When researching cat food, most will assume that cats and dogs have similar dietary needs, and that a certain brand of food is trustworthy as long as it contains quality ingredients. However, these assumptions are not quite right. While quality ingredients remain an important component of the best cat food, cats have different dietary needs from dogs. Here is what you should look out for when selecting cat food, to keep your cat healthy and happy.
Even though dog and cat foods are similar, cats have more complicated dietary needs than dogs. Other than selecting a cat food with high-quality ingredients, there are also additional considerations.
Many cat owners in Singapore only use one qualifier when selecting their pet food.
For example, they will purchase mature cat food for their mature cat. However, selecting their food based solely on their age or life stage is not the best way, as you may overlook other important variables. If your cat has allergies or food sensitivities, these also need to be taken into account. The best course of action is to read up on the nutritional needs of cats, then consult your vet about your cat’s specific dietary needs. This way, you can find a suitable cat food to meet their needs, that can be readily purchased in Singapore.
Your cat also needs to get the right amount of moisture from their food. Unlike dogs, cats often do not drink enough water on their own. Thus, their diet needs to supplement them with extra hydration.
Even if your cat food contains high-quality ingredients, their benefits are lost if your cat cannot absorb them properly. This is where digestibility comes in. Digestibility is the percentage of foodstuff taken into the digestive tract that is actually absorbed by the body.
Generally, high-quality ingredients tend to be more digestible. However, the testing for digestibility percentage is conducted by the cat food manufacturer, and there are no third-parties that independently verify these claims. Some manufacturers are also unwilling to pay for the testing of digestibility percentage, as it is not mandatory. As a consumer, such information may be difficult to obtain.
Although digestibility percentage has yet to become a universal standard, we believe it is still an important factor to consider when selecting the best food for your cat.
Carbs – Yes or No?
Singaporeans eat a lot of carbohydrates in our daily staples of rice and noodles. Unlike us, however, cats need a high-protein diet. Amino acids that occur naturally in animal products are essential for healthy skin, coat and organ function. Although not required in their diet, most cats do consume some carbs, often in the form of wheat, rice or beet pulp. Experts have differing opinions on whether cats need or are able to digest carbs. Carbs in small amounts are not harmful, and may even help cats digest their food better and retain more nutrients. As a pet owner, what matters most is what you and your vet feel most comfortable feeding your cat.
Avoid Low-Quality Ingredients
By now, you should know the importance of high-quality ingredients in a healthy cat’s diet. High-quality protein sources such as whole meats and fish are easier on a cat’s kidneys than lower-quality sources. A low-quality protein diet can worsen the condition of cats with chronic kidney disease. Processed ingredients do not offer the same nutrients as whole meats and fish, and may even be contaminated with bacteria and other harmful agents.
Low-quality ingredients can cause health problems in your cat, such as kidney disease, obesity and dental health. Rendered fat, which is often added to increase the fat content in pet foods, is ripe for bacteria and mould growth. Other additives like artificial colours and flavours may also be dangerous for your cat.
Origins of Your Cat Food
As a cat owner, it is important to pay attention to past recalls, recent controversies, manufacturer information, unusually high number of customer complaints, and other relevant information about each cat food, especially when stocks in Singapore are affected. Also, avoid cat food that uses ingredients from a rendering facility, which turn extra animal products from other sources into “meat meal” or “bone meal”. These low-quality rendered material can include extras such as antibiotics, bacteria and steroids.
Essentially, it’s important for you to conduct your own research on cat food before feeding it to your cat. And if it shuns the food you offer it, try and try again until you’ve found the right ones for your kitty! We understand that cat food aren’t exactly the cheapest and it would be wasteful to simply dispose of an almost-full bag of cat food (which your feline rejected) so we have free samples available!
*Featured Image Credit: Pixabay
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