – Foods that contains only natural ingredients and certain approved synthetic ingredients such as synthetic minerals, traced nutrients and vitamins.
- Organic cat food – Foods supposing made from organic ingredients and meet the production and handling requirements as stipulated in the US Department Of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP).
- Premium cat food -Foods that are supposed to offer the best ingredients in terms of quality.
- Prescription cat food/formulas -Foods for cats with specific needs or health issues. Will require a prescription from a vet as required by the FDA, though some cat foods termed prescription foods can be bought without prescriptions nowadays.
- Hairball control cat food – Foods that are higher in fiber to help eliminate or minimize your cat’s hairball problems. Hairball control foods can contain up to 8% fiber as compared to 1% to 2% in normal cat foods.
- Hypoallergenic cat food – Foods that are specially formulated for cats with food allergies. Many foods in this category are prescription cat foods and you will need a vet prescription for one. Hypoallergenic foods are commonly used to find out the sources of food allergies.
- Vegetarian cat food – Foods for cat parents who are vegetarians and want to feed their pets the same diet. Sometimes prescript by vets to diagnose or treat certain health issues such as as food allergies, bladder stones and liver disease.
Homemade Cat Food
Contrary to popular beliefs, making your own homemade cat foods is not really that hard. Know the Do’s and Don’ts of making your own cat food by checking out this extremely detailed guide by Doctor Lisa A. Pierson here. Her guide is unique in the sense it actually calls for a balance between cooked and raw homemade cat food rather than the fully cooked or raw food camps.
Homemade foods are getting more attention among cat parents who are concerned about what goes into the diets of their cats. Making homemade cat food for your cat is a viable alternative if you don’t find it inconvenient or repulsive. Other than that, there are many cat parents who find their cats’ health turning for the better after converting their cats’ diets to homemade foods.
If you are looking for homemade cat food recipes, check out our homemade cat food recipes section.
Cat Food Regulations & Standards
Many pet parents are not aware which is the main regulatory authority in charge of overseeing the pet food industry. Instead, most people assume the AFFCO and FDA are the main bodies in charge of regulating the pet food industry. While FDA is certainly the main regulatory agency involved, AAFCO is not. In fact, AAFCO is a membership association comprising of local, state and federal agencies which set guidelines, recommendations and standards for the pet food industry to ensure pet food safety. The FDA doesn’t act alone. Rather, FDA works in tandem with USDA and FTC, as well as the various state agencies to regulate the pet food industry.
Here’s a simple breakdown of each agency’s role in regulating the pet food industry:
AAFCO – An advisory body that has no regulatory powers at all, though it is made up of mainly local, state and federal agencies. It only established guidelines, recommendations and standards for the pet food industry. These recommendations and standards are then used by the various government and state agencies to set laws and regulations to regulate the pet food industry.
FDA – The main government agency in charge of regulating the pet food industry. It works with AFFCO to define ingredients, develop state laws and set the nutritional requirements for animal feed and pet food. Besides that, it conducts inspections on pet food ingredient suppliers and manufacturers periodically as well as investigating pet food complaints. It is also in charge of granting approval for food additives or substances to be used in pet food processing. FDA regulates pet food under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
USDA – While USDA is a federal agency, it has no regulatory powers over the pet food industry. Though USDA has a pet food certification program, it is voluntary. This certification is not acknowledged by both FDA and the various State Departments Of Agricultures and so pet food manufacturers have no real incentive to get certified. Rather, it is the regulatory body in regulating meat meant for human consumption. As pet foods are sometimes manufactured in facilities that also process human foods, it falls under USDA jurisdiction in the Food Safety Inspection Services (FSIS) division. So, its role is limited to, assisting the FDA in investigations on pet food complaints within its jurisdiction.
FTC – The FTC’ role is to ensure that pet food manufactures are not engaging in fraudulent advertisements and claims. It will act on any complaints by consumers and file charges against any company that violates the rights of consumers. Do note that the FTC is the main regulatory agency over consumer protection and competition jurisdiction in other sectors of the economy as well.
State Departments of Agriculture – The main regulatory authority at state level. They perform similar roles as FDA, though at the state level. Most states require pet foods which are sold within their boundaries to be registered with them. State departments inspect pet food labels to ensure compliance with labeling laws as well as randomly testing pet food for bacteria and Guaranteed Analysis (GA) claims. Likewise, state departments also conduct inspections and investigations on their own or in conjunction with the FDA.
As you can see, there are many agencies involved in ensuring that the pet food industry is abiding the laws. However, even with these regulations in place, there are still many cases of complaints involving pet food manufacturers.
Next, we look at the how cat food should be labeled and packaged by law.
Cat Food Labeling & Packaging
When it comes to cat food labeling, pet food manufacturers have to adhere to the regulations set by FDA. Most state departments have adopted the standards set by AFFCO which are more specific. However, some state departments will establish their own labeling regulations. Hence, sometimes there are certain discrepancies in labeling. This is a list of the various information that a cat food label should have.
- Product Name
- Net Quantity Statement
- Manufacturer’s Name and Address
- Ingredient List
- Guaranteed Analysis (GA)
- Nutritional Adequacy Statement
- Feeding Directions
- Calorie Statement
- Other Information
As for packaging requirements, the FDA treats it the same way as for human consumption, according to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). Any materials used for packaging pet food should be safe for packaging human food as well. This is a good article that explains more in depth on FDA regulation of pet food packaging.
To sum it up, this is the FDA’s stance from their website:
The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) requires that all animal foods, like human foods, be safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled. In addition, canned pet foods must be processed in conformance with the low acid canned food regulations to ensure the pet food is free of viable microorganisms.
