Best Cat Food
Do you want to make sure your cat stays healthy, happy and content? Of course, you do, you are a loyal cat owner after all, dedicated to providing love, attention, comfort and care for your beloved pet. As well as affection it’s your job to provide kitty with nourishing and appetizing cat food.
How much thought do you give to the food you dish up every day? Are you a cat-food connoisseur? Do you browse on-line and cruise along the isles of pet stores and supermarkets, feverishly seeking the very best in culinary cuisine for your pampered puss? Or are you more haphazard in your approach?
Feeding Tiddles whatever you have left in the cupboard or grabbing whatever happens to be on offer at the local store? We don’t advocate spending every spare minute compiling meal planners and poring over ingredients, life’s too short to become a cat food guru, but we do ask that you take a moment to think about the grub you offer to your furry friend.
- Why Is There So Much Cat Food to Choose From?
- Who Can Help Me to Choose High-Quality Food for My Cat?
- What Makes Cat Food “Healthy”?
- How Is Cat Food Assessed in Terms of Nutrients?
- How Do I Choose the Right Food for My Cat?
- Can I Give My Homemade Cat Food?
- Can I Give My Cat Human Food?
- Can Good Food Make My Cat Happy?
- What Ingredients Should I Look For?
- What Ingredients Should I Avoid?
- What’s Better for Kitty – Wet Food or Dry Food?
- How Much Food Does My Cat Need?
- Which Are the Cat Food Brand Leaders?
- Best Wet Cat Food for your Cat
- Best Dry Cat Food for your Cat
- Best Cat Food for Kittens
- Best Cat Food for Overweight Cats
Why Is There So Much Cat Food to Choose From?
We agree, it can be confusing – meander along the cat food aisle and you will be met with numerous brands and countless recipe choices– it’s enough to make you want to hide away in the nearest box with your feline companion (if there’s a box to hand we all know there’s a cat just waiting to climb in).
How do you choose the right brand of cat food to suit your pet? From the need for essential vitamins to the merits of crunchy kibble and back again there’s plenty to digest. Allow us to take you on a journey of discovery – put down that food bowl and stretch out by the fire as we take a look at cat food and how you go about making sure your kitty gets the very best.
Who Can Help Me to Choose High-Quality Food for My Cat?
It’s wise to listen to what others have to say about cat food – a good reputation is an indicator that the manufacturer is decent and reliable, and that the cat food is good quality. You can also turn to the professionals for help – have you heard of AAFCO? The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) can give you some peace of mind when you are looking for cat food that offers great nutrition – keep an eye out for the AAFCO statement (you will find it on the cat food label).
AAFCO make it their business to appraise the nutritional value of cat food and they use two tests to determine their results: the feeding test and the formulation test. The formulation method comprises of a nutritional analysis that AAFCO carry out on the ingredients that make up the cat food. The feeding method adopts a more “hands on” approach – whereby cats are carefully watched as they tuck into their food – and are then assessed to see how well nutrients have been digested.
What Makes Cat Food “Healthy”?
Getting the correct balance of all the good things your puss needs is key to making sure he thrives. So, what does your cat need to get from his food in order to be a healthy and happy kitty?
- Protein – A great source of energy and provides your puss with the meaty flavors he craves to meet his carnivorous needs. Also, great to help maintain healthy bones and muscles.
- Fats and Omega Fatty Acids – If you want to make sure your cat has a beautifully silky fur coat and healthy skin then you need to make sure he gets his quotient of Omega 3 and Omega 6. Energy-rich fats also help with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins D, K, E and A.
- Carbohydrates – Another valuable source of energy enabling your cat to run, pounce, climb and generally enjoy an active lifestyle. Carbohydrates also provide fiber which helps with digestion.
- Vitamins and Minerals – These are essential in order to make sure your cat bolsters his immune system and stays fit and well.
How Is Cat Food Assessed in Terms of Nutrients?
If you take a look at the label you will see that the nutrients are listed in percentage format e.g. vitamin A 4%, calcium 20% (of a cat’s daily recommended intake). It’s important to remember that dry food often appears to have more nutritional value than wet cat food, that’s because there is less water content and cat food nutrition is generally calculated on a “dry” basis.
How Do I Choose the Right Food for My Cat?
It is really hard to select the best food for your cat, the selection above represents a small sample of the huge amount of cat food on offer. You need to assess what your cat needs first off – there are foods that cater for different life stages such as kitten or senior.
