Choosing the best option of foods from dry, canned and homemade cat food is always hard, given the limitless choice of commercial cat food in the market. Most of them market themselves to be the ‘healthiest of all cat food’. So how do you make the right and most important the healthiest food choice for your cat so that it stays healthy and free of any diseases. Keep reading to find out all that you need to know about ideal cat nutrition and some great cat food recipes.
Before moving on to the best food options for the cat, let us first understand more about cat nutrition.
⇒ Cats are strictly carnivorous which means they need animal proteins, moderate amounts of fat and minimal carbohydrates to meet their nutritional needs.
⇒ Unlike dogs, cats cannot utilize the energy derived from carbohydrates. Their energy requirements are met by the glucose that is released from animal proteins that they consume
⇒ Cats also need essential nutrients like vitamins, amino acids, minerals like calcium and phosphorus and also fats like Omega-3 fatty acids.
⇒ If the cat suffers from certain food allergies or medical conditions like urinary tract or kidney disorders then the nutrition needs of the cat will differ. In such a case, it is best to consult a doctor.
⇒ Your cat needs water. This is especially true for cats with kidney problems, constipation and diabetes.
Pet food recalls have made many pet owners wary about their cat’s diet. However serving homemade cat food can be challenge when faced with questions like ‘should I feed my cat raw cat food?’ or ‘should I cook the cat food to kill the bacteria?’
Raw Cat Food
Raw cat food has found favor with many cat owners because it is very close to the natural diet and contains all the essential nutrients that the cat needs. Some of the healthy raw cat food include
- Raw organ meat
- Raw bones, ground
- Raw liver, gizzards and meat entrails
- Egg yolks
To meet the other nutritional needs supplements like Vitamin E, Vitamin B complex, powdered taurine, salmon oil and psyllium can be used. The raw meat can be cut into small chunks or ground.
Things to Note:
⇒ Watch out for allergic reactions when feeding raw eggs.
⇒ Fish, a much-loved cat food, contains too much thiaminase, which breaks down thiamine, an essential vitamin. Uncooked freshwater fish can contain tapeworm, while diets rich in tuna can lead to a depletion of vitamin E, due to the excess of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the food.
⇒ Watch out for bacterial contamination in raw cat food.
Cooked Cat Food
Some people who are worried about the bacteria in frozen meat that is bought from supermarkets and grocery stores can semi-cook the food. Baking the chicken thighs (which by the way are yummy for cats thanks to the fat content) can kill the surface bacteria and make it a perfect treat for the pet. Other homemade foods are scrambled or hard-boiled eggs and boiled chicken gizzards, hearts, and livers. Here are two wholesome recipes for making cooked cat food at home.
Recipe #1: Take a bowl and add 2 cups of cooked ground chicken, ⅓ cup of cooked brown rice and ¼ cup of cooked sweet potato and some fish oil or vegetable oil. Blend all the ingredients well and add some chicken stock in it. Serve this food to your cats, at room temperature.
Recipe #2: Mix 3 wt-ounces of protein source like cooked beef, pork or lamb and mix one-third cup of oatmeal and some olive oil. Grind all these ingredients and serve it to your cat.
Recipe #3: Take a bowl and add 2 tbsp Bisque, 1 tbsp chopped liver, ⅓ tbsp cottage cheese, 1 tbsp vegetable oil (corn oil) and a pinch of salt to it. Mix all these ingredients well and serve as a healthy and homemade cat food!
Keep the homemade food refrigerated or frozen between meals. Consult your veterinarian before switching to homemade cat food especially raw cat food.
If you are a busy cat owner who has no time to cook homemade food your loving pet, then canned wet food is a good alternative. Wet cat food is reasonably better as it contains fewer preservatives and more protein. It also has water and less of carbohydrates. Of course you need to follow certain rules and avoid a few common ingredients like rice, wheat gluten, soy, meat byproducts and meat meals, bone meals, etc. Avoiding vegetables is also advised.
The best choice would be human grade cat food with all natural ingredients. Ingredients and their amount in that particular cat food will be explained on the label of that cat food, which makes it really easy for you to make the right choices. When it comes to determining ingredients that should be a part of cat food, meat is absolutely crucial, and should in fact be the first ingredient on the label. Watch out for high carbohydrate ingredients such as grains, potatoes and peas Purchase canned cat food that contains ample amounts of natural animal protein and distinguishable amounts of vegetable protein. Here are some of the popular brands of canned cat food that you can try:
- Natural Balance Canned Cat Food
- Nature’s Logic Canned Cat Food
- Dr Foster and Smith Canned Cat Food
- Weruva Paw Lickin’ Chicken Canned Cat Food
- Wellness Chicken Canned Cat Food
- Evolve Natural Canned Chicken Formula
- Newman’s Own Chicken and Brown Rice
Things to Note
⇒ Stay away from canned food with gravy and sauces as they contain carbohydrate thickeners like soy which can lead to thyroid problems in cats.
⇒ Watch out for preservatives like BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin.
⇒ Do not buy cat food by reading labels like “wholesome’, ‘natural’ and ‘healthy’. Read the ingredients before buying.
This is a question that plagues every cat owner. Dry kibble while being cheap and easily accessible, does not provide adequate nutrition for the cat. This is because most of the dry cat foods have too much of carbohydrates and preservatives as opposed to proteins and water. As opposed to the 78% water in wet canned foods, dry cat foods contain only 10 % water This can lead to dehydration and problems like chronic renal failure. Moreover, dry foods are also linked to obesity and diabetes in cats. If you are feeding the cat kibble, then supplement it with water and other nutritional foods. If you are opting for kibble, then choose premium ones that contain ingredients that meet the standards set by AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials ). Although the initial costs might be high, but you will be saved subsequent trips to the veterinarian.
Do not make drastic and sudden changes in a cat’s diet as it can lead to digestive disorders. Instead introduce high quality foods in small quantities. Every cat owner must consult a veterinarian before making any sort of dietary changes for cats. That will keep your feline friends healthy and happy always!