If you need to file a pet food complaint with the FDA, you can check out the procedures here.
Pet Food: https://www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/products/animalfoodfeeds/petfood/default.htm
FDA’s Regulation of Pet food: https://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/ResourcesforYou/ucm047111.htm
Information on Marketing a Pet food Product: https://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/ResourcesforYou/ucm047107.htm
Cat Food Brands
The list below is a compilation of the different brands of cat food available on the market. Some of the brands have the same parent companies. Please note that brands list here does not mean we endorse them.
Update: The list has moved to a new page as there are simply too many cat food brands. Check out the link to the new cat food brands page.
How To Choose Cat Food
Similar to human parents, cat parents will always want the best for their kitties. In order to select the best cat food for your pet, you need to understand the basics of feline nutrition. That means choosing foods that are high in animal protein and fat, but low in carbohydrates. If you need a refresher, you can go back to the section on feline nutrition.
Once you understand the nutritional needs of your cat, we will look at some of the important considerations you need to look at when selecting the right and best cat food for your kitty. But before that, the first thing you need to do is to learn how to read the label.
How To Read A Cat Food Label
Reading a cat food label is not easy. Even though pet food manufacturers are required by laws to provide specific information on all labels, the way the labeling system is being implemented is tough for cat parents to understand. Reading the label may only give you a rough understanding of what the cat food contains.
For example, the ingredient list on any cat food label will not have any indication of the amount of each ingredient in the cat food. Rather, it is just a list of ingredients that being used in the food. To get a rough idea what are the main ingredients in a cat food, look at the first three ingredients on the label. Regulations required ingredients to be listed in order according to weight, with the ingredient with the highest percentage by weight listed first.
Also, reading the guaranteed analysis (GA) on any cat food will only give you an estimated percentage of crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber, moisture and ash. Under the current labeling system, pet food manufacturers are only required to give the minimum values for both protein and fat, and maximum values for ash, fiber and moisture. With only minimum and maximum values given, it will be tough for anyone to figure out the exact amount of these key nutrients in a cat food.
To know whether a cat food is suitable for your cat, you need to know the amount of protein, fat and carbohydrate in the cat food. Once you know how to get these values, selecting the right cat food for your cat will no longer be a problem. AFFCO use dry matter (DM) values on their nutrient profiles for cat food as this allows for easier comparison of different types of cat food. As such, we have to convert these numbers to dry matter values.
To find the approximate weight of protein, fats and carbohydrate in % in a cat food:
- Look at the guaranteed analysis (GA) on a label.
- Add up the values of crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber, moisture and/or ash and other minerals (if any). The total value should be less than 100%.
- Subtract the total value of crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber, moisture and/or ash and other minerals from 100% to get the value of carbohydrate.
- Find the amount of dry matter by subtracting the moisture value from 100%. This value is the amount of dry matter in percentage.
- Divide the value of carbohydrate by the amount of dry matter, then multiply by 100 to find the dry matter (DM) value of carbohydrate in %.
- Divide the value of protein by the amount of dry matter, then multiply by 100 to find the dry matter (DM) value of protein in %.
- Divide the value of fat by the amount of dry matter, then multiply by 100 to find the dry matter (DM) value of fat in %.
*Calculating the dry matter (DM) value of carbohydrate in a cat food will let you know straight away whether this cat food is suitable for your cat. Any cat food with more than 10% carbohydrates should be eliminated unless your cat is on a special diet.
*Sometimes, the Ash value may not be found on the label. Ash is the inorganic by-product of organic food that has been burned off. Ash is actually comprised of a number of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, silicon, sulfur and other trace minerals.
Example 1 (Dry Food)
Crude Protein (Min) – 35.0%
Crude Fat (Min) – 14.0%
Crude Fiber (Max) – 4.0%
Moisture (Max) – 12.0%
Other Minerals (Min) – 1.3% + 1.0% + 0.9% = 3.2%
Amount of crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber, moisture and ash/minerals = 35% + 14% + 4% + 12% + 3.2% = 68.2%
Amount of carbohydrate = 100% – 68.2% = 31.8%
Amount of dry matter = 100% – 12% = 88%
Dry matter (DM) value of carbohydrate: 31.8/88 x 100% = 35.5%
Dry matter (DM) value of protein: 35/88 x 100 = 39.8%
Dry matter (DM) value of fat: 14/88 x 100 = 16%
Example 2 (Wet Food)
Crude Protein (Min) – 9.0%
Crude Fat (Min) – 2.0%
Crude Fiber (Max) – 1.5%
Moisture (Max) – 82.0%
Ash (Max) – 3.0%
Amount of crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber, moisture and ash/minerals = 9% + 2% + 1.5% + 82% + 3% = 97.5%
Amount of carbohydrate = 100% – 97.5% = 2.5%
Amount of dry matter = 100% – 82% = 18%
Dry matter (DM) value of carbohydrate: 2.5/18 x 100% = 13.9%
Dry matter (DM) value of protein: 9/18 x 100 = 50%
Dry matter (DM) value of fat: 2/18 x 100 = 11.1%
Example 3 (Freeze Dried Food)
Crude Protein (Min) – 52.0%
Crude Fat (Min) – 32.0%
Crude Fiber (Max) – 1.0%
Moisture (Max) – 3.0%
Ash (Max) – 12.0%
Amount of crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber, moisture and ash/minerals = 52% + 32% + 1% + 3% + 12% = 100%
Amount of carbohydrate = 100% – 100 = 0%
Amount of dry matter = 100% – 3% = 97%
Dry matter (DM) value of carbohydrate: 0/97 x 100% = 0%
Dry matter (DM) value of protein: 52/97 x 100 = 53.6%
Dry matter (DM) value of fat: 32/97 x 100 =33%
Based on the three examples, you can see that the dry food has a higher carbohydrate content as compared to the other two. However, if you base your choice of cat food on the food label, you may never come to the conclusion that the dry food contains such a high amount of carbohydrates. This is more than the recommended amount of carbohydrates for felines.