These foods are tailored to meet the needs of that age group and will have appropriate vitamins and minerals added in support of this. Does your cat have any health issues? A cat with digestive or urinary problems might benefit from food produced specifically to reduce symptoms or help alleviate problems. Similarly, if you own a rather fat cat it could be wise to purchase low calorie / low fat food.
Can I Give My Homemade Cat Food?
Cats need certain nutrients to help them stay healthy, cat food is designed to provide the goodness that your fluffy friend needs. That said there are recipes that you can try for yourself at home if you would like to have a go at making your own cat food.
This can be time-consuming and you will have to gather ingredients and roll up your sleeves but making your own cat food can be beneficial. It’s a good idea if you have a cat that has certain food intolerance and allergies, or if you have an overweight kitty. You can oversee exactly what is being put into the cat food and make sure you use top-notch, healthy ingredients.
Can I Give My Cat Human Food?
In general, odd slice of ham or bit of salmon would surely be welcomed by your pampered puss, five-star dining at its best! However, there are certain foods that can cause your cat real harm so make sure you never let your cat munch in any of the following: chocolate, grapes, garlic, onions, raisins and caffeine (no coffee for kitty – even if he’s had a late night on the tiles)!
It’s also important to note that cats aren’t good with dairy – cheese can play havoc with their digestive system and as for cow’s milk – it’s big NO NO! Fresh water offers all the reftreshment a cat could wish for.
Can Good Food Make My Cat Happy?
When it comes to feeding your cat go for high-quality food that has its ingredients clearly listed. Steer clear of fillers and unspecified ingredients and make sure you feed you cat in-line with the guidelines given (but don’t leave your cat too hungry)! Good food provides all the essential nutrients that your cat needs to enjoy life so make sure kitty gets what he deserves.
What Ingredients Should I Look For?
When you peruse the many brands on the market pay attention to the list of ingredients – they are in order of volume, so ideally the healthier ingredients listed below should be near the top of the list.
- Named animal protein – Not just “meat,” that’s far too generic! Think chicken, beef, lamb, salmon, tuna etc. Don’t be surprised if you find a few animal organs listed afterwards such as chicken livers. You might also see chicken meal, duck meal etc listed – this relates to meat that’s been “cooked down” and offers a fine source of protein (you often find “meal” listed in dry cat food).
- Poultry or chicken fat – Again we want the fat to be identified, rather than just a generic “animal fat.” Chicken fat is a good source of Omega 6.
- Eggs – A great source of protein!
- Taurine – An essential fatty acid that can be found in meat products, it helps to maintain heart function and eyesight. It can also aid in reproduction, little fluffy kittens anyone?
- Fish – A good source of protein – unless your cat happens to be allergic to fish (some cats are – in which case don’t go for cat food containing this ingredient).
- Fish oil – Contains Omega 3, which helps your cat to maintain a healthy coat
- Green vegetables, beet pulp, corn bran, wheat bran – A great source of fiber (which aids digestion) but watch out for wheat and corn – wheat is linked to allergies and corn to cat diabetes.
What Ingredients Should I Avoid?
When you are looking at those cat food labels keep an eye out for a few ingredients that are considered less than desirable – and steer clear where possible!
- By-Products – There has been quite a lot of debate surrounding this topic and many believe that by-products should never be used to produce animal feed. However, there are some that feel by-products such as kidneys can offer high-quality protein.
- Unspecified animal fat and protein – low in quality, unspecified ingredients offer no nutritional value and could basically be made up of just about anything. We could compare it to eating a sausage that contains only 3% pork, with the other 97% being made up of “meat” and “fats” – who knows what you are putting into your mouth! Extend the same courtesy to your cat, don’t give him food that could contain inferior ingredients.
- Corn meal gluten or wheat gluten – There’s nothing of value here for your cat – these are simply fillers designed to bulk out animal feed, and they can even contain mould and unhealthy toxins. Wheat has been linked to cat allergies and corn has been connected to cat diabetes. Neither are things you would like your cat to suffer from!
- BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole), BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) and Ethoxyquin – chemical preservatives that offer no nutritional value – best avoided!
What’s Better for Kitty – Wet Food or Dry Food?
There doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer to which is best for your feline. Let’s explore a little more about both.
- For a start dry cat food tends to be cheaper, you can buy giant sacks of the stuff (providing you have somewhere clean and safe to store it)!
- Dry food also lasts well, if you leave it out it won’t go off as quickly as the wet variety.
- As a general rule dry food tends to be high in carbohydrates and provides a great energy boost to your kitty.
