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What to look for on the cat food label

Choosing the right cat food may not be quite as simple as you expect. It's preferable that you don't grab the first generic type of food you see in a supermarket or dollar store, because it's very likely that the food won't provide all that's needed for a good cat diet. Because the government requires ingredients and nutritional information to be put on food labels, these are a good place to start when hunting for the right food to give your cat.

One important thing to look for on pet food labels is a statement from the Association of American Feed Control Officials, or AAFCO. If you see this statement, it means the food has passed strict tests.

iStock 000012704007XSmallYou also want an animal protein at the top of the ingredient list, or at most, in second place. This means things like chicken or beef, and not by-products. The "life stage" of the cat should also be on the label, meaning kitten, adult or senior. The "dry weight protein" on the cat nutrition description should be twenty-six percent for an adult cat, and more for a kitten.

A change in cat food needs to be done gradually, because a sudden change can cause digestive upsets. And you may feel you need to decide between canned food and kibble, rather than using both. Some people say kibble is easier, less messy and certainly less odorous, while others advocate canned pet food because it contains more water and keeps the cat better hydrated. But for variety, why not alternate or provide a little of both?

Meanwhile, treats can be a reward for certain good cat behavior, or can be provided simply to give the cat a pleasant taste. Just remember that the treats shouldn't be the major part of the cat food given daily, but only a small proportion, less than ten percent. Try not to give your cat table scraps or other human food. Even if you give bits of a chicken breast you've cooked, elements in the sauce or rub could be poisonous. With so much good food already prepared with your cat's nutritional needs in mind, you've got all the food the cat needs right there.

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Wednesday, 21 April 2021

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