Choosing the best cat food is a difficult task. Here we’ll give you some informations to help you choosing the best cat food for your lovely cats. Commercial rations for cats are sold as dry foods, semimoist (softmoist) foods, and canned foods. Each type of product can provide complete nutrition for your pet if it is formulated correctly.
In general it is most economical to use dry food (about 10% moisture content) as a cat’s basic diet. Its low moisture content allows it to be left out for a cat to consume at will without its spoiling in all but the most humid climates. Its crunchy texture helps keep a cat’s teeth clean, which is very important since many cats are subject to dental disease.
However, dry foods, even well balanced, cannot mimic the foods a cat would eat naturally. They contain much larger amounts of vegetable material than a cat would naturally consume, and some products contain artificial flavors, coloring agents, and preservatives to which some cats are intolerant.
Cats also consume less total water (around 50% less) when eating dry foods compared to canned food although they drink more. This can become a health issue for older cats with kidney disease and/or constipation, or for cats who have urinary tract disease.
Dry foods may become deficient in essential fatty acids when stored, especially when the weather is warm and humid. Their physical composition allows less fat to be incorporated initially, and contact with the oxygen in the air makes the fat present turn rancid. Do not store dry foods at room temperature for longer than six months; purchase them from dealers who have a rapid food turnover.
Although many dry products provide excellent complete nutrition and many cats do well eating dry foods alone, the most healthful diet for a cat should include some other foods as well.
Semimoist cat foods are intermediate in moisture content (about 25% to 35%) and are usually designed to be nutritionally complete. Semimoist foods are considerably more expensive than dry foods if the additional water they contain is taken into consideration when calculating the cost per feeding.
Chemical humectants (e.g., propylene glycol), corn syrup, salts, sugar, and acids are used to hold water in these products and keep them soft and free from spoilage. Also semimoist products often contain artificial flavors and colors. They are generally quite palatable to cats and convenient for their owners, since such foods can be stored for months at room temperature if unopened and they are often sold in single-feeding pouches.
Unfortunately, semimoist foods give none of the tooth-cleaning benefit of dry foods, and they cannot begin to approach the more natural quality of the best canned foods. Propylene glycol, a common preservative and energy source used in semimoist food for years causes oxidative damage to cats’ red blood cells and will be required by law to be eliminated from cat foods sold in the United States by the end of 1993. Reserve semimoist foods for snacks.
Canned products tend to be the most expensive way to feed cats since you pay for about 75% water. They are, however, safe to store for prolonged periods and highly palatable to cats.
Their formulation allows the best manufacturers to include ingredients such as meat and liver and high levels of fat that mimic the components of a diet a cat might naturally prey upon.
Complete canned foods are a desirable part of a cat’s diet, but you must be careful to read package labels to be sure your cat is getting products intended to be fed as complete diets. Incomplete “gourmet” products should be fed only as dietary supplements. If the label does not make it clear that the food is intended to be complete in itself, use the product only in addition to a wide variety of other foods.
Heat processing destroys important vitamins (e.g., thiamine) and other nutrients (e.g., taurine), so all complete canned products will show evidence of supplementation in the list of ingredients on their labels. Some canned products contain artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives such as sodium nitrite. Like propylene glycol, sodium nitrite has been shown to induce oxidative damage to cat’s red blood cells. To feed the most natural diet to your cat, avoid canned products that contain such additives.