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Since your kitten has become a family member, it is natural to ensure that it is eating healthy. Aside from the cost of veterinary consultations, cat food is a cat owner’s biggest expense. However, what you spend on cat food can save hundreds of dollars in veterinary fees, as many cat health problems stem from what your kitten eats.
Not all cat foods are created equal, and knowing which to choose can be a challenge when you’re in a pet store staring down an entire aisle dedicated to it. Hence, you need to understand what you are looking for. Here are some important criteria for choosing cat food:
Nutritional information and main ingredients
The ingredients of a cat food should be the primary reason for the food you choose for your cat. When checking the label, be sure to check what nutrients the cat food contains and how much there is. If you compare this to a cat’s daily intake needs and that is not enough, then you can use it Cat Supplements from Scruffy Paws make up for the deficit.
As carnivores, cats need meat protein from meat such as poultry (turkey and chicken), beef, and fish. Eggs are also a great source of protein. Protein is important for the optimal function of the body system, the regeneration of body tissue and the maintenance of a healthy coat, healthy skin, claws and teeth. Fats that come from the meat of a brand of cat food are critical to the wellbeing of cats. Whenever possible, look for a brand fortified with essential fatty acids like Omega 3 and Omega 6.
While carbohydrates shouldn’t dominate your cat’s diet, they should undoubtedly be included in it. Carbohydrates are easy to digest and quickly available as a source of energy. Grains like wheat and rice are ideal carbohydrates to include in cat food. Another important component is water.
Cats tend to drink less water than they should, and owners can increase their intake by making sure their food contains it. Without enough water, cats cannot clear toxins, metabolize and distribute nutrients, and maintain an even body temperature.
Additional cat food ingredients include vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, and D. For minerals, your kitten needs calcium, iron, magnesium, sodium, and chloride. Vitamins and minerals are important for optimal functioning of the body system, including digestion, circulation, and the central nervous system.
Types of cat foods
Cat foods come in three main categories: dry, semi-moist, and wet. While there is a merit and nutritional value in everyone, some are better than others, although cats’ individual needs can vary. An essential part of choosing cat food is studying what types and amounts of preservatives and additive manufacturers are being used.
As mentioned earlier, keeping your kitten optimally hydrated can be difficult as cats have become used to consuming much of their daily water intake through food. Hence, you won’t find your cat swallowing water from a bowl like a dog would. From this perspective, moist cat food is the cheapest option as its water content replaces dry and semi-moist food. Wet cat food is also ideal for picky eaters as it is more flavorful than other types.
Your cat’s age
As cats get older, their nutritional needs change. Because older cats are much less active than their younger ones, they don’t need as many high-energy nutrients. Pregnant and lactating cats require more nutrients to sustain the litter during pregnancy. Kittens are active and playful, and their bodies are still developing and growing. Therefore, their nutritional needs are different from those of an adult cat.
With unique metabolisms, some kittens maintain lean physiques while others tend to pack a few too many pounds. Obesity is unhealthy for cats and can shorten their lifespan. If your cat is plump, ask your veterinarian about a good brand of diet food.
What to Avoid
When shopping for cat food, the same saying applies to every purchase: If you shop cheaply, you get cheap. However, that doesn’t mean you have to go to the other extreme and buy the most expensive brands, provided they’re nutritionally superior. Instead, do some comparative shopping and determine which food provides your cat with the best nutrition and remains affordable.
There are some ingredients that you should avoid in cat food or buy a brand that will keep them to a minimum. For example, the term “meat by-product” means that the cat food does not contain actual meat. While this won’t be harmful to your cat, real meat is far better for them. “Meat and bone meal” is not as good for a cat as authentic meat products.
While grains make great carbohydrates for cats, they shouldn’t be your main ingredient. Some dry foods have been found to contain up to 50% grain meal. Cat food should contain more protein than carbohydrates. Feeding your cat this type of food can lead to unhealthy weight gain.