If you are a feline lover, you know that they have their own personalities.
And they can have different preferences when food related. Besides, like humans, they also need good nutrition in order to stay healthy.
We are cat owners too, and we feel your pain, so we made this post with the Best Premium Cat Food Brands, both, dry and wet to help you.
Before telling you the best cat food brands, we should speak about how to nourish your cat. To live long and prosper, your cat needs proper nutrition.
Although your cat needs certain amounts of each specific nutrient to be healthy, more is not always better. This is particularly true of vitamins and minerals, so the use of supplements is usually not necessary if you are feeding a balanced and complete diet. Supplements can be harmful to your cat, and they should never be given without a veterinarian’s approval.
Essentially, you should look for food based on your cat age, healthy and stage of life, this way it will get the nutrients and energy to thrive.
A cat’s nutritional requirements change through different stages of life. These stages include kittenhood, adulthood, pregnancy, and lactation. The nutritional claim on the cat food label should state the stage of a cat’s life cycle for which the food is complete and balanced, and that it meets the requirements of the AAFCO. Some cat foods are formulated for all life stages, which can simplify the selection process for owners with multiple cats of different ages.
How to choose?
In choosing cat food, it is also important to read the ingredients list. As with human foods, the items are listed in order of decreasing proportional weight.
Look for foods in which meat, meat by-products, or seafood are listed among the first few ingredients, as this indicates the food probably contains enough animal-source ingredients to supply essential amino acids and fatty acids.
Why should I do that?
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they need muscle-based food in their diets.
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) says that a vegan diet is not appropriate for cats, they aren't adapted to it, some cats munch on grass or other plants, but most biologists agree that such roughage serves only as a digestive aid and provides limited if any nutritional value.
Feeding a cat a plant-based diet is a lot like feeding a cow a meat-based diet, their digestive system isn't built to digest it, they require essential nutrients that only meat can provide to them, including taurine, arachidonic acid, vitamin A and vitamin B12.
So they meet their nutritional needs by consuming small prey such as rodents, birds and small reptiles and amphibians, this is why they have a higher protein requirement than many other mammals.
Without a steady supply of these nutrients, cats can suffer from liver and heart problems, not to mention skin irritation and hearing loss.
There is also a very specific and common problem that can affect the cat health when we are talking about vegan diets, that is the deficiency of the essential amino acid called Taurine.
We say that amino acid is essential when the body can’t synthesize it, and it must be ingested through diet.
Humans and dogs can produce it, but cats are unable to do it and require a direct source from animal products, where the taurine is found.
Such as meat, milk, eggs, etc.
Cats that aren’t fed with food that contains animal food in it can develop a taurine deficiency.
It can affect the heart, developing a heart issue known as dilated cardiomyopathy or DCM.
It is what happens when the heart muscle becomes very thin and weak, preventing them from pumping blood and supplying oxygen to the body normally.
This can be a fatal disease if not corrected in the early stages.
You also need to choose between canned and wet food, here is some information to help you with this choice.
Ingredients may include:
- meat and/or meat byproducts
- poultry and/or poultry byproducts
- grain and/or grain byproducts
- fish meal
- fiber sources
- milk products
- vitamin and mineral supplements
The pieces of dry food are often then coated with flavor enhancers, such as animal fat, to make the food more appetizing.
Knowing the Dry Food
Is more economical
Is convenient because you can leave it out and it doesn’t spoil as easily;
Is energy-dense, meaning a cat can consume lots of calories quickly;
Has about 10% moisture content;
Tends to have more carbohydrates and less protein than wet food;
Maybe only slightly better than canned food at preventing dental disease;
In the wild, carbohydrates are only about five percent of a cat’s diet, and many low-quality dry foods contain a lot of fillers, used as a cost-savings since they’re a cheaper ingredient than meat, therefore cats that eat only dry food are more prone to obesity and diabetes.
This type of food has only 10% of its content made of water, this way cats may become chronically dehydrated, which contributes to health problems like Chronic Renal Failure (CRF) and urinary crystals.
If you feed your cat dry food, it should drink approximately one cup of water for every ten pounds of body weight in 24 hours to prevent the dehydration.
Meat and meat by-products are the primary ingredients of semi-moist food, which contains approximately 35 percent moisture. Other materials, including soybean meal, cereals, grain byproducts, and preservatives are added to make the final product. The cost of semi-moist food is generally mid-range. Semi-moist foods may be more appealing than dry cat food to some cats and can also be fed free choice. After the package is opened, however, the food can dry out, becoming less palatable and/or becoming rancid.
Is more expensive;
Can spoil more easily and requires refrigeration after opening;Is less energy-dense than dry food;
Has up to 78% moisture content;
Tends to have more fat and protein - especially animal protein - and fewer carbohydrates than dry food;
All the food brands must provide guaranteed minimum percentages of crude protein and crude fat and maximum percentages of crude fiber and moisture.
The proteins break down into amino acids, which are burned for energy or used to make new proteins and keep the metabolism healthy.
Fat helps with the digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, reduce inflammation associated with arthritis and aid in the development of the retina and visual cortex. That's why researching before buying is the smart thing to do.
We are going to give you some useful tips:
- Check if in the list of ingredients are listed the specific type of meat (tuna, chicken, beef)
- Meat: The muscle tissue of an animal, like the chicken or steak that humans eat.
- Byproducts: The internal parts of an animal that aren’t meat — think organs and bones.
- Meat meal: Muscle tissues that have been “rendered” (heat-treated) to destroy bad bacteria and separate solids from moisture and fat, leaving a nutritionally dense, dry “meat concentrate.”
- Byproduct meal: Byproducts that have gone through the same type of rendering.
While meat meal and byproducts might sound gross, all four options are great protein sources for cats — so long as you know where the protein is coming from.
The best cat food companies will tell you from exactly which animal(s) their meat ingredients are sourced, whether “chicken”, “chicken meal”, or “chicken by-products”. We cut any formula that included unspecified meat, meat byproduct, or meat meal on its ingredients list (including “broth,” “animal fat,” and “liver”).
- Look for high-quality grain in the food. Many cat foods will contain grains like corn, barley or wheat.
Ideally, the top 5 ingredients of cat food should be made of meat, but especially in dry food the percentage of grains is very high, that's why you need to search for meat first, organs second (like liver), and then grains.
As we said before, taurine and arachidonic acid are essential for cats, since they are obligate carnivores. So the food you purchased should contain it, avoid food brands that have plant sources of protein instead of animal ones. It's very important to check if there are vitamins and minerals in the food, such as vitamin A, B, C Folic Acid and B12. Minerals like calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, sodium, and zinc should be part of it too.
An important Warning
Everything in a cat food formula must be “Generally Recognized As Safe” (GRAS) by the FDA, but that’s a pretty low bar. “Safe” doesn’t necessarily mean “ideal for your cat’s health.” After speaking with experts, we combed through our list of contenders and cut any with colors, flavorings, or ingredients toxic at high doses.
The 2019 Best Cat Food Brands
- Acana Regionals
- Canada Fresh
- Feline Natural
- Holistic Health Extension
- Petite Cuisine
- Tiki Cat
- Ziwi Peak
The 2019 Best Cat Food Brands - Lines
- Best Feline Friend (B.F.F.) Oh My Gravy
- Evanger’s Signature Series
- Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain
- Farmina N&D Grain-Free
- Lotus Just Juicy
- Merrick Before Grain
- Nutrisca Truly Flaked
- Nutrisca Truly Shredded
- Wholehearted Grain-Free Flaked in Gravy
- Wholehearted Grain-Free Flaked in Broth