Picking the right cat food for your purring friend can be a tough decision. Do you get overwhelmed in the cat food aisle?? Urinary health, organic, low fat, sensitive stomach, sensitive skin, indoor formula, dry, wet, etc…..the list goes on and on. With such a difference in cost and variety, we can see why you have so many questions about cat food choices. Here we will explain the basics for making your choices on what to feed.
PET FOOD QUALITY CONTROL
First of all, cats are carnivorous. Reach back to your biology days and remember that this means they eat meat. A good commercial cat food should handle both of this need along with necessary minerals and vitamins. One of the easiest ways to see if a cat food is good is check for a statement from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO.) AAFCO is an association that tests pet foods for quality. Pet food makers VOLUNTEER their foods for testing to receive approval. No pet food is required to have their food tested. So when looking at a bag or can of food, look an AAFCO statement that says that the food is “complete and balanced.” This means that the food is good for all stages of the cat’s life as well as provides the right proportions of nutrients.
DRY VS CAN FOOD
Now let’s talk about the dry versus canned food dilemma. Both are appropriate for providing nutrition but is there ever a situation when your veterinarian will recommend one over the other??? The answer is yes. The vets at Animal Medical Center agree that dry food is better for the teeth and for weight control. When a cat chews the dry food (if they chew it!) it does help to knock off tartar and keep the teeth clean. Also, we see more weight control issues with pets on can food only. So as a general rule, our veterinarians will recommend dry food as the base of the cat’s diet. Now canned food can be given too. It can be added to the dry food as a treat. Canned food does have a lot of water in it so if a cat needs help with hydration, canned food may be best. Also, canned food is good for cats who are having mouth pain where it is tough to chew the dry. If you are not sure which to use, ask our vets at Animal Medical Center.
SENSITIVE STOMACH? LOW CAL? SENSITIVE SKIN?
Now what about diets that are specific to certain needs-sensitive stomach, low calorie, sensitive skin??? Although every AAFCO approved food provides the needs of every stage of life, sometimes certain cats need a boost in certain areas. Your veterinarian may recommend certain diets to help your cat achieve the best health. For instance, sensitive stomach diets might be best if your cat has some types of gastrointestinal problems. Low calorie is great for cats who need to lose weight. Sensitive skin diets sometimes help with skin allergy. For more information, again ask our vets for help on what to choose.
COMMERCIAL VS HOMEMADE DIETS
Finally, let’s discuss commercial versus homemade diets. As long as your pet gets the nutritional requirements, homemade diets are acceptable. Some cats simply won’t eat commercial diets and prefer “chef” made meals! You, however, must be careful to provide all that your cat needs. Simply cooking some chicken will not be enough. Cats need vitamins and minerals that should to be added. There are recipes available and websites that formulate homemade diets. Ask us and we can help.
Concerning the push for raw diets in pets, we at Animal Medical Center discourage this kind of diet. Yes, in the wild, animals eat raw food. However, our pets are domesticated and are susceptible to E. coli and other bacteria just like us. So, if you are going to feed a lean meat or egg, please be sure to cook it.
We hope this helps clear up some of the confusion on picking out cat diets. Scroll down set up an appointment online for more help or call 806-794-4118.