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Our cats are our babies, our companions, and they help us decompress at the end of a long day. They can help us deal with loneliness, depression, anxiety, and grief. Your unconditional love gives us a purpose that also helps us live longer, fuller lives. So it makes sense that we want to give them only the best cat food. A high-quality organic diet is one way of ensuring your health and longevity in the long term.
But how do we choose? Plan to read the labels carefully and look for key certifications when deciding which brand is right for your cat. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing an organic cat food (see the list below for a full description of the factors).
All USDA certified, here is the best organic cat food:
In an ideal world, we would give cats a diet that included both wet and dry food. Castor & Pollux Organix canned food for cats (see Amazon), which contains free-range organic chicken or turkey with additional superfoods in combination with the high protein content.
Tender and Genuine Organic and Antibiotic-Free Dry Cat Food (see Amazon) is an excellent place to start your cat on an organic, grain-free diet.
What should be considered when choosing organic cat food?
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates the use of the term “organic” in human and pet food. The law requires the USDA to apply the same standard to cat food as it does to human food. “Organic” refers to the way in which a crop or animal is grown or raised and handled. Organic crops must be grown on pesticide-free land for at least three years. The food itself must not contain any toxic and persistent pesticides, artificial flavors, colors and preservatives, synthetic growth hormones, antibiotics, genetically modified organisms (GMO) or have been irradiated.
Organic animals whose meat is used in pet food must be fed organic food, must not receive antibiotics or hormones and have access to nature. To become USDA certified, all of these requirements must be documented and confirmed by USDA inspection. If you don’t see “USDA Certified Organic” on the label, it’s hard to make sure the food is truly organic.
If only some of the ingredients are from certified organic sources, the label also shows a percentage, e.g. B. “95% USDA Certified Organic”.
Similarly, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) defines and regulates the term “natural” for pet food and feed. “Natural” means that a feed or an ingredient comes exclusively from vegetable, animal or degraded sources that have not been produced by a chemically synthetic process. However, some ingredients can be labeled “natural” without actually being good or healthy for your pet. Look for ingredients called “fillers” that are inexpensive and have little nutritional value. They make your pet feel full by weight with less quality ingredients. Corn and wheat gluten, grain products, soy, animal by-products and fruit and vegetable pulp are common. Stick to “grain-free” food for cats with skin allergies, coat problems, or digestive problems.
If you live in the USA make sure your cat food is labeled “Made in USA”. The standards for making pet food vary widely from country to country. Many foods made in other countries have been tested and found contaminants such as heavy metals and even plastic fillers that are unsafe to eat.
It is also important to consider the diet, moisture, and fat content of the cat food. Cats evolved as hunters so their natural diet was primarily carnivorous. You would be consuming prey that has high amounts of protein, moderate amounts of fat, and a nominal amount of carbohydrates. So watch out for foods that are too high in carbohydrates, which can contribute to obesity. Healthy carbohydrates should come from ingredients like organic pumpkin, sweet potato, or brown rice.
Cats also need more than a dozen other nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids. The required amounts of nutrients vary in every phase of life – from kittens to adolescents, during pregnancy and breastfeeding and as an older cat. If your pet food is balanced and complete for the current stage of your cat’s life, you will not need any additional nutritional supplements.
That brings us to raw food. Raw feed, a new trend in pet food, is considered an optimal choice because the heat did not break down proteins and other essential nutrients. However, raw foods also carry an increased risk of bacterial infections such as salmonella and listeria, which can lead to diarrhea, vomiting and, ultimately, nervous system infection.
To prevent spoilage and extend shelf life, manufacturers use natural preservatives in private label products. Non-synthetic preservatives include vitamin C (ascorbic acid) or vitamin E (tocopheryl acetate or tocopherol acetate).
As with human food ingredient labels, the ingredients are listed in order from most to lowest by weight and contain the percentages of protein, fat, fiber and moisture. First, look for foods that are listed as being high in protein in a particular meat. When grains are included, whole grains are best because of the nutrients they contain. Note that the protein and fat levels in dry foods are higher than in wet foods because the percentages for wet foods are given on a wet basis and contain a high percentage of water, while the percentages for dry foods are given on a dry basis . You should look for at least 8% to 10% protein in moist foods or at least 25% in dry foods. The fat content should be at least 5% in wet feed and at least 20% to 30% in dry feed. Some cats turn their noses to food with less protein or fat than recommended. The average cat eats both wet and dry food best during the week.
Many brands add probiotics that promote healthy gut flora, which in turn reduces inflammation, boosts the immune system, and potentially other benefits. Domesticated cats do not feed wildly on rodents and other living things, so their intestines are not exposed to the bacteria they would encounter in the wild. So, opt for probiotics when you have the chance, especially if your cat has a tender stomach or has recently taken antibiotics or other medications.
We introduce your cat to new food
Be thoughtful when changing your cat to a new food. Don’t buy a lot until you are sure your cat is eating it. Take the time to decide if this is the right food for you and your cat. Your cat may have problems with palatability, mouthfeel, or sources of protein. Some early disorders go away after a day or two in transition. If your first choice doesn’t fit, slowly switch to another.
Why trust Treehugger?
Lorraine Wilde has had at least one cat companion in her home for the past 35 years. Two of her cats were in their early twenties. She only has the highest standards for what she feeds her pets.
Lorraine also holds a Masters Degree in Environmental Science and believes that consumers can make healthy, informed and environmentally conscious choices to protect their families, their pets and our planet.