It’s high time to talk about cat food. I see so many who get bad advice on food from both veterinary staff and others, and in this jungle of feed, how do you know what is good and bad?
Cats are what are called obligatory carnivores, i.e. that they must eat meat for their survival. They also need fat, but very little carbohydrates. The optimal composition of nutrients for the cat is found in its natural changes, e.g. mice and birds. The prey consists largely of just protein and fat (and water!); the few carbohydrates they contribute are perhaps some grass, seeds, grains and the like that are found in their stomachs.
Now look instead at dry food and much of the soft food available on the market. The table of contents is sorted from the ingredient that the food contains the most down to the ingredient that has the least. Almost everyone has cereals as their first ingredient. Cereals are carbohydrates. If you are lucky, meat (often in combination with “animal by-products”) is the other ingredient, but sometimes not even that. It is also difficult to know the quality of the meat in the food. And what exactly are animal by-products? Actually? What nutrients are in it?
For decades, we have been lulled into a false assurance that dry food is the best thing for a cat. That truth was easy for us owners to take with us – dry food is easy to handle, can stand up all day, smells less, weighs less, is cheaper and so on. than e.g. soft food. Dry food is convenient for us. For the cat, however, dry food is in many cases pure junk food. There are chips, french fries, Saturday candy. It’s obesity, diabetes, kidney problems, urinary retention. In many cases, these diseases end in death.
How do you choose GOOD food?
✅ Check that the feed is a complete feed – special soft food can sometimes be intended as a supplementary feed to be used next to a complete feed.
✅ Check that meat is the first ingredient on the table of contents
✅ Check that the feed contains few carbohydrate sources
✅ Check that% protein is high and% carbohydrates are low
✅ Check that the protein consists of “meat”, not just “flour” or “by-products”
When you compare a number of dry food and soft food, you will see that soft food varieties generally meet these requirements to a greater extent than dry food. However, there is also ‘better’ dry food, but it requires a little detective work. Take the time to read and compare table of contents!
Many people are thinking about the nutrition and analysis list on the feed – “the soft food xx contains only 9% protein, my dry food contains 21%!” A crux in the whole thing is that one must count on the “dry matter” of a substance, i.e. the amount that is left when all the liquid is deducted, then the amount of e.g. protein can often be much higher in the soft food.
For those of you who want to skip the work and only have tips on ‘better’ food, some examples are Thrive, Porta21, Core, Orijen, Acana, Carnilove and Applaws. There are certainly more. Interestingly, Meow soft foods – which you can buy in the grocery store – are good food, but study the table of contents carefully before buying their dry food!
Some people think that quality feed and soft food are too expensive. I think you will find that it is still worth the money to have a healthy and prosperous cat. A cat that has to be admitted to a veterinary hospital for a week for kidney disease or urinary retention – IT’s expensive. Diabetes treatment as well. Do you think I’m exaggerating? I think it says quite a lot that several cats have gone into remission from diabetes after switching to wet food, as well as many cats who have never had urinary tract problems again. That cats often gain weight from (not cat-adapted) dry food but down from good food also speaks its clear language.
And you, do not listen to those who advocate dry food for your teeth. There are few foods that actually have an effect on the teeth, it is toothbrushing that counts, I’m sorry but that’s it. Would you replace your toothbrush with crispbread?
Do your cat a favor, give him food, not chips and Saturday candy! 💕
PS. There are diseases that require your cat to be on a medical diet, you unfortunately have to swallow it. Your most important task is to give your cat good food for preventive purposes.