Cat stands as one of the most lovable and playful carnivores for a human being. Nothing could beat the feeling of having a feline friend, purring, and cheering up your mood when you feel down. However, cat food plays a vital role in improving the overall health and behavior of a cat.
One should never compromise when choosing healthy cat food. The best cat food aims to provide a cat with high-quality protein, vitamins, minerals, and hydrating elements that keep a feline friend safe and healthy.
“About 58% of the cats in the United States are obese. To keep a cat in a healthy weight range, it’s essential to feed it with more digestible and protein-rich food.”
We spent days researching and delving into the dynamics of how cat food works and affects your pet. In addition, we explored tons of owners’ reviews and feedback about popular cat foods in the market to come up with the most reliable, safe, and healthy cat foods.
In this guide, we will reveal the best cat food that offers better digestibility, protein, and essential nutrition for your cat’s good health.
The List of Best Dry Cat Food Brands
Despite being a dry food product, Purnia ONE contains natural proteins: fish, meat, and poultry (you will find different options). It does not contain artificial flavors and fillers and provides well-rounded nutritional care. Real protein ensures that your car receives good fats, minerals, and vitamins.
Hill’s Science Diet Food
Hill’s Science Diet as the brand’s name suggests offers a dry food range that is more targeted and specific to your pet’s needs. With many different options like Optimal Care, Perfect Weight, Sensitive Stomach and Skin, and Kitten healthy development, the experts at Hill’s have carefully designed each dry food option to suit your nutritional requirements.
Blue Buffalo provides many dry food options as well, and their range is quite extensive. You can choose based on flavor, protein levels, type of protein, and other nutritional requirements. Their products contain real proteins, are completely grain-free, and cater to an extremely wide range of cat food needs.
Meow Mix offers about seven different dry food options to choose from. Each is based on various cat favorite flavors; their products prove to be a trusted and exciting choice. Their ranges include Kitten Li’l Nibbles which help little kittens grow healthily and adequately, Seafood Medley, Original Choice, and Indoor Cat formula.
Natural Balance designs its products with a very specific and controlled amount of proteins and carbs, without any type of grains, and boosts your cat’s overall health. The popular and premium choice remains to be the Green Pea & Duck Dry Cat Formula, which contains real and high-quality proteins – an added bonus is that it has no artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors.
List of Best Wet Cat Food Brands
Purina Fancy Feast
Purina’s Fancy Feast wet food range offers over 80 diverse options. It’s premium food for your cat. Not only do they use real proteins and no artificial flavors, their range is quite unique – from creamy options to broth ones, you can also choose to feed your cat natural wet cat food.
Hill’s Science Diet
Hill’s Science Diet’s hairball control range of wet food ensures that your cat is receiving ample amounts of fiber from vegetables in order to control hairball formation. A healthy heart is also one of the main focuses of this wet food range since it contains controlled levels of phosphorus – which also helps your cat’s kidneys function healthily.
A wide range of wet foods is available by Meow Mix – they have six different options. Their focus is more on the assortment of flavors and the infusion of various proteins within those flavors. The options include Classic Pates (real protein based), Soufflés (white protein), and Savory Morsels.
Tiki Cat likes to keep it straightforward with their wet food options – which makes it the perfect choice for people on a clock. The ingredients are real with no added preservatives. The options include Luau, Velvet Mousse, Aloha Friends, Grill, and After Dark.
Top Cat Food for Improved Health
Now, that you know everything about considerations, nutrition aspects, and types of cat foods, here is our list of top picks for the best cat food in 2022.
A portion of high-standard cat food is one that focuses on delivering a list of animal protein, healthy fat, and limited carbohydrate while staying free from subpar ingredients such as soy, wheat, corn, artificial preservative, and additives. That said, when seeking the best cat food, owners should have knowledge about cats’ nutritional needs.
All these cat foods are tested and proven safe for the enriched health of cats. Not only this, these healthy cat foods help cats in recovering and fighting against a wide range of illnesses including renal disorders, ulcers, obesity, and many more.
Wet or Dry Cat Food? The Pros and Cons
The age-old debate of wet vs. dry cat food… Here are some pros and cons for both kinds that may help you decide better.
