5 Things to Look for in a Quality Dry Cat Food
To help your cat live a lifetime of wellbeing, understanding what constitutes high quality dry cat food can make a big difference. Paying close attention to what goes into your cat’s bowl will not only keep them looking their best, but feeling their best, too. High quality nutrition could be considered a form of preventative medicine, potentially saving you future expenses from having to treat serious medical conditions.
With so many brands and products available today, what are the key factors to look for when choosing a quality dry cat food? Here are the top 5 things you should consider when selecting an appropriate diet for your cat:
The Unique Needs of Cats
Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they need to consume a meat protein diet and have a higher total protein requirement than other mammals, including dogs. Cats get certain key nutrients from meat—including taurine, arachidonic acid, vitamin A and vitamin B12—that they simply can’t get from plant-based foods. Without a steady supply of these nutrients, cats can suffer from liver and heart problems, not to mention skin irritation and hearing loss.
Whilst all brands are complete and balanced to ensure nutritional adequacy for cats, some brands still use inferior plant-based proteins in their recipes. Selecting a high protein, meat-rich brand like Wellness Complete Health and Wellness CORE can ensure that not only will the recipe have a meaty taste your cat will crave, but it will provide sufficient amounts of meat protein to naturally meet their nutritional carnivore needs for optimal health.
Complete & Balanced
In addition to the nutrients coming from meat proteins, cats require a wide array of other nutrients to keep them in optimal health, including fats and carbohydrates as well as vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and amino acids. The balance of these nutrients will vary according to the lifestyle and life stage of your cat so choosing a the right commercially prepared dry cat food brand to suit them will allow you to know you’re giving your cat the correct balance of nutrients and calories.
Today manufacturers ensure every recipe they produce meets the basic minimum nutritional requirements for cats as established by the Feline Nutrition Expert Subcommittee of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) . If a recipe states it is complete and balanced, this is your assurance that that it does in fact contain the right amount of each specific nutrient to promote the optimal health of your cat. If you are thinking of home cooking for your cat, achieving these same quantities and proportions of nutrients can be very challenging which is why we recommended cat parents feed nutritionally balanced commercial foods.
Read the Ingredient List
One of the best ways to see if you’ve chosen a quality dry cat food recipe is by reading the ingredient list on the back of the bag. Like human foods, the items are listed in order of proportional weight. The ingredient list should have fresh meat or fish listed as the first ingredient with concentrated meat meals as the second and third ingredients. This will indicate the food probably contains enough animal-source ingredients to supply essential amino acids and fatty acids.
Other high-quality ingredients to look for are ones that you recognize, such as chicken fat, salmon oil, rice and cranberries. Just as important as what goes into the recipe is what is excluded. Inferior quality ingredients to avoid include "By-products," "meat and bone meal," added sugars, chemical preservatives, including BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, and propyl gallate and artificial colors and flavors.
Look for Added Health Benefits
Every cat parent wants to their cat to have a shiny soft coat, for that litter box to contain smaller firmer stools and for their cat to live a long healthy life. A high-quality dry cat food will ensure complete and balanced nutrition for your cat, with additional supplements and superfoods that will help your cat look and feel their best, inside and out. High-quality added ingredients include:
- Omega fatty acid rich foods like salmon oil and flaxseed. These promote a soft, shiny coat and healthy skin.
- Dietary fiber from tomato pomace helps support intestinal health and promote firm small stools.
- Prebiotics such as chicory root extract help optimize digestion so your cat can get the most from their food.
- Probiotics are key to maintaining healthy bacterial balance in the gut. Make sure you look for these ingredients (such as Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product) to be listed in the ingredient list and in the guaranteed analysis. This is your way of knowing they will be present in the finished product your cat eats.
- Cranberries to help support urinary tract health.
- Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate. Cats are frequently jumping and leaping up and down, so supporting their joint health is key to maintaining their mobility and daily activity levels.
- Added vitamins such as Vitamin E and Vitamin A promote a strong immune system.
Feed a mix of wet and dry
Many veterinarians will agree that cats should eat a variety of food, both wet and dry, to help optimize their health as well as suit their unique food preferences and fussiness.
Many cats like to graze throughout the day making dry food a convenient option for cat parents since it can be left out for free feeding. As a more nutrient dense form of nutrition, dry food contains the extra health superfoods and inclusions that promote wellbeing. And the crunchy texture helps support dental health.
Canned cat food will have a moisture content upwards of 75% making it not only a tasty meal for a cat but a great source of hydration which is important for urinary tract health. High-quality wet cat foods should contain the same high quality ingredients that you find in dry food so avoid brands with unnamed “meat” ingredients, by-products, sugars and artificial ingredients.
Lastly, when it comes to finding the best high-quality dry cat food for your cat, the most important thing is your cat’s willingness to eat it. Cats can be known for fussiness and for their ability to turn their nose up at even the finest recipes, so winning their acceptance to love a new food whilst providing high quality nutrition is the goal for all cat parents.
At Wellness Natural Cat foods, every recipe we craft is based on our philosophy of always doing things the right way and never the easy way. Mealtime is more than just a bowl of food. It's the foundation to a longer and healthier life, together. Our thoughtfully prepared recipes are crafted to be as delicious as they are healthy which is why we use superior nutrients, superfoods, supplements and probiotics in every dry recipe to provide the foundation for whole-body health and wholesome, natural ingredients to satisfy every appetite. Best of all, with one of the largest cat wet ranges in premium natural brands, Wellness will have a recipe that every cat will love. In fact, 9 out of 10 cats love the taste of Wellness which is why every recipe we craft comes with a Catisfaction Guarantee.
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