You have read how holistic pet enthusiasts feel that an all-natural homemade, sometimes raw, diet is the best diet for cats. Organic would be even better! The problem is that you barely have time to cook for yourself never mind your cat. If you’re counting pennies just living on Lean Cuisine, how can you be expected to afford organic chicken and whip out the food processor for ole Gizmo?
Fear not, fellow cat lover. Even if you don’t have the time to prepare homemade meals for Gizzie, you can still find the best commercial or premium foods that will give him the nutrition he needs.
When selecting cat food for your furry loved one, inspect the label for claims of “natural” and “whole foods” even the USDA certified organic seal (though that food could be more expensive.) But don’t just take the front label on face value. Now read the ingredients. If the ingredient list looks like something you would have liked to have made for Gizmo at home, then you’ve hit the jackpot! Look for whole protein sources like chicken, beef or turkey and healthy carbohydrates like brown rice and potatoes. Make sure the ingredients don’t have an overabundance of by-products and grains when compared with whole protein sources.
Ensure the label carries the Association of Animal Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) certification of “complete and balanced nutrition.” This certification says that the food is the correct balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates for cats. Taurine should also be added to the ingredient label because this amino acid is reduced during the cooking process of pet food, and a diet lacking in taurine can cause serious health issues including heart failure and blindness.
Though you’ll find pros and cons for both wet and dry, many experts suggest feeding a mix of both. (Some feel that wet promotes dental decay and others feel that dry contributes to diabetes and obesity.) Though premium brands promoted as having natural ingredients are often more expensive, the most expensive food may not have the best ingredients. Some expensive foods still have chemical preservatives, fillers and lesser protein sources (like by-products).
Follow the feeding guidelines and don’t overfeed your pet. Leaving dry food out for free feeding risks overconsumption and, as a result, obesity.
Maybe, instead, you feel you can incorporate some healthy meat into your cat’s diet. You can then purchase canned cat foods that are a vegetarian base and add your own meat that you might be preparing for your own family. If this is the diet you select, check with your veterinarian to see if you should be adding a cat supplement as well.
If you don’t have time for homemade meals for your cat, you’re like most of us who barely have time to feed ourselves. But if you take a few moments to familiarize yourself with cat food labels and ingredients, you can find a healthy food that keeps Gizmo glossy, fit and full of energy.