Example 3 also shows something interesting. Based on the numbers tabulated, there is no trace of carbohydrates in it. However, do note that the values given on the cat food label are only maximum and minimum values. In order to have a more accurate picture, you should approach pet food manufacturers to get the “Typical Nutrient Analysis” (TNA). Using the numbers on the guaranteed analysis (GA) will only give you a rough estimation.
Avoid Harmful & Questionable Ingredients, Preservatives & Dyes
Avoid cat foods that have these ingredients, preservatives and dyes on their labels. All these substances are known to have either caused or suspected to have caused health problems in cats. Remember that low quality ingredients always lead to health problems.
- Caramel Color
- Sodium Nitrite
- Vitamin K3 (Menadione)
- Brewers Rice
- Carrageenan Gum
- Meat By-Product
- Meat Meal
- Ocean Fish
- Rendered Fat
- Xanthan Gum
Importance Of Digestibility
Digestibility is a measure of how much a given food in the digestive tract is being absorbed by the body. Typically, cat foods manufactured with high quality ingredients will tend to have higher digestibility. Cat foods with lower quality ingredients tend to have lower digestibility. However, this is not always the case.
Currently, there is no way for consumers to find out the digestibility of a cat food unless the manufacturer provide it willingly. Even then, the digestibility tests for cat foods are performed by the manufacturers themselves and there are no third parties to verify them. As such, you should take these digestibility claims with a pinch of salt.
As digestibility is very important to the health of your cat, you should ensure that your cat is digesting all if not most of the food it consume. Here’s how to determine whether a cat food is digestible.
- Check out the ingredients listed. Higher quality ingredients are more digestible. Avoid low quality ingredients.
- One strong, indicating factor is the price of a cat food. Cat foods with higher quality ingredients tend to cost more than those with lower quality ingredients.
- Check your cat’s stool. If your cat produces a lot of stool, it may be time to change to another food. The food your cat is currently taking may not be digestible enough.
Hopefully in the near future, verifiable digestibility numbers will become a standard labeling requirement.
Cats In Different Life Stages
Cats in different stages of their lives will require different energy and nutritional requirements. There is a wide range of cat foods for every stage of a cat’s life. This is a very important consideration when choosing the right cat food for your cat. If you have a kitten, then there is really no point feeding it adult cat food. Likewise an adult cat will not do well on a kitten’s diet. Choose a life stage appropriate cat food for your cat. These are the four main stages of a cat’s life.
- Young adult
- Mature adult
Cats With Special Conditions & Needs
If you have a cat with special conditions and/or needs, there is a wide range of specially formulated cat foods available on the market for your cat. Some cat foods may need a prescription from a vet to purchase, others you can simply pick them off the shelves. Before buying any specially formulated cat foods, it is best to consult your vet for advice first. If your cat has any of the special conditions and/or needs below, you should get cat foods that are specially formulated to address these conditions and/or needs.
- Dental Health
- Dermatologic Management
- Indoor Lifestyles
- Joint Mobility
- Kidney Function
- Outdoor Lifestyles
- Sensitive Skin
- Sensitive Stomach
- Urinary Health
- Weight Management
Breed Specific Cat Food
There are cat foods specially formulated for certain breeds of cats, though there are for the most popular cat breeds. If your cat belongs to one of these more popular cat breeds, you can consider buying these breed specific cat food.
While the focus is on getting the right cat food for your pet, it is important not to overlook the fact that premium or high quality cat foods can be expensive. A lot of cat parents may not have the luxury of spending too much on cat food for their beloved pets. My advice is to choose the best cat food that your budget allows.
Don’t get carried away if budget only allows you to buy dry food all the time for your cat. If possible, buy premium dry foods which are still cheaper than wet foods. You still need to take note that your cat getting enough water. Otherwise, you may face hefty veterinary bills in the future, which goes back to square one. You can periodically supplement your cat’s diet with homemade raw foods on the cheap as well.
Talk With Your Vet
It is important to talk to your vet first before changing your cat’s diet. Your vet will know the current condition and health of your kitty better than anyone else, maybe except you. If you have any doubts or need advice regarding any cat food, your vet will be in a better position to advise you.
Transitioning Your Cat To A Wet Cat Food
While some cats may not have any adverse effects from eating a diet made up of dry foods, most cats will develop health issues down the road. Cats derive their water intake from the foods they consumed. As most dry foods contain less than 10% moisture, most cats will suffer from some form of dehydration. A lack of water plus high amount of ash, carbohydrates and mineral content in dry cat food will lead to health problems such as urinary tract disease, obesity, etc. So, it is imperative to provide your cat with foods that are rich in water content. Canned or wet cat food also contains higher amounts of protein, which is essential to the health of your cat. Hence, canned or wet cat food is preferred options for your pet.
However, it is not easy to change the diet of a cat once it is used to dry foods. Most cats are fussy eaters. Once a cat gets used to a type of food, it will be very difficult to change its mind. This is especially so when dry cat foods can be so addictive. Thew texture and the shape of dry kibbles are designed to attract cats. Dry cat foods are also sprayed with some form of animal digest which cats find very palatable.
