Ok, this is a tough one. First, it’s a very controversial topic. Second, I’m close to calling the shelter and tell them that I don’t want to have cats anymore. Well, not really, but the process of finding high quality food was really time-consuming and unnerving.
Keep in mind: I’m only a beginner myself. These are just my experiences after spending many hours searching for high quality cat food. There’s tons of information about cat food, and it’s really hard to understand its components. So here are advices for beginners.
In case you’re reading this whilst ordering cat food, I guess I know what you’re thinking: give me the damn product names! Trouble is: things change. I’ve read a lot of reviews, and many are not up-to-date anymore. Besides, do you know if I’m a producer myself? Whether a company is paying me for writing this post? Do you really want to be dependent on someone telling you what to buy? You’ll live with your cats for many years, it’s about time becoming an expert for your cats. You’re their human in charge; their nurse, their teacher, their parent.
- If it’s easy to understand the food’s components, and you think cats would eat those in the wild, it’s worth taking the product through steps 1-3.
- What’s the producer’s recommended daily portion? The more you’ve to feed, the less worth the ingredients.
- Don’t think expensive is good. However, it normally works the other way around. Very cheap can’t be good.
- Don’t rely on that all components are non-toxic. I’ve found products with yucca, apples and aloe. (What?? I’ve to give up on my aloe vera plants, because they’re toxic to cats!) The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has a great list of toxic plants to cats. In the producer’s defense: toxic components don’t automatically mean that their food is poisoned. However, after googling so much cat food, I’ve problems trusting pet food companies.
- Do the basics: read the ingredients! The first one is the most dominant and so on. Please check the legal framework in your country and the country you’re ordering from. I’m living in the European Union, so that’s my reference frame. Laws on declaration of ingredients vary – the US and European Union regulations differ e.g. significantly.
- Think about the natural food habits of cats. Do mice contain sugar or corn? Compare each ingredient to a mouse.
- Check 2-3 products of each brand, because the flavors sometimes differ in quality. If they’re all low quality, you’re wasting your time on this brand.
- Make a black list. Immediately. I mean NOW. You’ll forget what you’ve read, you’ll have tons of tabs in your browser, and you won’t remember which ones you’ve ruled out.
- Google each component you don’t know. You’ll be surprised how many terms for sugar you’ll find.
You’ve now ruled out many brands and products, but you’re not done. I started to buy cat food at this point and realized that I still had bought low quality food.
- Be careful in your reading. You need to read each single letter. You’ve to ask yourself with each word how the producer could have tried to fool you.
- An example of a box I bought: it solely consists of meat and meat by-products, and minerals. Sounds great, doesn’t it? The problem is: I’ve still no idea what this product really contains. I don’t know if my cats will eat the meat, lung, feathers, fur or claws. They’re not toxic; a cat will also eat a whole bird, but the bird won’t consist of 90% feathers, claws and lungs.
- You need to know the meat percentage.
- Not all meat by-products are worthless; liver, heart and stomach are important ingredients. However, the offal’s percentage shouldn’t be higher than the proportion of meat. (=” think mouse”. Does a mouse have a higher percentage of meat or offal?)
- You can’t find any detailed information? Well, most likely the producer doesn’t want you to know what the food entails.
You’ve now ruled out most brands and products. You’re very close, and you can probably order food now. If you’re still awake, you should have a look at step 3 (the last, yeah!)
- Have a look at the substances and nutritional additives, and check what is recommended for your cat.
- You can buy additives separately, but I wouldn’t dare to mix anything but water as a beginner. Adding some water to wet food is a great idea if your cat accepts that – most cats don’t drink enough.
I’ve just ordered food and supplies for about 150 € (160 $), hallelujah. Can’t hear the word cat food anymore. I don’t really know what I’m doing with the food I’ve already bought. I’ll probably return it to the store and try to get my money back. Sigh.
Maybe I should just open my fridge and let my cats choose themselves?
The first two pictures are provided by Pfoetchen.Wg. Visit her Facebook page to see more photos of her 9 feline friends. All other cat pictures are provided by 7 Zwerge aus dem Neckertal. Visit their Facebook page to see more pictures of her 7 feline friends! Disclaimer: Pfoetchen.Wg, 7 Zwerge aus dem Neckertal and I aren’t affiliates, neither of us receives a commission for this. I just love their pictures and I’m thankful that I may use them on my blog.