A large bowl with cat food, and two curious cats looking at it

How to Choose the Best Food for Your Cat

Though cats may have the proverbial nine lives, that doesn’t mean you don’t want what’s best for them in the life they are leading today.  That’s why it’s essential to give your cat the right kind of food. But how do you know what qualifies as “the right cat food”? 

Read on because we have a few tips for choosing the best food for your cat.

To Choose the Best Cat Food, You Need to Understand Your Cat’s Nutritional Needs

If your cat doesn’t have access to the right food, it can lead to various health problems. Cats are prone to obesity, pancreatitis, Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD), diarrhea, and heart disease. And, if their food doesn’t have the right amount of fat and protein, they can start to lose their hair. You need to pick the best cat food to help your cat avoid these illnesses and live their full life expectancy of 13 years (or more).

Here are some things to look for the next time you are in the cat food aisle:

1. Protein

Cats possess more significant protein needs than their canine companions. The AAFCO (The Association of American Feed Control Officials) nutrient profiles establish a minimum protein threshold of 6.5 g/100 kcal for adult cats and 7.5 g/100 kcal for pregnant and nursing cats and kittens. Said another way, adult cats and kittens need at least 26% and 30% protein on a dry matter basis.

Numerous commercially available dry cat foods go beyond this benchmark, providing approximately 1.5 to 2 times more protein than the minimum required by AAFCO for adult cats. So, pay close attention to your cat’s weight, which can increase if they get too much protein (or food).

2. Grains and gluten

This is a wildly controversial topic amongst veterinarians and cat food brands. And most pet foods incorporate grains as a valuable carbohydrate source. These grains offer cats an easily metabolizable energy source. 

However, some cat owners prefer to exclude grains from their cat’s diet. Interestingly, some experts in feline nutrition advocate for a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet as a healthier option for cats, although this remains a contentious topic with varying opinions.

3. Byproducts

This is another one of those touchy subjects. In general, avoid foods that are high in byproducts. However, by-products encompass organs with excellent digestibility and nutritional value, such as the liver and lungs. 

Contrary to misleading advertising tactics, pet food ingredients labeled as by-products do not include substances like hair, horns, or hooves. It is a misconception to deem by-products as “unfit” for human consumption, although it is true that they are less commonly used in human food preferences in the U.S. Most meat consumed by humans is sourced from skeletal muscle rather than organ meats and other by-products.

4. Lifestage

Your cat’s age is a consideration when determining the best cat food. Kitten food typically boasts a higher caloric content while delivering essential nutrients for a growing kitten’s development. While it won’t adversely affect the adult cat, except for the extra calorie intake, the kitten should not consume food specifically formulated for adult cats.

So if you have multiple feline companions at home of varying ages, you may need to select different foods for them based on their stage in life.

Your Friends at Pet Evolution Can Help You Choose the Best Cat Food 

If you have questions about the best cat food for your furry friend, stop at your nearest Pet Evolution. We categorize pet foods in three ways—select, classic, and signature, so there are no surprises, and you can make the best choice. And, we have some amazing food toppers to “top off” your cat’s culinary delights, too. This is a great way to sneak in some extra nutrition for your beloved pet.

However, our team will happily answer any questions and recommend the best foods to keep your kitties healthy for the long run.