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The Ultimate Guide To Finding The Best Cat Food For Your Cutie!

Le guide ultime pour trouver la bonne nourriture à votre minou!

Your biggest goal when it comes to your pets is keeping them alive and happy for as long as you can. Yes, cuddles and toys do count as effort, but the food is the most essential part of keeping your fluffy ball of sass happy and healthy. When it comes to a healthy cat diet, there are a few things to keep in mind. Keep reading and find out all about their nutrition and the essentials they need to hang around for both a long and a good time.

What Is Cat Food Made Of?

Cats need all the right nutrients and the right portions so they can grow and stay as awesome as they are.

They originally come from the desert, which means they need a lot of water.

So, food for cats must contain animal products and should be filled with protein, fat, carbs, vitamins, minerals and water. Yes, water. Did you notice that cats drink far less water than dogs? They're very picky about their water, which is why water is one of the crucial ingredients that have to be found in cat food. While wet food is 78% moisture, most commercial dry food only contains 10% moisture - so they can stay hydrated and healthy.

When it comes to protein, it can come from vegetable sources and supplemental amino acids. Animal protein contributes a significant amount of minerals (measured in ash) - however, excess mineral concentrations can lead to health problems.

Pet food mostly consists of the following: 

  • Meat (poultry or cattle),
  • Fish,

  • Grain,

  • Vegetables,

  • Nutrients Supplements,

  • Vitamin & mineral pre-mix & supplemental amino acids

  • Flavour enhancers.

While pet food needs to be AAFCO compliant to be sold in certain states, almost all commercial pet food in Canada is formulated to meet those nutritional requirements established by the AAFCO profiles. Keep in mind, we have much stricter laws with regard to farming in Canada than in USA, providing us with hormone and antibiotic free meat and more sanitary farming conditions.

What Food Is Good For Cats?

These little sassy animals need more protein in comparison with many other animals. They need it to develop and maintain their muscles, skin, fur, nails, ligaments, hormones, and more. Your cat's food needs to contain a minimum of 26% crude protein. In more detail, that would mean they need 26% dry matter for adult maintenance, and 30% dry matter for growth and reproduction to meet the AAFCO profiles.

Then comes fat, which is the most energy-rich nutrient in the diet. Fat is also important for skin and coat health and helps with inflammation.

Feeding your cat some healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids would be a good idea.

What Food To Avoid?

Even though meat is a perfect source of protein, you should avoid giving your cat raw meat.

Treats are good to go, but since they're not as high in nutritional value, make sure they don't exceed your cat's daily food intake.

When talking about regular, human food - avoid giving your cat onions and garlic, raw eggs and dough, milk and chocolate. No, cats shouldn't consume dairy, contrary to the popular belief. Since most cats are lactose intolerant so consuming a lot of milk can lead to digestion issues. Steer away from sugar and spices, as well.

What's The Difference Between Dry And Wet Cat Food?

The main difference between canned and dry cat food lies in the moisture, meaning the amount of water the food contains. Just as you would have guessed, canned food has more water in it - around 70% compared to dry food, which has around 10% of water. Because of this main difference, the manufacturing process is a bit different as well, resulting in more carbs in dry food.

How Do I Choose The Right Food For My Pet?

Ah, the everlasting question. In some cases, choosing the proper food, wet or dry, is a no brainer, for example. If your cat has health issues such as diabetes or kidney failure you should be following a prescription diet, whether it be wet or dry is irrelevant - follow your vet's advice.

In other cases, it's all about your choice and your cat's preference. You can also consider the cost of the food. Canned food is usually more expensive than dry and, once opened, has a much shorter shelf life.

Dry food has a longer shelf life in the sense that, once opened, it will stay fresh until the date stamped on the bag (assuming it's in its original packaging) in a cold, dry space. However, at the end of the day - if there's any food left in the bowl - you should throw it.

Canned food's shelf life is around 4 days if refrigerated in an airtight container after opening.

A combination of both is most pet parents' go-to option. Combining both canned and dry food helps with getting the best of both worlds and reaping all the benefits. To get the best canned-dry food ratio mix, consult with your veterinarian.

When choosing a wet food, make sure it is formulated to meet the nutritional profiles established by the AAFCO cat food profiles that correspond to your pet's life stage

How To Know How Much To Feed Your Cat

There's no simple answer - your cat's daily calorie intake depends a lot on their age, size and weight. There are more variables to this equation such as activity level, reproductive status and overall health, but these three are go-to parameters.

Young kittens have a higher energy requirement. However, their stomachs are rather small, so at eight weeks of age, they should be fed about 5 meals a day. By six months - the amount is reduced to 2 meals a day.

As you can see, a lot of portion control depends on the size of a cat, so consult with your vet for the best results.

How Often Should You Feed Your Cat?

Cats have taught themselves to have small meals throughout the day. Your cat's total daily food intake should be divided into smaller portions, so minimally two, ideally six - especially if you're feeding them dry food. With wet food, there are usually consumed as three larger meals per day. Again, it all depends on your cat's size and age, so consulting with your vet is always a wise option.

The Takeaway

Choosing the best food for your cat can be challenging, which is why doing your research and consulting with your vet is so important. You can always count on La Niche Et Moi for getting the right food for your Fluffy. We've been in the industry for more than 40 years and became Gatineau's favourite pet store for a reason. Check out our selection of cat food here!

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