Pros of Dry Food
- Better for teeth
- Great for snacks
- More convenient – bowls can be left out without dreading a mess
- More shelf life
- Easier on the pocket
Cons of Dry Food
- Lack of moisture – can cause dehydration
- Lower in real proteins
- Higher levels of carbs
- Difficult to control portions
Pros of Wet food
- More flavors
- Easier to chew for older cats
- More real proteins
Cons of Wet food
- Increases the need for more intricate dental care
- Less shelve time
- More expensive
Things to Consider in Healthy Cat Food
Following are the considerations for choosing a healthy and safe cat food:
“Kidney diseases have caused the highest mortality rate among cats.”
Individual Dietary Requirements
Surprisingly, a majority of cat owners consider only a handful of aspects such as age and weight when choosing a cat food. For this, they opt for any food that targets a specific age group of cats. However, apart from age, there are tons of vital elements to consider when opting for a portion of healthy cat food. Keeping in mind, cats are prone to renal disorders including kidney stones, choosing the right food could keep them safe against a wide range of health issues.
According to the Department of Animal Biosciences, Ontario Agricultural College, Canada, cat food must encompass ingredients that only animal-based food could offer. In addition, cats need a steady supply of minerals to stay safe against severe health issues such as urinary tract stones. That said, it’s essential to first examine what a cat needs to eat, and then look for a diet that could provide it.
Hydration-Rich Diet Plan
Undeniably, cats don’t consume an adequate amount of water and often face dehydration. Having said that, cat food must contain enough moisture to fulfill the hydration requirement of cats. In addition, adequately hydrated cat food helps in keeping a cat safe from allergies and dry food sensitivities.
To hydrate your pet you should also consider a pet fountain.
For this, cat owners should read up the nutritional facts on a cat food and speak to their wet about their cat’s individual dietary requirements.
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A cat food might be bursting with protein and nutrition, but what good would it be of if it is not digested by a cat?
Putting it simply, a cat might be missing the benefits of the premium ingredients if not digesting them. On top, researchers have shown that cats can easily digest ingredients that are of superior quality. Thus, cat owners should look for food that offers higher digestibility than those with a lower percentage. However, a concerning aspect is that the digestibility percentage is not displayed on a majority of cat food products today. In addition, until now, there is no law that requires manufacturers to publish the digestibility percentage of food.
Thus, cat owners are advised to inquire directly from manufacturers and ensure that their cat is digesting what it eats.
When to Feed Your Cat?
The time you bring a new cat home, it should be feeding on the same diet and time as before. The reason lies in the fact that cats are sensitive to change and introducing your diet plan and timings so early could contribute to environmental stress. Once a cat becomes accustomed to the new place, you can introduce a new diet plan and timings.
How Often to Feed a Cat?
The answer to the above question is simple; a healthy and active adult cat of weight 8lbs requires about 30 calories per pound in a day. Thus, a cat of 8lbs would require about 240 calories in a day to stay fit and healthy. You could also use a feeder for dry cat food, as it would help you measure the amount of food fed accurately.
What Should You Avoid in the Cat Food Brands?
When it’s about your beloved cat(s), it’s extremely crucial to ensure that you feed them the right food. What determines the right kind of food? It must have all the required nutrients to keep your cat healthy – but it’s more important to make sure that you are not feeding them something that could be dangerous for them. Some food proves to be poisonous to cats. It’s not just about what might not agree with your pet’s digestive system, it’s as serious as life and death.
Meat – The Prime Aspect
Undeniably, the cat belongs to carnivores and depends on a protein-rich diet. Generally, manufacturers tend to list ingredients in decreasing order as per weight. In addition, if your cat is feeding on a diet that has proteins derived from a quality meat source such as salmon or chicken, it would ensure that it is having an adequate amount of proteins.
Keeping Additives, Preservatives, and Colors at Bay
Unquestionably, a large number of pet food companies use artificial essence, preservatives, dyes, and additives that are poisonous for almost every animal. The same is the case in the cat food industry.
However, the cat food companies that we have mentioned in this article are proven and reliable and don’t include substandard ingredients or additives in their products. Not to forget, food with substandard ingredients could lead to dangerous effects on a cat’s liver, kidney, lungs, and other organs.
Feeding your cat garlic is a big no. Some people tend to feed their pets leftovers from dinner or lunch since their cat seemed quite interested in sniffing around it – don’t! Garlic tends to cause depletion in your cat’s RBC (red blood cell) count, and she/he could have anemia.
