CATS ARE PURE CARNIVORES! This is the best way to start a discussion on feline nutrition. Cats have evolved very little from their ancient ancestors and have remained carnivourous hunters. This is why it is so important to feed your cat a well balanced diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates.
Just as we humans spend more money on quality food vs. low end products, the same principle applies to cat food. Cheaper "grocery store" brands may seem to be a cost affective solution at the time but will only lead to more problems down the road. These cheaper brands mainly consist of low quality grain fillers (corn,wheat,rice) apposed to quality meats. They are cheaper because the ingredients are cheaper, but don't be surprised if you end up with more vet visits because of this. Cats will also have to eat more of a low quality food because of its poor nutritional content.
Low quality foods often also lead to many health risks such as obesity, allergies and poor dental health.
Ingredients to AVOID: These should NOT be found in a quality cat food
1. BHT, BHA and Ethoxyquin - These are chemical preservatives that are used in dry food, but are suspected to be cancer causing. Note that these chemicals have been banned from human consumption for over 50 years.
2. Meat "By-Products" - By definition from the AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officers) by-products are "The non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals. It includes, but is not limited to, lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, partially defatted low-temperature fatty tissue and stomachs and intestines freed of their contents. It does not include hair, horns, teeth and hooves." YUMMY! A rule of thumb is that any protein in a food should be named (Chicken,Turkey,etc...)
3. Any type of artificial coloring or flavoring. Examples being FD&C Blue NO. 1, Red NO. 40, Yellow NO. 5. These may make the food look good to us, but add no nutritional value to the food.
4. Although not as dangerous, a cat food should be either grain free or only use quality grains. The main grain to avoid is CORN! Many cat and dog food companies use corn as a cheap filler. Corn is also considered to be one of the highest causes of allergies in both cats and dogs. Other grains to avoid would be wheat and rice. All of these grains are just empty calories.
Dry and Wet Food:
A cat should be fed a diet of BOTH dry and wet food. A wet cat food can be upwards of 75% water and this is exactly why it is important for a cats nutrition. Cats do not have a strong thirst drive, which goes back to them being carnivorous hunters (where they would get most of their liquid from their live prey). Because most modern cats aren't eating live food, they often do not take in enough water which can lead to very dangerous medical conditions such as urinary tract infection/blockage. Dry food is also important for the cat to get what it needs nutritionally and it can help with their dental hygeine.
Examples of Excellent cat food:
1. Taste of the Wild- Website
2. Blue Wilderness / Blue Buffalo - Website
3. Simply Nourish- Website
4. Natures Variety Instinct - Website
5. Innova EVO / Innova - Website
6. Wellness CORE / Wellness Complete Health - Website