Step By Step Process For Transitioning
Changing your cat’s diet is not an easy issue. It may take as long as required, so patience is required. Do not rush, otherwise it may have an adverse effect for your cat. Some cats may prefer to starve than eat other foods. Follow these steps if you have problems transitioning your cat to wet cat food.
- Set up a fix feeding schedule – Normally, for most cat parents, there won’t be any fixed feeding schedule. Dry foods will be lying around for cats to eat as and when they wish. If you don’t have a fix feeding schedule for your cat, it is time to lay down the rules. Let your cat get used to the new feeding times.
- Remove the food after twenty minutes -In the wild, foods won’t be lying around for your cat to eat at all times. You should let your pet get used to food being scarce and not lying around. This will encourage your cat to finish all the food as quickly as possible.
- Add in a small amount of wet cat food – Once your cat is used to the new feeding schedule as well as finishing up all the food within twenty minutes, it is time to proceed to the next stage. Place a small amount of wet food at the bottom of your cat’s feeding bowl. Top up with dry cat food. This is to get your cat to get used to the smell of wet foods.
- Mix the small amount of wet cat food with dry cat food – Once your cat is used to the smell of wet food, mix the small amount of wet food with dry food. In this way, your cat will consume a bit of wet food if it wants to get to the dry food at the bottom to have a full belly.
- Add in more wet cat food -Slowly replace the amount of dry food with wet food until dry food is totally eliminated. It will take about a month or so for the whole process, but it is totally worth it.
Tips For Switching From Dry To Wet Cat Food
- Do not starve your cat. Some owners do it due to misinformation or had successes with this method previously. But this method does not work with all cats. If you are not aware, a cat that does not eat for more than 24 hours can go into liver failure and die.
- Start the transition process during the week when there are less people at home. Your cat will start begging you or your family members for more food during the initial stage. It can be very annoying during this period.
- Never feed your cat with wet canned cat food straight out of the refrigerator. Cats prefer food at room temperature. Try warming the wet food first before feeding your cat.
- If you have multiple cats to transition over to wet food, provide each cat with its own feeding bowl. It is also advisable to have a separate feeding location for each cat.
- If nothing is working, it is time to talk to your vet. Your vet may suggest using a product called FortiFlora, which is a probiotic that contains animal digest to mix with the wet food. This will make the wet food more enticing to your cat.
Once your cat gets used to canned wet cat food, you can consider switching to a raw food diet. While wet food is definitely more healthy than dry food, a raw diet is definitely the best diet for your cat to enjoy optimum health.
Issues With Commercial Cat Food
If you are already feeding your cat homemade cat food, then this section may not for you. Commercial cat food has a number of issues ranging from cat food recalls, dry cat food versus wet cat food debates to health issues associated with feeding your cat a diet consisting of purely dry food. In this section, we will take a look at the issues affecting the commercial cat food industry.
Dry Cat Food Vs Wet Cat Food
Many experts and professionals have differing opinions on the dry cat food versus wet cat food debate. As water is an essential nutrient for life, having enough water is a must. However, a dry food diet will lead to your cat not having enough water for optimum health. Even though some experts and professionals say you can provide water for your cat to drink to hydrate itself, cats are not known to drink much water on their own. Rather, cats get enough water for optimum health from the food they consume.
This leads to the question that if water is so important, why are veterinarians and other experts still recommending a dry food diet for your cat. Now you see why many cat parents are having difficulties trusting their vets on this issue. Though in recent years, more and more veterinarians are coming out to say that wet cat food is indeed better for our cats. As more and more cat parents are becoming more educated in feline nutrition, it is only going to get better for us and our pets.
*Our stance at CatOwnerClub.com is that we advocate giving your cat a wet or raw food diet instead of a dry food diet.
There are many health issues that can arise from feeding commercial cat food in the past. Low quality ingredients used in the manufacture of cat food can lead to cats developing serious health issues down the road. In recent years, the situation has gotten better with tighter regulations, but the problem still persists.
Also, giving your cat a balanced diet can be difficult with commercial cat food in the past. The development of complete formulas more or less eliminates this problem. But then, you can never be sure. Below are some of the more common health issues associated with commercial cat food:
Asthma in cats is the result of the inflammation of the airways caused by allergens or other substances. It can be triggered due to certain food allergies. Some cats are allergic to corn, fish, soy, wheat or artificial colorings, flavorings or preservatives used in some cat foods’ formulas. As plant based protein is widely used in the manufacture of cat food, some cats may develop asthma when eating such cat foods. If you suspect your cat of being allergic to certain ingredients in its current diet, try giving it grain free or gluten free cat food instead.
Cancer causing contaminants like aflatoxin B1 can be found in some dry cat foods sold in the USA. There have been a number of pet food recalls due to high levels of aflatoxin found. A Purina representative was even quoted as saying in this article that aflatoxin was an “unavoidable natural contaminant” found in grains such as corn, barley and rice.
For many years, many vets have been telling cat parents that dry food is good for cats’ teeth. The explanation was that dry kibbles broken down into smaller pieces when your cat chewed them, will help to clean the plaque or tartar on the surface of the teeth. But the problem is kibbles are too small for cats to chew, rather most cats swallowed the kibbles fully instead. Since kibbles are swallowed whole, how can kibbles help to clean the teeth. Couple that with the fact that cats tend to tear, shred and swallow their food instead of chewing. It really doesn’t make much sense that dry foods can help to prevent dental disease in cats.
