Domestic cats need to be fed a meat based diet – this is essential for them to maintain a healthy body weight and clean coat of fur (obviously it goes without saying, you can’t just feed Garfield steaks and hope to have his lovely orange fur to stay clean – it needs grooming and regular baths too!). The ideal diet should be raw and grain-free. Dry foods, high in carbohydrates usually leads to carbohydrate deposits that could diminish the oral hygiene of your cat.
The pointers to look for when choosing canned food would be:
- Grain content
- Protein content
- Organic content
- Age appropriateness
As already mentioned a grain-high diet leads to poor dental health and research has shown that a carb heavy diet also affects the metabolism of several cat species. The absence of the salivary enzyme (amylase) which is essential for digestion of carbohydrates makes it important that you look for the grain/carb content when choosing a canned food.
Since the primary constituent of a cat’s diet needs to be meat, it goes without saying that the major building block in their diet needs to be proteins. However, the type of protein can make a huge difference. As a pet owner you need to look for canned options that use fresh meat and at all costs avoid meat produce or synthetic protein sources. Always look for the terms “lamb”, ”chicken”, ”beef”, ”salmon” and avoid cans which come with just the term “meat” as there is no way to tell what meat this is and if it is fresh meat or a synthetic byproduct.
Something not specific to cats but any creature belonging to the animal kingdom (including you and me). You want to look for canned foods with as little chemical preservatives like BHT, BHA, propyl gallate etc. You also want to chuck the can across the aisle and run the other way if it has an excess of added sugars. A combination of both (added sugars and chemical preservatives) is sure to reduce the energy levels in your cat and cause other complications.
Age Appropriate Diets
Cats go through three stages in their life, kitten, adult and senior. The diet needs to accommodate for the life stage that your cat is in and obviously that will play an important role in selecting their canned food. Kittens need a protein and fat heavy diet to boost their immunity and help develop their muscles, bone and teeth. Also, since they are bound to be more playful and energetic they need the extra protein to burn off quickly. Adults need to have a far lower fat diet to avoid obesity and reduce chances of heart related disease. Senior cats like to lie around and spend most of their days resting and so need a low protein diet so that their kidneys aren’t burdened with processing an excess of it.