- Well you don’t always get as much bang for your buck with this (cans and pouches are smaller and although you can buy in bulk it tends to work out pricier than a big sack of dry food).
- Some cats do prefer the flavor of wet food but it’s worth bearing in mind that once you have opened the can the food inside can go off relatively quickly (if you’re not using a whole tin your will need to put whatever is left-over in the fridge to keep it fresh).
- Wet food tends to be rich in fat in protein and has less in the way of carbs than dry food.
You need to choose whether to go for wet or dry food based on your own feline, consider his preferences and tastes (we all know cats can be, shall we say, slightly picky) and think about whether he has any particular dietary or health requirements that may influence the type of food you go for. Whether you opt for wet or dry (or a mix of both) you need to ensure your fluffy friend follows a balanced diet and is provided with all the goodness he needs to live a healthy and happy life.
How Much Food Does My Cat Need?
The last thing you want is a fat cat, the number of obese cats has climbed steadily over the years and over-feeding your cat will leave him prone to all sorts of health issues (no-one wants a poorly cat, or extortionate vet bills for that matter). A healthy cat is a happy cat so make sure you control the number of calories your puss is consuming, playing with your pet can help to keep him active (lazing by the fire is a nice way to spend the afternoon but your cat needs to engage in a little activity to keep a jelly-belly at bay)!
We are not advocating you weigh your cat on a weekly basis – simply that you keep an eye on him, you should be able to notice the difference between a svelte and strong cat and a flabby and stout one.
In order to provide the optimum amount of food you need to consider your cats metabolism and how active he is. An outdoor cat who enjoys roaming, chasing and climbing will expel more energy than an indoor cat, so therefore will need more in the way of sustenance. The labelling on cat food will provide a guideline to daily intakes but you should keep in mind that different cats may eat different amounts – they are individuals and some are hungrier than others.
If you’re not sure where to start we suggest portion-control feeding. You simply measure the cat food into a bowl (based upon the suggested amount shown on the labelling). We like the idea of providing two meals a day to prevent your cat from wolfing the whole lot down in one, so you could put half down in the morning and the rest down around 8 to 12 hours later. If you find that your cat is devouring what’s in front of him very quickly and seems to be constantly looking for more then you may need to adjust your portion sizes to suit his appetite.
If you prefer to let your cat take control of his dietary needs you could go for “free-choice” feeding, which incorporates leaving plenty of dry food (it doesn’t go off as easily) down. This way your puss can help himself whenever he’s feeling peckish. The down-side? You don’t know how much your cat is eating and he could end up piling on the pounds.
If you are out all day or going away for an evening there are some great timer dishes on the market that can be set to open and offer food whenever you think appropriate. They keep food fresh and make sure puss doesn’t gorge himself when you head out of the door!
One final note – its tempting to give your cat a few treats, the odd tit-bit now and again won’t do any harm but don’t make a habit of it. Too many treats can mean extra pounds and put your cat off eating his dinner.
Treats aren’t known for their nutritional value and you want puss to tuck in to his healthy and wholesome grub rather than wait for snacks.
Which Are the Cat Food Brand Leaders?
Finding the right cat food for your pet can be challenging, you need a starting point, and that involves familiarising yourself with what’s on offer. Ingredients and formulas will vary from brand to brand – some cat food is considered good for all and other cat food is produced to meet the needs of certain groups e.g. kittens, mature cats, overweight moggies and cats with certain dietary needs. One thing’s for sure whatever type of cat you have there’s a cat food out there to suit! Let’s take a look at a few of the brand leaders and what they have to offer.
Canidae – We really like their tag line “Pet Food Made by Pet People” as that’s what you really want for your pet – wholesome food produced by people who care. Canidae state they use quality farm-fresh ingredients and only the freshest meat and fish (think lamb, salmon, bison and duck) is used to produce the wet and dry food in their range. Health and nutrition is high on the list for Canidae and that gets a big-thumbs-up from us.
Blue Buffalo – All of their recipes are made with only the finest natural ingredients (all real meat) and Blue Buffalo describe their food as wholesome and nutritious. There are a number of ranges to choose from including food to suit all ages from kittens through to seniors, and you can select wet or dry depending on your cat’s personal tastes.
Whiskas – Offer a range of products for cats at all stages of their lives, for cats under 12 months, cats over 12 months and senior cats of seven years plus. Whiskas cat food contains plenty of vitamins and there are some appealing flavors too – beef, chicken or seafood.