Since there is a false belief that dry foods can help to prevent dental disease, cat parents are more incline to feed their cats dry cat foods. This in turn can lead to build up of plaque and tartar in the teeth, leading to dental disease as the starchy coating of many dry foods can actually contribute to the build up of plaque.
Feline Diabetes Mellitus
It is a fairly common disease among cats. Feline diabetes mellitus is similar to human type II diabetes, which is the body’s inability to control the blood sugar levels. The main causes of feline diabetes are due to a high carbohydrate diet and lack of exercises. Dry cat food contains a lot of carbohydrates, which really have no place in a cat’s diet.
Fatty Liver Disease
Fatty liver disease also known as hepatic lipidosis in cats is an accumulation of fat in the liver. This disease can be due to a number of underlying health problems which includes cancer, diabetes and obesity. In these cases, it is important to resolve the primary health problem first. As such, a diet high in carbohydrates, coupled with a lack of exercise can lead to other underlying health issues first before developing into fatty liver disease.
A moisture deficient diet can lead to more frequent cases of hairballs in cats. Also, in recent years, some veterinarians have said that a change of diet from high carbohydrate and plant based protein to a grain free, low carbohydrate diet had led to less frequent cases of hairballs in their clients’ pets.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
The Feline Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a serious health condition that affects many cats. Although there are many causes, it is usually caused by allergies to certain foods such as beef, chicken, fish, grains, turkey, etc. All these ingredients are commonly found in cat foods. Feeding your cat a hypoallergenic cat diet may be able to help with Feline IBD.
Kidney disease or renal disease in cats is a fairly common disease among older or elderly cats. Cats with kidney disease should have a diet high in animal protein and water content, and containing little to no bones. This is due to bones containing a lot of phosphorus, which is commonly associated with chronic kidney diseases in cats.
Cats need very little carbohydrates in their diets. What they need is a diet high in animal protein and fats and low in carbohydrates. Dry cat food tends to be high in carbohydrates which can lead to obesity in cats which are not physically active. Also, cat parents tend to overfeed their cats on dry food as it is just more convenient to fill up the whole feeding bowl than just pour enough for each meal. Little did they know that this can cause their cats to gorge themselves on the surplus food. One way to combat this issue is to use an automatic cat feeder.
Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infection can lead to a host of urinary issues such as blood in urine, difficulty in urination and painful urination for your cat. Major cause of urinary tract infection is a diet low in water content. As mentioned previously, cats derived their water from the foods they consume. If you feed your cat a dry food diet, you have to find alternative ways for your cat to hydrate itself.
Over the years, a number of pet food manufacturers have been caught making false claims about what their pet foods can do for our pets. These ads use persuasive words and images to prey on our emotional attachments with our pets, making us willing buyers of unsuitable products for our pets. This had lead to FTC filing charges against these pet food manufacturers, with the most recent high profile case of Mars Petcare’s Eukanuba Dog Food ads. For those of you who are interested to know more about the case, check out this link.
Cat Food Recalls
Over the years, there have been many cases of cat food recalls due to a variety of reasons ranging from contamination, manufacturing problems, safety issues, violations of FDA regulations, and so on. If the cat food for your pet is being recalled, you can contact the specific manufacturer to determine which batch is affected by the recall. You may even be reimbursed if you return the product to the store where you bought it.
List Of Cat Food Recalls
|Date||Brand Name||Company||Product Description||Problem|
|05/05/2017||Smallbatch||Smallbatch Pets Inc.||Dog and cat food||Salmonella|
|2/27/2017||AVA||Pets at Home||Dry cat food||Low levels of thiamine (Vitamin B1)|
|2/15/2017||Triumph Ocean Fish Formula Canned Cat Food||Triumph||Canned cat food||Foreign material|
|2/15/2017||Wellness Canned Cat Food||WellPet, LLC||Canned cat food||Potential for foreign material|
|01/13/2017||Blue Ridge Beef||Blue Ridge Beef||Raw dog and cat food||Listeria monocytogenes|
|01/06/2017||9LivesTM, EverPetTM, and Special KittyTM||J.M. Smucker Company||Canned cat food||Possible low levels of thiamine (Vitamin B1)|
|01/03/2017||9LivesTM, EverPetTM, and Special KittyTM||J.M. Smucker Company||Canned cat food||Possible low levels of thiamine (Vitamin B1)|
|12/09/2016||Blue Ridge Beef||Blue Ridge Beef||Pet food||Salmonella, Listeria|
|06/23/2016||Rad Cat||Radagast Pet Food, Inc.||Raw cat food||Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes|
Handling Cat Food
Many cat parents are complacent when it comes to handling their cats’ food. There are many cases of cats being sick eating cat foods that have been contaminated. When handling cat food, be it commercial or homemade cat food, good hygiene practices are very important to minimize the food of being contaminated. These are the things to look out for when handling your pet’s food:
- Buy products that are properly sealed and packaged. Look out for signs of damages or tears to the packaging such as dents, discolorations, tears, etc.
- Store opened cat food properly. Storage instructions can be found on every cat food label.
- Wash, clean and sanitize your hands after every contact with your cat or its food.
- Wash, clean, and sanitize your cat’s feeding bowls and utensils after every usage.
Frequently Asked Questions
This section comprises of some of the most frequently asked questions regarding cat food. This section will be updated on a regular basis to reflect the challenges faced by cat parents on cat food.
Can Kittens Eat Adult Cat Food?
Kittens can only start eating solid food at around 5 weeks of age. Kittens also have different dietary needs from that of an adult cat. Therefore, it is inappropriate to feed kittens any type of adult cat food. As commercial kitten food is readily available, there is no reason to feed adult cat food for kittens.
How Long Can Cats Go Without Food?
