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Every cat owner wants to keep his/her cat healthy for as long as possible. If you haven’t realized it already, feeding a high-quality diet to your cat is the best way to do it. However, finding the best food for your cat can be quite a challenge. The choices are practically endless and there is no dearth of disagreement and controversy when it comes to the debate of how best to feed your cat.
What to look for in cat food?
Start by looking at the label. If the manufacturer advertises the food as containing a single ingredient, then it must contain at least 95 percent of that ingredient without added water. Likewise, if the pet food is advertised to contain a combination of ingredients, they must together constitute 95 percent of the food. Foods that have descriptive phrases (like platter, dinner, entrée) must have at least 25 percent of the named ingredient. If the label states “with” a specific ingredient, then it needs to have only 3 percent of that ingredient. Products that advertise a specific flavor (“beef” or “chicken” flavor) need to contain only a minor amount of that particular ingredient.
Check the source of the animal protein
The next step is to take a good look at the list of ingredients. Bear in mind that the ingredients are usually listed by weight. Ingredients that have a lot of moisture content (like poultry, beef, fish, or chicken) are usually at the top of the list as they have the most moisture content. Ingredients that are further down might offer essential nutrients but weigh less because the water content has been removed. All cat foods must have a source of animal fat and protein. Our feline friends are obligate carnivores and they need nutrients like arachidonic acid and taurine in their diet. They can only be found in animal sources, not plant-based sources. The animal source might be in the form of poultry, beef, chicken, fish, turkey, or other meats. Quality cat food products like the Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Wet Cat Food fortify their blend with extra taurine to meet the nutritional needs of your cat.
The use of glutens and grains in pet food has been a major source of debate and controversy. Grain-based diets are an excellent carbohydrate source. Cats can metabolize them easily and use them as a source of energy. Although some animal experts believe that a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates is better for cats, there is no conclusive evidence to support this stance. It is important to bear in mind that grain-free diets are not necessarily low in carbohydrates. In most cases, they have been replaced by another carb source like potatoes. If you are looking for a low carbohydrate cat food, you need to make sure that this is not the case.
Why Some Cats Are Finicky About Food
Cats may show reservations toward certain types of foods if you try changing their diet out of the blue. Of course, if the formulation of the food that you usually feed your cat has changed, thereby affecting the texture, flavor, or shape, then you will have to look at switching to an alternative food; especially if your cat does not find it palatable anymore. Sometimes, a medical condition may call for a specialized prescription diet. Either way, we take a look at what causes some cats to be picky eaters, and how you can resolve the problem.
Evolutionary cat food habits
Let's take a look at the eating habits of cats that are not domesticated. These cats are opportunistic eaters; that means they eat when they find prey, eating many times a day- about 10 to 20 meals, on some days. If your cat is showing finicky habits then it is not following its natural food habits. You will have to explore further to see what is causing the issue.
Reasons why your cat is not eating right
If your cat is hesitant about switching over to new food, then do not be surprised, this is quite common with indoor cats. Since the cat is accustomed to a certain food, switching to a new food routine means change, which the cat naturally sees as a threat. You don't want to introduce unfamiliar foods out of nowhere into your cat's diet for this reason. You want to gradually introduce it, to avoid rejection. It's also important to do this to prevent stomach upsets in your cat. Take a week or two to gradually increase the quantity of the new food in your cat's diet. If your cat is the outdoorsy type, chances are he is already grabbing a snack outside before he gets back home. This could be why he's not hungry when it is lunchtime. In cases where there are many cats in a household, your cat may not be eating due to acts of bullying. If the food bowl is in a location that the cat cannot easily approach, due to the presence of other cat/cats, he may refrain from going near it. You want to make sure that the food bowl is in a location that offers a sense of security to your pet. They also like seclusion when they eat. If your cat shows a sudden change in its appetite and eating habits, it could also be due to an underlying condition. If your cat has a respiratory condition it could affect its sense of smell, while it may not be eating as it finds it difficult to chew due to tooth problems. Either way, it's a good idea to see a vet if the problem persists.