Purina’s Pro Plan – Designed to appeal to the fussiest of eaters, Purina meets the needs of cats that have special nutritional needs too. There’s wet and dry food to choose from and plenty of fish and chicken-based recipes to provide a much-needed protein boost.
Encore – There’s lots of tasty real meat (100% natural goodness) in Encore recipes, that means there are no fillers or nasty chemicals added. Ingredients are top quality so you can be safe in the knowledge your cat is getting all the nutrients he needs.
Merrick – Kitty can choose from chicken, beef, liver and salmon, and there’s good news if your cat has a sensitive tummy – there are no grains lurking (or vegetable fibers for that matter).
Eukanuba – Jam-packed with animal protein Eukanuba cat food is especially great for cats that are on the chubby side! There’s tasty lamb or chicken to choose from and liver is added for a nutritional boost.
Nature’s Variety – Plenty of real meat to be found in Nature Valley and lots of tasty flavors too – including chicken, duck, rabbit and tuna. You can go for dry, wet or raw food, depending on the preference of your kitty.
NUTRO – Suitable for both house cats and those that like to explore the great outdoors, Nutro is also great for all age cats. Ingredients are of high quality (real meat and fish), so even fussy eaters should enjoy it!
You are likely to see many of these brands and numerous others if you visit a pet store or supermarket. There are also a few lesser known brands on the market that offer an alternative to the big brand names. It’s worth doing your research and remember you might have to try out one or two different brands until you find one that suits your cat. Allow us to give you a helping hand and pick out our favourites in the following categories:
Best Wet Cat Food for your Cat
Some cats prefer soft, wet food (especially more mature cats and little kittens with tiny mouths), it’s easier to chew. Here are three brands your puss might want to get his teeth into:
1. Purina Fancy Feast Medleys Shredded Fare Collection Gourmet Wet Cat Food
Choose from chicken, turkey, wild salmon, tuna or a variety pack featuring chicken turkey and tuna! Now, that’s what we call choice! Purina Fancy Feast Medleys Shredded Fare Collection is gourmet by name and nature – offering a feast for the senses with great taste and texture.
Your kitty will love the savoury sauces, and good quality protein (top of the range fish and poultry), there’s also real veg, garden greens, and a smidgen of cheese too! You will love feeding your fluffy friend food that offers balanced nutrition, provides tons of vitamins and minerals and provides a welcome energy boost.
2. SHEBA Perfect Portions Pate Wet Cat Food Trays – Seafood
A lovely selection for your pampered pet – SHEBA Perfect Portions Pate Wet Cat Food Trays is a very fishy treat! We’re talking REAL fish too – no bits and bobs squashed together with a bit of flavouring added for good measure! There’s a selection of tender whitefish, tasty salmon and delicious tuna to feast on.
We like the fact that this food doesn’t contain any corn, soy or wheat – and you won’t find any nasty artificial preservatives or flavors either. What you will find is lots of minerals and vitamins – essential for good health (promoting good digestion and boosting the immune system) and also helping kitty to maintain his silky fur coat.
3. Meow Mix Tender Favorites Wet Cat Food
A meaty and fishy treat for your beloved puss – Meow Mix Tender Favorites Wet Cat Food contains a range of flavors including – real tuna & whole shrimp in sauce, real chicken & beef in sauce, and real salmon & crab meat in sauce. There’s a reoccurring word that jumps out at you from this range, and that’s the word REAL! Offering 100% complete and balanced nutrition, this is ideal yummy food for your cat or kitten.
Best Dry Cat Food for your Cat
Some owners prefer dry food for their cats, it can be less messy than the wet and mushy cat food on offer and tends to last longer. If you plan on heading out for the day you can fill you cats food bowl with dry food without worrying too much about it spoiling. Dry food is also often preferred by those who cats that use litter trays (wet food tends to equal smellier and sloppier cat poops in the tray – yuck)!
1. IAMS Proactive Health Original Adult Dry Cat Food
Produced with easily digestible ingredients and containing vitamin E to boost the immune system, IAMS Proactive Health Original Adult Dry Cat Food is an appetising option for your puss. IAMS also contains Omega 3 & 6 to make sure your feline keeps his coat and skin healthy and there’s added fibre to keep those muscles nice and strong. We like the fact you won’t find any nasty fillers bulking out this food, there’s no soy to worry about and nothing artificial added.