At most 3 days for a healthy cat, and less for a less healthy one. As cats get water from the food they consume, without water for any extended period of time will lead to dehydration. If the cat is drinking water, then it may be able to last up to 2 weeks without food but not without consequences. A cat without food can go into shock, organs will start failing, leading to death. Some cats may develop Hepatic Lipidosis also known as the fatty liver disease when deprived of food for an extended period of time.
How Much Cat Food Should I Feed My Cat Per Day
As different cats have different dietary requirements, there is no definitive answer to this question. At the end of the day, it all boils down to many factors such as age, activity level, gender, genetic make-up, health, metabolic rate, etc. You have to feed your cat accordingly. Obesity is a big problem for many cats as a lot of cat parents just follow the feeding instructions on cat food labels, which in turn leads to overfeeding their cats. You just can’t blindly follow feeding instructions. You have to adjust your cat’s diet according to its needs.
How Much Cat Food Should I Feed My Kitten
Kittens require more food per pound of body weight as compared to adult cats. They will also require more frequent meals. The general recommendation is to feed as much as your kitten can eat until it is about four to six months old. During this period of time, you need to monitor your kitten and change the diet if necessary. When your kitten is around six months old, you can start feeding it as an adult cat.
How Much Does It Cost To Feed My Cat
In this section, we will look at a total of nine different cat foods in three categories. To calculate the cost of feeding a typical 10 pound cat, we use the “Recommended Daily Feeding Amounts” found on each cat food label. As cat food can come in various packaging sizes, we use the largest packaging sizes for the cat food in these calculations. The prices used are accurate at the time of research.
|Brand||Packaging Size||Price||Recommended Daily Feeding*||Daily Feeding Cost (10 lbs cat)|
|IAMS Proactive Health Original Adult Dry Cat Food||22 lbs bag||$29.75||2/3 cup**||$0.45|
|Purina Cat Chow Gentle Dry Cat Food||13 lbs bag||$12.78||3/4 cup**||$0.37|
|Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Dry Adult Cat Food||10 lbs bag||$29.75||1/2 cup**||$0.74|
|Purina Fancy Feast Delights with Cheddar Grilled Chicken & Cheddar Cheese Feast In Gravy||3 oz can x 24||$12.24***||1 can per 2.5 lbs of body weight||$1.02|
|Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Adult Instinctive Thin Slice In Gravy||3 oz can x 24||$30.40||2 3/4 can||$3.48|
|"I and love and you", Savory Salmon Recipe Canned Cat Food||3 oz can x 24||$28.56||1 3/4 can||$2.03|
|Primal Freeze-Dried Nuggets Chicken & Salmon Formula for Cats||14 oz zip-seal bag - approximately 49 nuggets||$30.99||4 nuggets****||$2.52|
|Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Beef For Cats||14 oz zip-seal bag||$17.81||2 oz||$2.54|
|The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Grain Free Cat Food||4 lbs box||$45.07||1/2 cup with 1/2 cup of water||$2.81|
*Based on a typical 10lbs cat.
**Based on standard 8 Oz cup.
***Based on sale price. Price is correct at the time of research.
*** Figure based on using the feeding calculator at primapetfoods.com.
How Often Should I Feed My Cat?
1 to 2 meals a day should be ideal for most adult cats. Elderly cats should stick to the same feeding regiment, while cats with specific needs may require more feedings. It is important to fit your cat’s feeding times into your own schedule.
How Often Should I Feed My Kitten?
As kittens require more frequent meals than adult cats, for a start, go with three to four meals a day for your kitten. Adjust according to your kitten’s requirements.
What Do Cats Like To Eat?
It is really a hard one to answer. As you are probably aware, cats are fussy eaters. Once your cat gets used to a certain type of food, it is very difficult to transition your cat to another food. Basically, a cat’s food preferences are formed from young. So it is important to get things right from the start. Since cats are obligated carnivores, you should feed your cat a diet which is rich in protein and fat, but low in carbohydrates from the start.
What Type Of Food Can Cats Eat?
You have to take note that not every type of human food is suitable for your cat. As there are simply too many human foods to go through, we will look at some of the most commonly asked about human foods instead.
Can cats eat applesauce?
No. Applesauce contains artificial chemicals and preservatives which are detrimental to your cat’s health. Even if it is given as an occasional treat, it is not advisable.
Can cats eat asparagus?
Yes. Asparagus is rich in fiber, minerals and vitamins which is good for your cat in small quantities. Asparagus is not dangerous or toxic to cats.
Can cats eat bacon?
No. As bacon is a type of processed meat which contains artificial chemicals, preservatives and high levels of sodium. The sodium levels can be more than ten times the recommended daily intake for cats. Too much salt can lead to salt poisoning, which has deadly consequences for cats.
Can cats eat beans?
Yes, but only in small quantities. Beans can contain good amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium and vitamin B-6. You may be tempted to feed your cat beans like black beans, chickpeas, green beans, kidney beans and navy beans which are high in protein. However, these beans only provide plant based protein instead of animal based protein, which is what your cat really needs. Canned beans are even worse, as they contain too much sodium, but also added chemicals and preservatives.
Can cats eat beef?
Yes. Beef is a type of meat rich in protein and other nutrients which are required by cats. You can choose to feed your cat raw or cooked beef, though you have to be careful when handling raw meat to minimize contamination. Do take note some cats may be allergic to beef.
Can cats eat bread?
Yes. Feeding your cat small quantities of bread is okay, but not in large quantities. Bread contains high amounts of carbohydrates, which is not required by your cats. Feeding your cat a diet high in carbohydrates may lead to obesity and other health conditions such as diabetes in the long run.
