Today’s Guest Post:
If you are a new cat owner, you may have some questions about what kind of foods to feed your cat, when to feed him and how often. Here are some common cat food questions and their answers.
1) Should I feed my cat wet food or dry?
Whether you choose dry gourmet cat food or wet, it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that you are choosing a nutritious cat food. While dry, crunchy kibble can be good for your cat’s dental health, wet food can be a nice departure for a change of texture. All cat foods should be certified to meet the dietary guidelines of the Association of Feed Control Officers (otherwise known as the AAFCO). You will know if your food meets these guidelines because you will see the words “complete and balanced,” typically accompanied by some sort of statement or logo from the AAFCO. It’s important that your cat food is certified by this organization because that means it has passed feeding tests that are rigorous and vendor neutral. Whether your cat prefers wet or dry food, or you want to combine the two for his diet, anything with AAFCO certification is good to munch.
2) Does it matter which brand I choose?
Although many cat foods are similar in formula, you should definitely stay away from no-name or generic brand foods if they don’t meet the same strict criteria as the brand name varieties. If the food doesn’t say that it’s “complete and balanced” and/or has no mention of the AAFCO on the packaging, it’s probably best to steer clear.
You will also want to stay away from anything with abundant chemical dyes and preservatives or the inclusion of “animal by-products,” meat “meal” or meat ingredients that are unspecific. At worst, these ingredients are unhealthy for your pets, and at best, they just don’t pack the nutritional punch that pure ingredients do.
What you should look for in your cat snacks and foods are the following:
• A specifically named meat source (like chicken or tuna) as the first ingredient
• Minerals (like taurine, selenium, calcium and magnesium)
These will all protect your pet’s body and immune system.
3) Which flavors are best for my cat?
The good news is you can pick just about any flavor! Try filet mignon, poultry and fish medleys to see what your feline friend likes the most. Creatively mixing up his food once in a while can help keep him eating well and happily.
4) How often should I feed him?
Each cat is different when it comes to feeding, but most cat foods have feeding guidelines right on the packaging. Kittens typically need to eat more frequently (about 6 times daily!) than adults, but follow the guidelines and adjust accordingly.