I’m always on the lookout for the best: best guy, best job, best place to live, and lately … best kitten food. The offer out there is overwhelming, and unfortunately most of it is really bad. It may seem unbelievable, but the most advertised cat food brands include bad, bad, bad ingredients which can even be harmful (e.g. onions).
When you bring your kitten home, feed them in the first week with the same food they are used to. Then, if you decide to change the food, always change it gradually, over 2 weeks, to avoid upsetting their stomach (and the fun task of cleaning up cat puke).
Some important points to keep in mind: cats need their meat, they cannot live on vegetarian diet (unlike people or dogs, their bodies can’t get their energy from carbohydrates). Also, you should always feed them cat specific food (vs human/dog/rabbit/… food), they need the taurine cat food contains to avoid the risk of blindness & heart disease. Good quality cat food is quite expensive, but trust me, it will be worth it in the long run. Poor nutrition leads to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and many other nasty things.
The first question you should ask is if you should go for wet or dry food. Most people recommend wet only or a wet-dry combination. Wet food contains a high amount of water which is essential for your cat’s health, but cannot be left out for too long. Some people say dry food is good for the cat’s teeth (other say the opposite, as it sticks to teeth like biscuits do). It is also good if your cat is teething. Another benefit is that it does not go off, so it’s quite convenient to leave out during the day. Your cat should always have fresh water available (especially if they are on dry food diet). Contrary to what people think, cats don’t need milk, and some of them are actually lactose intolerant, so if you want to give them, buy one specifically for cats. And always choose your cat’s food based on their needs: life stage, health, and activity levels.
Sorry for the somewhat gross description that will follow, but I think it’s fair for you to know all this and make an informed decision. And no, the cute cat food ads do not count as information.
- The Good:“complete” cat food, with a mixed wet-dry combination of high quality food. You know, the kind of food that actually has meat as the 1st ingredient. And it should not say just “meat” but what meat exactly it is: tuna, chicken, beef, … Apparently chicken is considered to be the best protein source in pet foods. Out of the 20+ cat food brands in my pet store, only 2!!! passed the test: Schesir & Almo Nature. They don’t come cheap at 1.15 euro/can (more than human food that is!). But hey, ho, best and cheap are never best friends.
- The Bad: popular cat food brands, without actual meat in the ingredients list. Avoid any cat food that has (meat) by-products as ingredients: they are animal parts unfit for human consumption (such as organs, bones, chicken feet & beaks). By-products can contain meat from the so called 4 D’s: dead, dying, decayed or diseased which may contain cancerous tissue.
- The Ugly: any cat food full of corn, wheat, whole grain and soy. Cats are purely carnivorous animals, so all those grains offer no protein value and are very difficult to digest, causing extra stress on your cat’s kidneys. Also, avoid anything that contains Ethoxyquin, BHA, or BHT (carcinogens).
Remember, it’s quality, not quantity that matters: cheap food lacks nutrition, so your cat will eat more (and poo more), costing you at least as much as investing in healthy food. Plus, bad food = health issues = vet bills & shorter life span.
I should also mention some people prefer to feed the cat a raw diet, but to me, that’s too much hassle, so not for me thank you. You can read about it here: Link!
Hope you found this useful. Which is your cat’s favourite food?