Can cats eat broccoli?
Yes. Broccoli contains anti-oxidant properties as well as provide the necessary roughage for your cat. Just remember to boil the broccoli first before feeding your cat. Otherwise, it may become a choking hazard or may be too difficult for your cat to digest.
Can cats eat carrots?
Yes. Carrots contain beta-carotene, which cats convert to vitamin A to used for cell reproduction and growth. However, cats can only convert small amounts of beta-carotene into vitamin A, so no there is no justification to feed your cat too much carrots. Cooked carrots can be a good occasional treat for your cat. Raw carrots will not be ideal as they can be too hard for your cat to digest and cause your cat to choke.
Can cats eat cheese?
No. Most cats become lactose intolerant once they reach adulthood. Cheese and other dairy products can cause cats to have gastrointestinal problems. Cheese also contains high levels of fat and salt, which are not appropriate for your cat. While some cat parents are known to give their cats cheese treats without any issues, it is better to play safe than be sorry.
Can cats eat chicken?
Yes. Chicken is a good source of protein and nutrients for your cat. Whether you feed your cat raw chicken or cooked chicken is a matter of preference. However, you have to be careful when handling raw meat.
Can cats eat corn?
Yes. Small amounts of corn will not be harmful to cats. However, corn is also one of the most common cat food ingredients that can induce food allergies in cats.
Can cats eat dog food?
No. Dog food does not contain taurine, which is an essential amino acid for cats. A deficiency in taurine can lead to severe heart disease and other health problems in cats.
Can cats eat eggs?
Yes, however it will be better to feed your cat cooked eggs such as baked eggs, hard boiled eggs, poached eggs and scrambled eggs instead of raw ones. This is due to the risk of raw eggs being contaminated with E. Coli and salmonella. Also, eggs are well known for being allergenic which can induce food allergies in cats.
Can cats eat fruits?
It depends. Some fruits are safe for cats to eat while some fruits like grapes is dangerous for cats to even consume in small amounts. To know what fruits you can’t feed your cat, check out this list.
Can cats eat grapes?
No. Grapes and their dried counterparts, the raisins can cause kidney failures in cats and make cats ill even when taken in small quantities. Some cats may be immune to the effects of grapes and raisins, but it is best to keep your cat off grapes and raisins.
Can cats eat grass?
Yes. In the wild, cats eat small quantities of grass to aid bowel movement, digestion, as well as supplement their diet. Most of the time, cats will regurgitate out the grass that they can’t digest. So do not be alarmed if you see your cat eating grass.
Can cats eat ham?
No. Like bacon, ham is a type of processed meat which contains artificial chemicals and preservatives which are harmful to cats. Ham is also high in sodium, which can lead to salt poisoning, causing serious health issues and even death in cats.
Can cats eat human food?
Yes, but not all types of human food. You have to extremely careful and choosy about the types of human food you want to feed your cat. Some foods may lead to minor or mild health conditions, while others can be deadly. For a list of human food that your cat can’t eat, check out this list.
Can cats eat oranges?
No. Cats cannot eat oranges or other citrus fruits. The essential oils and psoralens in oranges and other citrus fruits are toxic to cats and can cause severe cases of diarrhea and vomiting. Oranges can also cause cats to lapse into depression and develop dermatitis issues.
Can cats eat peas?
Yes, but only in small amounts. Similarly to beans, peas contain iron, magnesium and vitamin B-6 which are good for cats. However, like beans, they can be difficult to digest properly. Since peas are a popular ingredient used in many commercial cat foods, high chance your cat is already eating it.
Can cats eat pineapple?
Yes. Fresh pineapple when given occasionally and in small quantities is alright for your cat. Canned pineapple should be avoided at all costs. Pineapples contain manganese, which can help your cat to digest and process carbohydrates and protein. Pineapples are also a good source of B6 vitamins, copper, fiber, folate and other nutrients.
Can cats eat pork?
Yes. Like chicken, pork is a good source of protein and nutrients for your cat. Unlike processed pork such as bacon and ham which can contain artificial chemicals and preservatives, pork like other unprocessed meat are safe for cats to consume.
Can cats eat potatoes?
It depends. Cooked potatoes like baked potatoes, boiled potatoes or mashed potatoes are okay for cats to consume. However, raw potatoes are not. Raw potatoes contain a toxic chemical called solanine, which is harmful to both cats and humans. Thus, potatoes should not be eaten raw.
Can cats eat raw fish?
No. Raw fish can contain bacteria that cause food poisoning. Also, raw fish contains an enzyme called thiaminase which is known to destroy thiamine. This vitamin is an essential B vitamin for your cat and a lack of it can lead to convulsion and even coma.
Can cats eat rice?
Yes. Cooked rice is fine as long as it is an occasional treat and not part of the main diet. Rice provides carbohydrates, which is really what your cat needs. Uncooked rice is not advisable as it is difficult for your cat to digest.
Can cats eat salmon?
Yes, as long it is cooked. Raw salmon as with all raw foods may contain bacteria that cause your cat to develop health issues. Feed your cat cooked fish only.
Can cats eat scrambled eggs?
Yes. As long as scrambled eggs are well cooked, they will be fine for your cat. Avoid feeding your cat any type of eggs that are not well cooked.
Can cats eat seaweed?
Yes. Seaweed is one of the best foods as part of the main diet and/or treats for your cat. Considered a “worming” herb for cats, seaweed also contains many beneficial minerals and nutrients for your cat. It is also known to prevent cancer and keep glucose level low.
Can cats eat shrimp?