However, it is not directly fatal unless exposed to in larger quantities; concentrated forms could also slowly poison your cat’s system. If you tend to feed your cat regular food such as onion soup or other forms of food that could contain powdered garlic, do get your cat a blood scan as soon as possible. Common symptoms are:
- Change in appetite
- Pale paws and gums
- Change in urine color
- And general lethargy
Meat-Meal, Ocean-Fish and Rendered Fats
A large number of cat food companies nowadays put labels such as meat-meal, ocean-fish, or rendered fats on their products. But, many of the cat food owners don’t even know about any of them. In reality, these labels are controversial; whereas meat meal could be derived from animals in zoo, road kill, or even those that are euthanized in animal shelters.
On another hand, ocean-fish serves as the most popular allergen for cat due to toxin and mercury in it. In addition, many cat food companies put rendered fats’ label on a product that could come from unidentified sources such as road kill, diseased or euthanized animals.
Due to a lack of knowledge, many cat owners tend to pick cat food randomly. However, it is essential to know where that diet is coming from. Cat owners should always check where a manufacturer belongs, as some countries have lax food laws and don’t guarantee any quality. Thus, in this article, we’ve listed only the best cat food companies who are located in the United States, New Zealand, Canada, and countries that impose strict regulations and laws for food quality.
Relying on Recalled or Discontinued Brands
Irrefutably, many brands face recall including the superior ones. In addition, cat food owners shouldn’t put the life span of their pet at stake by relying on brands that face recall more than once in a five-year period. Considering the life span of a cat i.e. ten to fifteen years, it could deal with multiple dodges with brands that face recalls every now and then. Thus, in our guide, we’ve only listed the top cat food companies that don’t hold a history of frequent recalls.
Other Things You Shouldn’t Feed Your Cat
You might be tempted to present your cat with some special treats, don’t give in just yet. Especially foods that are made for human consumption should not be ingested by animals at all – cats or other species. These foods contain ingredients that are not animal friendly, and will definitely result in vet visits that may turn into serious health issues in the long run.
The Most Surprising: Milk!
Yes, your cat enjoys drinking milk – but it is not good for a cat’s digestive system. Their systems do not have the full ability to digest lactose from other animals’ milk. The only time cats must be exposed to milk is when they are kittens – their stomachs have the enzymes to digest their mother’s milk.
Here are a few other examples of other foods that you shouldn’t feed your cat at any cost:
- Soda drinks
- Some fruits
- Raw eggs
- Alcohol or foods that contain alcohol
- Dough (raw)
- By-products – dairy, meat, or otherwise
The Best Cat Food Brands – And How to Make Your Final Pick
First of all, you need to know what elements to keep in mind while picking out the best cat food for your pet. You must pick a brand that:
- Helps your cat be healthy
- He or she loves to munch on
- Does not contain additives, preservatives, and toxic ingredients (mentioned earlier)
The Top Types of Healthy Cat Foods
While choosing the best cat foods, we came up with the most popular types of cat foods that are available in the market. Here are the types of cat food that cat owners could choose from:
“Dry cat food is often misunderstood to offer dental benefits. Cats don’t chew in a way that would help clean teeth.”
Dry Cat Food
Dry cat food is often considered beneficial for the dental health of cats, but it is a myth. In reality, cats don’t chew the food thoroughly, eliminating the chances of dry meals scraping any plaque from a cat’s teeth. Besides, dry food is comparatively cheaper and easy to carry and spoiled less than wet food. However, a concerning aspect of cat dry food is that it doesn’t meet up to the hydrating requirement of cats and often causes dehydration.
“Canned and raw food have proven in helping cats reduce weight.”
Wet Cat Food
On another hand, wet cat food is considered more beneficial than dried ones. The reason lies in the fact that it serves as a source of hydration, improving the overall health of a pet cat. In addition, wet cat food often has fewer processes and is thus richer in nutrition and proteins.
Organic Cat Food
Organic cat food refers to all those cat foods that contain ingredients including crop or meat of an animal that feed and live on a land free from pesticides for 3 years. In addition, such animals shouldn’t be subjected to any sort of antibiotics or growth hormones. Besides, these animals have access to outdoors and are fed with organic food only.
Undeniably, cats are one of the most endearing and pleasing carnivores on earth. However, it’s the sole responsibility of cat owners to feed their feline friends the best cat food that offers a grain-free, protein-rich, and carbohydrate-limited diet. In addition, the manufacturers mentioned in this article offer the top and most healthy cat food in the industry, ensuring your cat stays fit and healthy at all times.