2. Purina ONE Indoor Advantage Adult Dry Cat Food
As the name suggests, Purina ONE Indoor Advantage Adult Dry Cat Food is perfect for indoor cats that prefer the cosiness of the home to exploring the great outdoors. Indoor cats have different needs and have a tendency to pile on the pounds if they overeat without getting enough exercise.
Purina provides well-rounded nutrition that will help maintain strong muscle tone and is formulated to offer balanced nutrition rather than empty calories. This food also contains Omega -6 fatty acids which helps to keep your cat’s nice a shiny, and his skin in good condition.
3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Natural Adult Dry Cat Food
If your cat enjoys chicken then he will really enjoy this tasty food! BLUE Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Adult Dry Cat Food is packed with REAL meat – the chicken (which has been thoroughly deboned) is full of protein. Blue Buffalo also contains natural sources of fiber (great for the digestive system) ad Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids which ensure your furry friend maintains a fabulously healthy and shiny coat.
Best Cat Food for Kittens
You want to make sure your kitten gets the best start in life. You have given him a comfy bed and make sure he has toys to play with, fuss and love and a clean water bowl, but you also need to take into account what food you are going to provide. Let’s take a look at three of the best.
1. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Kitten Food – For Indoor Kittens
Hill’s Science Diet Dry Kitten Food (chicken recipe), has been specifically created with indoor cats in mind. There’s lots of fiber for good digestive health and it’s made with high quality ingredients to provide nutrients and – make sure the litter box isn’t awful to smell and look at! Natural means no added artificial bits and bobs such as preservatives, flavors and colors. You will also find an antioxidant blend wit vitamins E and C which helps to boost the immune system.
2. Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Cat Food
A grain free food that offers balanced nutrition, Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Cat Food is great for your baby cat – especially if he has a sensitive tum. Kittens benefit from protein rich food and this one offers great flavor – with yummy (and natural) chicken, turkey and cranberries. Made in the USA, Wellness CORE contains no wheat, soy or corn to worry about and you won’t find animal by-products or artificial add-ins such as preservatives, colorings or flavorings.
3. ROYAL CANIN FELINE HEALTH NUTRITION Kitten dry cat food
Formulated to meet the needs of kittens ROYAL CANIN FELINE HEALTH NUTRITION Kitten dry cat food provides the nutritional goodness for development and growth. Ingredients are carefully selected (such as rice) to make sure your puss can easily digest the food and you will find a balance of vitamins and minerals to boost the immune system.
Dental care is important for kitten’s too, the kibble in Royal Canin is small and will help to break down tartar and plaque which can form on your kitten’s teeth.
Best Cat Food for Overweight Cats
Got a kitty that’s a bit to soft and cuddly? Over-feeding can be a real problem and if your cat isn’t getting enough exercise (instead he’s spending much of his day curled up in a cute sleepy ball on the mat) you need to think about how much and what you are feeding him. You can buy cat food that’s been specifically tailored for overweight pussy cats.
1. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Cat Food
Made in the USA (backed by the wellness guarantee), Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Cat Food offers balanced and complete nutrition. Hungry cats like to eat enough to fill their bellies and this food is designed to satisfy hunger whilst helping your cat to maintain a healthy weight. The ingredients are all natural and include deboned chicken (a great source of protein), you won’t find any wheat, soy or meat by-products and nothing artificial, such as preservatives etc.
2. Nutro Specialized Care Adult Dry Cat Food
Perfect for weight management, Nutro Specialized Care Adult Dry Cat Food is nutritionals and wholesome. The ingredients include farm-bred chickens and yummy brown rice, and you will also find plenty of vitamins and minerals. There’s no by-products, corn or soy and no artificial flavors, or preservatives. We particularly love the “purr guarantee” which states that Nutro are so confident in their product that they offer your money back if you’re not 100% satisfied.
3. Hill’s Science Diet Cat Food for Healthy Weight and Weight Management
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight dry cat food is a great choice for cats that have a little issue regarding weight! The formula offers plenty of balanced nutrition, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. The ingredients are natural too, so you won’t get any artificial preservatives, colorings or flavorings, there’s an added antioxidant blend to boost the immune system too.
So, let’s summarise. We suggest you feed you cat healthy, wholesome food, provide fresh water and a comfortable bed. Give your puss plenty of love and attention, get a few select cat toys lined up for an energetic game. If you can get those basic things in place your beloved cat will love you forever more.
We know that our feline friends like to portray an air of sophistication and grace, but deep down they just want affection, good food, a cool drink and a place to rest their head – just like us humans really!