Keeping your cat healthy and well-fed is an important role that you take on as a pet owner. Naturally, just like human food, there are all types of cat food on the market. Some of it is great for your cat’s health, some of it is so-so, and some of it can actually be detrimental to your pet’s health.

Knowing exactly which type of food to purchase for your darling feline can certainly be challenging, so to help, we have compiled the following guidelines that should help you make a sound decision. When shopping for your cat’s food, always look for these key ingredients:

1. Protein

All cats require protein to live healthy lives because they are known as “obligate carnivores.” You want to see a named protein on the ingredients list of your cat’s food. You should see lamb, turkey, salmon, chicken, or some other actual animal protein source. If you see one of these words followed by the name of an organ (as in: “chicken heart” or “turkey heart”), this is fine as well.

2. Fat

A fat source should be present on the list as well. It should be a named source of fat as well, such as “sunflower oil” or “chicken fat.”

3. Taurine

As humans, we naturally produce taurine, which is an essential amino acid. On the other hand, cats need to get their taurine from a dietary source. If cats don’t get enough taurine in their diet, it could lead to heart disease or retinal degeneration.

4. Vitamins and Minerals

You also want to look for vitamins and minerals in the ingredients list. You should see vitamin E and vitamin C at the very least, and any other listed vitamins and minerals are great as well.

Bonus Tip! Watch out for “fillers.”

Watch out for the word “fillers” on the ingredients list. Again, cats are known as “ bligate carnivores,” which means they have to consume meat to survive and thrive, but they do not require carbohydrates. In fact, carbohydrates can be bad for your cat’s health, and when you see the word “fillers,” it often means carbohydrates in the form of grains. You should not give your cat any grains. This means no wheat or corn.

Bonus Tip! Don’t forget to note the order of ingredients.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the order of the ingredients listed on the cats food packaging is important as well. Just like human food, the ingredient that is listed first in the ingredients list is the one that makes up the largest percentage of the food. Therefore, if protein is listed last, it’s probably not a cat food that you want to buy because it has a seriously minimal amount of protein in it.

Lastly, remember that the cat food you purchase doesn’t have to be the most expensive, highest luxury brand. This is a common misconception, and in fact, the best choice for your pet is often the midline brand that goes on sale every once in a while (yay!). Just make sure to check all of the ingredients listed above off the list of ingredients on the package, and you should be able to find a great cat food for your feline family member.

Contact us at Young’s Animal Hospital to learn more about feline nutrition!