Should You Trust Your Cat's Food Label?
Every cat owner knows just how far they would go to provide their cat with only the best foods. Your cats will love and enjoy quality food much more, but that’s not the only reason you should read your cat’s food label carefully. Proper diet can eliminate or delay veterinary expenses while keeping your cat well fed. If you don’t know what to look for in cat food, this guide can make your decision easier and provide your furry friend with the right nutrition.
What should be written on the label?
Every cat food purchase should start with a careful study of the label. Take a look at the back of the package and read the ingredients. The picture and words on the front might not match what’s written on the back, so don’t be fooled.
Naturally, meat should be the first ingredient listed at the back of the packaging, which means it’s the main component. It’s best if the meat is listed by type, such as chicken, beef or lamb. Another ingredient that can be listed at the back is Taurine, which is an essential amino acid. Your cat’s food can also contain vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fatty acids.
The shorter the ingredients list, the smaller the chance the food contains cheap fillers and other things disguised as meat.
Ingredients to avoid
If you see ingredients such as meat and bone meal and animal digest, it’s better to look for another brand. It should also contain the minimal amount of added sugars and cornmeal. Additionally, avoid chemical preservatives such as BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin that can be potentially dangerous for your cat.
The good and the bad label
To make your search for good cat food easier, here’s an example of good bad cat food label. For instance, if you’re buying canned food, you should look for a label that has clear and precise ingredients starting with meat. Here’s an example: Chicken, Chicken broth, Wild Rice.
If you find a can that lists ingredients this way: Meat and meat derivatives, vegetables, flavour, colours, added sugar, you better look for a different can.
Soft or dry food?
Many cat owners don’t know whether to feed their cats with soft or dry food. Vets usually recommend that you give your cat a mixture of soft and dry food. Dry food is more convenient and cheaper and can be left out for free-feeding, but soft food provides water and variety to your cat’s diet. If you choose to give your cat soft food, make sure not to keep it out for too long. Keep it refrigerated once it’s been opened, and throw it out after three days in the fridge to avoid bacteria.
For instance, my cat is more than satisfied with both soft and dry Royal Canin cat food, but I make sure to switch between them almost every day. Rotating food will keep your cat from becoming bored with the same kind of food. Also, different formulations of cat food contain different vitamins and minerals which will provide it with a more balanced diet.
Avoid brands that are too cheap
Don’t try to save money by choosing the cheapest kind of cat food you can find. You’ll not save money and your cat won’t be satisfied. Your cat will eat more food to get the nutrients it requires, which means it might even eat twice as much of the cheap food than premium food. Also, if you feed your cat low-quality food it can lead to serious medical problems and frequent visits to the vet.
You should also know that there’s no perfect cat food, but next time you visit your pet supplies centre, make sure to compare labels and find the food that meets most of the criteria.
Zara Lewis is a regular contributor at Highstylife.com and a full-time animal lover. Passionate about creating a better world for the generations to come, she is a mum of two, raising them inseparably from their furry family members. Follow Zara on Facebook and Twitter.