Cats are and have always been one of the most spoiled animals on the planet. They have been revered by us humans since the ancient Egyptians decided that cats were magical creatures with the capacity to bestow good luck to their caretakers.
For most cat owners, not much has changed today. We want to do the best we can for our feline friends. Much of that comes down to the food they eat. What should we watch out for in the ingredients list? What food will appeal both to their health and their taste buds?
Read on to find out more about what ingredients to stay away from and which ones are good signs when they show up. Then, check out our list of a few of the healthiest cat foods on the market in 2021, with options from kittens to seniors and wet to dry.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Cat Food||
|Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain-Free||
|Hill’s Science Diet Dry Kitten Food||
|Iam’s Proactive Health Dry Cat Food||
|Wellness Wet Cat Food||
The Healthiest Cat Food in 2021
Many cat food companies make it a mission to develop healthy cat foods. Here are a few of those brands and specific formulas that can make you feel good about what you feed to your furry friend.
1. Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Cat Food
Rachael Ray follows a relatively simple recipe using natural ingredients. Farm-raised chicken is the first ingredient, followed by brown rice, vegetables, vitamins, and taurine. The company makes sure not to include any corn products, wheat, or soy, all negative additives in cat food.
2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain-Free
Blue Buffalo believes, as a brand, in feeding pets according to their evolutionary nutrition. They use real chicken as the first ingredient in their high protein food blend. It is entirely grain-free, ridding their formula of gluten, wheat, or any of their by-products. Another bonus is the LifeSource Bits, which are loaded with antioxidants to keep your paw-fect pet full of the vitamins and minerals they need to support their systems.
3. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Kitten Food
Different ages of cats need different types of food. Hill’s Science is renowned for its quality cat food and has made a food specifically for kittens, from weaning to 1 year old. Cats who are pregnant or nursing can also use the extra nutrition that the kibble provides. The first ingredient is chicken. Others include fish oil and an antioxidant blend. Your kitten is getting just what they need to grow into a strong, ferocious feline.
4. Iam’s Proactive Health Dry Cat Food
Iam’s Proactive Health recipe focuses on prebiotics and the satisfaction of your cat’s digestive and immune defenses. Chicken is the first ingredient in this food, helping them maintain lean muscles and keep a check on their weight. The crunchiness of the kibble helps prevent tartar buildup on the teeth. It contains taurine, fish oils, and fibers for an overall healthy mind and body.
5. Wellness Wet Cat Food
Sometimes, dry food doesn’t cut it, so give wet cat food a try. Wellness is a quality brand all around, especially their chicken-based wet cat food. It is a grain-free recipe and supports what they call the five signs of kitty wellness: healthy skin and coat, satisfied stomachs, bright eyes, healthy teeth and gums, high energy levels, and strong immunity.
6. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food
Natural Balance uses a simple formula, noted by the “limited ingredient” in the title. It is grain-free in kibble form. Interestingly, duck is the main ingredient in this dry cat food. This change makes it easier for cats with allergies to more typical foods. The kibble is loaded with the essential vitamins and nutrients for cats, including taurine and omegas.
7. Instinct Raw Boost Dry Cat Food
Instinct uses the ideas behind a raw food diet when formulating their recipe for cats. They use real chicken in freeze-dried raw-coated pieces of kibble. The protein content is higher than usual, and each bite has a boosted nutritional value. The food is also instilled with probiotics for a healthier digestive system.
Not all companies are out to trick consumers with the way that their labels are worded. However, it is still something that you should watch out for when buying cat food.
If it says that the food contains “beef,” “chicken,” or “tuna,” or something similar, then it must contain 95% of the specified meat. This rule is per the guidelines set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
Labels that use the modifiers “dinner” or “buffet” signifies that at least 25% of the total weight of ingredients has to be the specified meat.
Finally, any phrase that includes the word “with” as it describes the ingredients, i.e. “with beef,” is only required to contain 3% of that meat.
If you want to know even more about guidelines, packaging regulations, and specific terms, look to the AAFCO. You can learn what unfamiliar terms mean, what could be harmful, and what is not.
Some things, taurine as an example, may sound like harmful chemicals. But in fact, taurine is an amino acid that is found in animal protein. Cats need it for essential organs to function correctly, such as their brain, vision, and heart.
Ingredients to Avoid
Certain foods contain unhealthy ingredients for cats. Some of these are somewhat controversial. For example, some people do not agree with grain-based diets, including corn or wheat, for animals like cats and dogs. Others say that they provide necessary compounds for their health.
Depending on your cat’s age and state of health, you might be able to get away with offering them more of these foods if you feel comfortable with it. If you are on a mission to serve dishes that are as healthy as possible, keep an eye out for these ingredients:
Ingredients Cats Need
A cat’s diet is quite straightforward. Naturally, they are carnivorous and need mostly pure proteins in their food. Today, since pet owners mostly buy their food, preservatives, fillers, and unstandardized “extras” can make their way into a cat’s diet. Watch out for these things as you search for the best food for your pet.
Cats can be extremely finicky eaters, but finding them the healthiest options is essential. Learning to read labels is necessary to determine if a food is as healthy as it claims to be.
Watch out for divisive labeling techniques and familiarize yourself with the terms that brands are allowed to use. Some of them can be somewhat misleading. Knowing what your cat is getting in each dish will help both of you.
Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The Healthiest Cat Food in 2021
- Buyer’s Guide