Yes. You can feed your cat small amount of shrimp. Shrimp contains some nutritional benefits to cats. Though you have to take note not to feed your cat too much shrimp as shrimps can contain high amounts of cholesterol and sodium.
Can cats eat steak?
Yes. Steak is a good source of animal protein for your cat. However, you have to take note to remove the bones and fat. Your cat may choke on the bones while fat, both cooked and uncooked can cause intestinal upset leading to diarrhea and vomiting.
Can cats eat tomatoes?
No. Tomatoes are listed by ASPCA as being toxic to cats. Tomatoes contain solanine just like potatoes, which is harmful to cats. However, lesser amount of the toxin is found in ripe red tomatoes as compare to unripe ones. Some cat parents have reportedly fed their cats tomatoes without any issues. However, I will advise feeding your cat any tomatoes at all.
Can cats eat tuna?
Yes. Cats absolutely love the smell of tuna and most cats can get addicted to it. However, tuna is fine as an occasional treat, but too much of it will lead to malnutrition and mercury poisoning as tuna contains high levels of mercury.
Can cats eat turkey?
Yes. Turkey is a good source of animal protein for cats. Just make sure to remove the bones and fat when feeding cooked turkey. When handling raw turkey meat, pay more attention to hygiene to avoid contaminating the meat.
Can cats eat vegetables?
It depends. Some vegetables are safe for cats to eat while some vegetables are dangerous for cats to even consume in small amounts. Always feed your cat cooked vegetables as raw vegetables can cause cats to choke and can be difficult for cats to digest. To know what vegetables you can’t feed your cat, check out this list.
What Type Of Food Cats Can’t Eat?
There are some types of food that cats cannot eat. Even if taken in small quantities, can lead to serious health consequences for your cat. You should avoid feeding your cat any of these foods at all.
- Almond nuts
- Apple seeds
- Candies and gums (xylitol)
- Dairy products
- Energy drinks
- Fat trimmings
- Grapes and raisins
- Macadamia nuts
- Yeast dough
What Type Of Food Can Kittens Eat?
Many cat parents are curious about what type of foods they can feed their kittens. Below is a list of commonly asked questions about human foods that cat parents want to know whether their kittens can eat.
Can kittens drink baby formula?
No. Baby formula is not formulated for kittens. Also, baby formula is mostly made from cow’s milk, which is high in lactose. Instead, go for feline milk replacers which are specially formulated to replace a cat mummy’s milk.
Can kittens drink cow’s milk?
No. Most cats are lactose intolerant and should never be fed any cow’s milk. As kittens’ digestive system is even more delicate, drinking cow’s milk can lead to diarrhea, severe dehydration and even death for your kitten.
Can kittens drink water?
Yes. Once your kitten starts weaning, you should start providing water for your kitten to drink. This is especially important if you are feeding your kitten dry cat food. Before weaning, water is not necessary as a cat mummy’s milk is more than sufficient to hydrate a kitten.
Can kittens eat adult cat food?
Yes. However, it is not a good idea as adult cat food is specifically formulated to meet the needs of adult cats, rather than kittens. Kitten food is a much better option as they are specially formulated to meet the growing needs of kittens.
Can kittens eat tuna?
No. While some cat parents seemed comfortable feeding their kittens tuna, I feel kittens are too young for this treat. Tuna contains certain amount of mercury which may be too high for your growing kitten to take in. I would recommend feeding your kitten tuna occasionally only when it matures into an adult.
What Type Of Food Kittens Can’t Eat?
Kittens are different from adult cats. Just like how a child’s body constitution are different from those of an adult. Some types of food even if taken in small quantities, can lead to serious consequences for your kitten while an adult cat will not be affected at all. You should avoid feeding your kitten the list of foods to avoid for adult cats in addition to the list below.
- Baby formula
- Cow’s milk
- Human foods
When Do I Feed My Cat
Cats are mainly nocturnal animals. During the day, cats sleep. They normally come out at night to hunt and feed in the wild. However, it will be impractical to follow their natural feeding schedule. The best times to feed your cat is to integrate your cat’s feeding times to suit your schedule.
Best Cat Food
What is the best cat food for my cat? Well, this is really a very hard question to answer.
As mentioned previously, the best cat food for your cat is dependent on a number of factors, namely age, body condition and health condition.
Once these factors are considered, you will be able to find the best cat food for your cat more easily. However, we understand that sometimes, it is not easy and that straightforward for many cat parents.
Here, we have reviewed some of the best cat food and other related products available on the market, which you can check out these posts for more information:
- Best Dry Cat Food
- Best Cat Food For Indoor Cats
- Best Dry Cat Food For Indoor Cats
- Best Automatic Cat Feeders
From understanding the diets of cats in the wild to the energy requirements of domestic cats, we can gather that cats need a diet that is high in protein and fat, but low in carbohydrates. From this, we can select cat food based on these requirements to allow our pets to have happier and healthier lives.
Let’s recap back the important points regarding a cat’s diet:
- A good diet should be low in carbohydrates, but high in protein and fat.
- The protein should come comes from animals, rather than plants.
- Avoid cat food with plant based products such as corn, grain, soy and wheat in the formula.
- Avoid cat food high in carbohydrates.
- Learn how to read the label.
- Water is a very important to your cat, avoid feeding your cat food with little to no water content.
There is no one size fits all cat food that suits the needs of every single cat. Like clothes, you need to choose the correct cat food based on your cat’s needs in order to allow your cat to have a balance diet, leading to a happier and healthier pet.
Let us know what you think and share with us your experiences with commercial cat food in the comments below.