6 Things Your Vet Wants You to Know About Cat Food

Your cat is as much a member of the family as any other member. You want to ensure that you are making the greatest decisions possible for their health, and this includes the food that you purchase for them. However, because there are so many types of pet food and ingredients available, it’s easy for people who own pets to become confused.

It is not as difficult as it may seem to provide a nourishing meal for your kitty companion. You might be able to avoid making some of the most typical blunders by following some advice from the experts.

1. There’s not one best kind of protein. 

Cats can obtain the animal protein, fat, and various vitamins and minerals that they require from a wide variety of food sources. Cats require animal protein. The source of the protein in commercial cat feeds could include chicken, poultry, beef, lamb, fish, liver, or “byproducts” derived from chicken or meat, which are also referred to as “meal.”

Any of these ingredients (in either wet or dry form), according to Joseph Wakshlag, DVM, an associate professor at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, are appropriate alternatives for an otherwise healthy cat that does not suffer from food allergies.

Look for the nutritional assurance offered by a product rather than being concerned about its components. It ought to state on its label that the product “provides complete and balanced nutrition,” as determined by tests conducted by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), or that “it is developed to satisfy the nutritional levels set by the AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles.” ” The majority of your cat’s diet shouldn’t consist of any foods (or treats) that don’t fit into one of these categories.

2. Byproducts aren’t bad.

Some manufacturers assert that their food is superior because it does not contain any animal byproducts or byproduct meals. These components are the ground-up remains of various sections of animal carcasses; examples of such components include bone, necks, feet, and intestines.

Wakshlag explains, “But I’m a great fan of utilizing byproducts.” They have a far greater variety and quantity of nutrients than plain beef. Instead of only the protein found in a chicken breast, a chicken byproduct, for instance, will provide you with things like vitamin A and vitamin D, as well as zinc and copper.

3. Even carnivores need carbs.

The grains and other carbs found in commercial cat food have a poor reputation.

Sherry Sanderson, DVM, a veterinary nutritionist at the University of Georgia, disagrees that cats should avoid carbohydrates because they are natural carnivores. However, the fact that cats are real carnivores does not make carbs hazardous for them. In the past ten years, she has observed a growing trend for low-carb diets for felines, although she strongly advises against using them. She claims that a low-carb diet often includes a high-fat diet, which places pets at increased risk for obesity and diabetes.

Another widespread misconception about pet food is that grains are little more than “filler” components that provide no significant benefits. “Grains provide many essential elements that both dogs and cats, as well as humans.” explains Sanderson. “Grains contain a lot of critical nutrients.”

And if you’re worried that your cat has an allergy to grains, you’re not completely off target — some cats can have allergies to grains, but the vast majority of cats don’t. They are more likely to have an allergy to the proteins found in animals.

4. Different ages have different needs.

Docosahexaenoic acid, also known as DHA, is a type of healthful fat that is essential for the development of a kitten’s brain and eyes. Kittens require DHA. “If a product claims to contain omega-3 fatty acids, look into it further to see which specific sort of omega-3 fatty acids it offers,” advises Sanderson. The omega-3 fatty acids found in plant foods, such as flaxseed, are not considered to be good sources of DHA.

Sanderson suggests feeding adult cats meals that contain fish oil, which supplies them with DHA and also helps to reduce inflammation, as well as probiotics, which provide nourishment for their good gut bacteria. As they age, cats require different nutrients, such as a higher percentage of fat in their diet. When your cat reaches the age of seven, see your veterinarian about whether or not it is time to move to a senior diet.

5. A higher price doesn’t always mean better quality.

Sanderson prefers to do research on the manufacturing procedures and ethical standards of pet food companies before making purchases rather than shopping for food solely on price. She prefers firms that manufacture their products in their facilities and conduct nutritional research to back up the promises they make about their products.

“In general, I do not advocate those diets,” she adds. “If a corporation is making a lot of money but puts it all into advertising and none into research — or they tell people things like it is dangerous to feed byproducts or cereals,” she continues, “then I do not recommend those diets.”

All pet food is subject to regulation by the FDA, which stipulates that for a brand to be sold in the United States, it must fulfill specific requirements. Despite this, she recommends that you steer clear of really low-cost food because the quality of its constituent parts might vary greatly.

6. You could be feeding Fluffy too much.

According to Wakshlag, the most common issue we run across with both cats and dogs is that they eat too much.

About 58 percent of cats in the United States are considered to be overweight, as reported by the Association for the Prevention of Pet Obesity. Their likelihood of developing weight-related health issues is higher than that of dogs, in part because they typically do not get as much physical activity as their canine counterparts do.

Find out from your veterinarian how many calories your pet ought to consume daily, and read the nutrition labels on their food to ensure that you are giving them the appropriate amount to eat. Also, give it some serious thought before you do something as careless as leaving a mountain of food out for your cat to graze on all day. This strategy might work for some picky cats, but it will cause others to consume more food than they need to. You should divide the food into two servings per day if it is possible for you to do so with your schedule.

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