Cat food can generally be broken down into dry and wet cat food and is made to fulfill their very specific dietary needs. Even thought cats are considered obligate carnivores, meaning that their diet exclusively relies on the nutrients deriving from animal flesh; most commercial products contain animal and plant materials, as well as vitamins and minerals.
Some experts claim that wet pet food is better than dry food as it contains more water keeping your pet hydrated but it is also important to offer a good variety including dry food. Most cat food these days is produced commercially and conveniently purchased in our supermarkets around the country.
If you are looking for the best health in your cat, you should consider home preparing your pet food and offering your cat a raw meat diet. You can find some easy recipes and a raw meat guide in the article section under ‘Cat Food Recipes’. A good website to order quality pet food online is Pet Deli which is an Australian owned company.
Meeting your cat’s basic nutritional requirements:
- Protein (Meat and Fish)
- Taurine (organic acid – involved in physiological development)
- Enzymes, Vitamins, Minerals, Fatty Acids
Things to consider when feeding your cat:
- Offer your cat a mix of dry food/wet food and flavours
- Wet food needs to be fresh and fed in appropriate portion size so it does not go off
- Dry food can be left out for free feeding – for your cat’s hunger when you are not home
- Find the right balance of nutrients; too much of the good stuff could be too much
- Cats don’t need carbohydrates and are only used as fillers in cat food
- Use the daily intake guideline as guideline but monitor your cat’s weight and welfare
- Low quality cat food can cause medical conditions due to the lack of nutrients
Cat food industry standards
The Pet Food Industry Association of Australia (PFIAA) promotes “prepared pet food as the preferred method of pet nutrition reinforced through the establishment and self regulation of industry standards” in line with the guidelines of the Association of American Feed Control Officials Inc. (AAFCO).
If this standard is important to you when purchasing cat food, you can visit their website to view their manufacturing members.
Cat Food Labels – what to look out for
If the content percentages of ingredients are not listed on the packet, look for varieties named fish, chicken, beef etc. instead of with fish, with chicken or beef.
According to the PFIAA, if a meal contains at least 25% or more of a particular meat it can be referred to it as the variety. (e.g. beef). Whereas the reference to e.g. with chicken or with beef only requires a 5% content percentage of the mentioned ingredient.
Also, if cat food product is labeled ‘complete pet food’ without qualification it is assumed to be complete for all life stages and meets AAFCO’s requirements.
Check the expiry label and do not feed your cat any expired products as it is unsafe.
Look for packets with nutrition tables and use product that complement one another covering your cat’s daily nutritional requirements based on age and weight.