What's the Best Food to Give to Cats?
What's the best food to give to cats? First and foremost, it needs to contain meat... real meat, and not substitutes. Therefore, it's important to know how to distinguish between low and high quality foods. Hydration is also important, since cats only drink small amounts of water.
How much do you really know about the cat food you bring home from the store? Marketing gimmicks can be so misleading, and most pet owners are unaware of the metabolic needs of their cats. As a result, it’s easy to unknowingly give your cat products that are actually unhealthy and even harmful. To keep that from happening, read this article to discover the best food to give to cats.
What exactly do cats eat?
Cats are strictly carnivorous animals. Therefore, their diet must consist of a high quantity of proteins and fats. However, just like with human food, there’s a wide variety of cat food on the market, and not all of it is of high quality.
The diet of an unneutered cat should be 30% protein, 20-30% fat, and 5% carbohydrates. Naturally, the needs of each animal will vary according to age. For example, a kitten will need to eat more in order to grow and develop. Likewise, a mature cat will need a special diet that adapts to its needs.
Cats are innate predators and, in nature, feed on small birds and rodents. And they invest a considerable amount of energy in hunting their prey. There’s no reason a domestic cat’s diet should be any different. However, feline pets only have access to the foods their owners give them.
What’s the best food to give cats: composition and types
The foods that we purchase for our cats should have meat as their main ingredient. In general, it will consist of dehydrated or freeze-dried meat. The various types of components that different cat foods may contain are the following:
- Meat that’s suitable for human consumption, which has undergone a process of dehydration or freeze-drying
- Meat that has undergone the same process, but is not suitable for human consumption
- Fresh meat
- A variety of meat meals
- Various flours
The least beneficial of all of these components would be the flours. That’s because they go through two types of processing and may contain meat substitutes which can actually be harmful. What’s more, commercial foods may even contain dairy products, grains, and vitamin and mineral supplements.
As for the different types of cat food, remember that the brand you choose will have an impact on quality. With that in mind, we can classify cat goods into three different categories: High, medium, and low-end.
High and medium-end cat foods are what you commonly find in grocery stores. However, if you want to give your cat high-end or holistic food, then you should consult with your veterinarian.
Low-end foods tend to have a lower nutritional value. What’s more, they also contain a very low percentage of “real” meat, which usually comes from viscera and other scraps. In addition, these foods also tend to contain grains, artificial colors, softeners, and other additives that offer little to nothing when it comes to nutrition.
Medium-end foods are usually adapted to meet the needs of neutered/spayed cats that don’t get a lot of daily exercise. And, finally, high-end cat foods offer the right amount of nutrients without harmful additives. What’s more, they contain natural ingredients. As you can imagine, the price of cat foods usually increases in direct proportion to their quality.
Don’t forget about nutrition
One of the biggest problems when it comes to depending too much on dry cat foods is their low water content. This type of food only offers cats between 6 and 10% of the hydration that they need.
Cats don’t tend to drink nearly as much water as dogs do. Therefore, they depend on their diet to make up for the liquid they’re lacking. You can make sure your cat gets enough water by offering canned foods and moistened meats.
Another way you can prevent dehydration is by placing water bowls near your cat’s favorite hangouts. Or you can attract them to their water bowls by placing a little bit of catnip in the bottom.