6 Things Your Vet Wants You to Know About cat food

Your cat is just like all other members of your family. you’d wish to make sure you’re making the only choices for his or her health, including the food you buy. But with numerous pet food brands and ingredients on store shelves, pet parents can easily get confused.

A nutritious diet for your feline isn’t as hard to function it’s getting to seem. Some tips from the pros can assist you to avoid some common mistakes.

1. There’s no one best quite protein.

Cats need animal protein, fat, and other vitamins and minerals — which they will get these nutrients from many different sources. The protein in commercial cat foods can come from chicken, poultry, beef, lamb, fish, liver, or meat or chicken “byproducts,” also called “meal.”

For a healthy cat without food allergies, any of these ingredients (in either wet or dry form) are fine choices, says Joseph Wakshlag, DVM, a professor at Cornell University College of Drugs.

Instead of worrying about specific ingredients, look for a food’s nutritional guarantee. Its label should say that tests by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) have shown that the merchandise “provides complete and balanced nutrition,” or that it “is formulated to satisfy the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO cat food Nutrient Profiles.” Foods (or treats) that don’t have one of these statements shouldn’t be your cat’s main meal.

2. Byproducts aren’t bad.

Some brands claim their food is best because it doesn’t have animal byproducts or byproduct meals. These ingredients are ground-up parts of animal carcasses and should include necks, feet, intestine, and bone.

“But I’m a huge fan of using byproducts,” Wakshlag says. “They have much more nutrients than straight meat. In chicken byproduct, as an example, you’ll get things like vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, and copper — instead of just the protein during a chicken breast .”

3. Even carnivores need carbs.

Grains and other carbohydrates in cat foods get a nasty rap.

“But just because cats are true carnivores doesn’t suggest that carbohydrates are bad for them,” says Sherry Sanderson, DVM, a veterinary nutritionist at the University of Georgia. She’s seen a trend toward low-carb diets for felines within the last 10 years, but she warns against them. Low-carb usually means high fat, she says, which puts pets in peril for obesity and diabetes.

Another popular pet food myth: Grains are just “filler” ingredients with no real nutrients. “Grains provide plenty of essential nutrients that both dogs and cats — and people — require,” Sanderson says.

And if you’re worried that your kitty is allergic to grains, you’re not off-base — some cats are often, but most aren’t. It’s more common for them to be allergic to animal proteins.

4. Different ages have different needs.

Kittens need omega-3 carboxylic acid (DHA), a sort of healthy fat that’s important for brain and eye growth. “If a product says it contains omega-3 fatty acids, look more closely to hunt out which type it contains,” Sanderson says. Plant-based omega-3s, like those in flaxseed, aren’t good sources of DHA.

For adult cats, Sanderson recommends foods that have oil — which give them DHA and also reduce inflammation — and probiotics, which feed their healthy gut bacteria. Cats also need different nutrients, like more fat, as they get older. When your feline turns 7, ask your vet if you need to switch to a senior formula.

5. a far better price doesn’t always mean better quality.

Instead of buying food-supported prices, Sanderson likes to research the ethics and manufacturing practices of pet food companies. She likes brands that have their production plants that research their diets to support the claims they create.

“If an organization is making plenty of cash but puts it all into advertising and none into research — or they tell consumers things like it is bad to feed byproducts or grains — generally, I don’t recommend those diets,” she says.

The FDA regulates all pet food and requires brands to satisfy certain standards to be sold within the U.S. Still, she says, “I generally would stand back from really inexpensive food, because ingredients can vary in quality.”

6. you will be feeding Fluffy an excessive amount.

“Overeating is that the favorite problem we see in both cats and dogs,” Wakshlag says.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, about 58% of cats in America are overweight. Their risk for weight problems is above dogs’, partially because they often don’t get the utmost amount of exercise as their canine friends.

Get advice from your vet about what percentage of calories your pet should eat each day, and check food labels to make sure you’re serving portions that match those needs. And consider before you permit a heap of food out for your cat to graze on all day. this might work for a couple of finicky felines, but others will eat quite they need to. If it works alongside your schedule, hack the food into two servings every day.

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