How to Choose Good Cat Food for Cats

Cat owners face a wide array of food types, flavors, and formulas when selecting a healthy cat food. Read cat food labels carefully to choose a good food for cats. Make sure the food meets nutritional guidelines for cats in general and also matches any special health needs your cat has.


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    Search the product label for a nutritional guarantee. Make sure the food manufacturer displays a nutritional guarantee approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). This is sometimes called the AAFCO statement, and it guarantees that the cat food meets minimum nutritional requirements established by the AAFCO.
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    Buy a food that is appropriate for your cat's age. This is often referred to on cat food labels as "life stage." A cat's nutritional needs fluctuate with age.
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    Select a food formulated for your cat's special health circumstances, if any. For example, there are weight control formulas for obese cats, and adult maintenance formulas for slim cats. There are also formulas for cats with urinary tract problems, diabetes and other health concerns.
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    Read the ingredients on the package label. Ingredients are listed according to their quantity.
    • Animal-derived ingredients such as meat, poultry, eggs, or fish should be listed first. This is an important sign of a high-quality cat food.
    • Check that other nutritional necessities for cats are listed on the label, such as arachidonic acid, arginine, linoleic acid, retinyl palmitate or acetate, and taurine.
    • Choose food that contain a high level of protein and low level of carbohydrates.
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    Choose what type of food to feed your cat. The 3 choices are canned food, dry food, and semi-moist food. It is recommended that you choose canned or semi-moist, as this can help prevent urinary tract problems, diabetes, weight gain, and many other health problems that dry food can cause. Dry food also doesn't clean teeth - this is a myth.
    • Dry food is typically packaged in boxes, bags, or plastic jugs. It is often used for "free choice" meals. This means you fill the cat's dish and the cat chooses when to eat. Dry food does not require refrigeration. However, it is sometimes less digestible compared to other cat food types. Dry food is usually cheaper; but it may be more expensive in the long run due to vet bills.
    • Canned food is wet and usually in cans, but sometimes is packaged in small plastic trays with lids that peel off. It is used for cats that prefer to eat at set meal times. Uneaten canned food needs refrigeration.
    • Semi-moist food typically comes packaged in pouches. It can be fed free choice. Uneaten semi-moist food does not require refrigeration, but it begins to dry out after opening.
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    Pick a food that your cat likes. Cats are notoriously finicky eaters. The most carefully selected and healthy cat food is worthless if your pet won't eat it.
    • Choose flavors your cat enjoys. Some cats disdain fish, but will readily eat beef or lamb. Cat food is made with a variety of main protein sources, including poultry, fish, other seafood, beef, lamb, liver, and eggs.
    • Accommodate your cat's eating habits when selecting a food. Beware that grazing can cause your cat to become overweight so it is better to schedule meals consisting of a can of wet, meaty food. Some cats enjoy a variety of dry, canned, and semi-moist meals, though dry food or kibble should not make up more than 50% of your cat's diet.
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    Buy the best quality cat food possible within your budget constraints. The most nutritious cat foods tend to cost more.


  • Do not give cats supplements unless recommended by your veterinarian. Cats need a very specific amount of nutrients. Getting either too much or too little of these nutrients can harm your cat's health. A healthy cat food should give your cat a sufficient supply of necessary nutrients.

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Categories: Feeding Cats