Currently, a cat owner hardly knows which cat food is the best for his treasure, as the opinions of other owners and even recognized experts differ widely. Obviously, the mouse is still the ideal food source, with its stomach contents, fibers, bones, and everything. It is no surprise that many cat owners have adopted the so-called BARF diet. Many others recommend feeding them raw food for many reasons, and they tend toward industrially produced brands. Mainly because many supplements have to be added when feeding raw food, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies due to incorrect contents, these deficiencies can lead to dangerous consequences, even jeopardizing the cat’s health.
Most vets lean toward a combination of dry and canned food so that they can take advantage of the benefits of both. According to veterinarians, with the many brands available, it is not easy to choose the right one for your cat, so in this article, we will show you what to look for in dry food, according to veterinarians, and what content in canned food can be harmful to your cat.
Advantages of canned cat food
Canned food has many clear benefits, so it’s no surprise that veterinarians recommend using it as a complete meal or combining it with dry cat food.
Canned cat food contains a high amount of moisture. This is especially advantageous for cats who don’t drink a lot and have a higher water requirement. Most brands contain up to 80% water, which almost wholly meets the need of a cat that moves very little. As the owner, you hardly have to worry about the cat’s water intake anymore. Unfortunately, cats are known to drink very little. As animals prone to kidney stones regularly suffer from constipation or kidney disease, canned food is the ideal nutrition and can lessen these symptoms.
Also, most cats prefer canned food over dry food. This is why canned food is ideal if you are the owner of a very picky cat who refuses to eat many other brands. The water helps the aromas of the food develop, which leads to a better and more intense flavor than that of dry food. Additionally, typical canned food contains more protein than other cat food, which cats perceive as positive and tasty.
Canned food has a long shelf life. It’s not uncommon for unopened cans not to expire for up to two years, and the food remains fresh, tasty, and healthy too. Thanks to the high water content in the food, the calories are diluted. This leads to the ability of food to avoid being overweight. There are also, of course, unique brands for cats that are already overweight.
Summary of benefits:
- a high amount of humidity
- covers a large part of the water requirements
- cats like it better
- exceptionally long shelf life in closed cans
- calories are diluted – and can avoid overweight
- easy to ration
- wide selection of different brands
- easy to store
Canned food should contain:
Taurine: Taurine plays an important role in your cat’s metabolism and strengthens her eyes and heart. Taurine is contained in meat, as well as organ meats. Veterinarians are not sure how much is recommended, although opinions vary between 400 – 2500 mg per kilo of cat food.
Vitamins: Of course, vitamins are essential and are contained in meat and organ meats. However, these can be destroyed during production.
Calcium and phosphates: Calcium and phosphates are essential for the growth of the cat’s bones and kidneys. These should be in a ratio of 1.2 – 1 (calcium 1.2 – phosphates 1).
Potassium and sodium: These are also vital and should be contained in all canned food brands. The ideal ratio is 2.1 potassium to 1 sodium.
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What should you look for when shopping for canned cat food?
Along with animal by-products, there are also plant by-products. These are not at all suitable for canned cat food. They mainly contain cheap soybeans, as well as cereal waste. In fact, a cat’s natural diet does not contain them at all since cats do not eat carbohydrates to cover their energy needs but proteins. Another fact is that a cat’s stomach is not long enough to release long-chain carbohydrates, so they cannot fully digest them. For this reason, it is necessary to keep the number of carbohydrates in cat food as low as possible, regardless of whether it is dry or canned. Plant material is also responsible for the unnecessary strain on the cat’s organs, which can lead, in the worst case,
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Many canned foods are, unfortunately, high in sugar. However, sugar is not a sweet taste for cats at all. It only serves to make the food look tasty – not for the cat, but only for the owner. Also, sugar is unhealthy, makes your cat fat, and can lead to tooth decay. For this reason, it is advisable to avoid cat food that contains sugar.
Only a minority of cat owners think about what it means when the can is labeled “animal by-products.” This does not mean that it contains high-quality meat. In contrast, they often contain low-quality waste (slaughterhouse waste), difficult for any cat to digest. Examples are fur, urine, and other waste that cats would not normally eat. Other canned foods list their by-products in detail – not all of them are bad. The liver, heart, and stomach are also part of this subcategory and are healthy for your cat. Some brands have labels that say not only “meat and other animal by-products (4% rabbit, among others)” but “90% rabbit (90% muscle tissue, 5% heart, 5% stomach)”.
Canned food ingredients
By looking at the ingredients in canned food, you can easily determine whether it is of high quality or not. We will list some examples:
|Ingredient||Important to know|
Minerals, Supplements, and Vitamins – What Should Canned Cat Food Contain?
Canned food should not contain:
Sugar and flavorings: Flavorings are used to make the cat ignore the poor quality of the food. Some cheap brands do this. Sugar, additionally, causes tooth decay and excess weight. If it is a high-quality meal with high amounts of meat, no more flavoring is needed.
Colorings: High-quality cat food does not need colorants, primarily responsible for making the food look better and tastier – not for the cat, but its owner.
Gelling agents: These are responsible for binding the juice of the meat so that a sauce or jelly is formed. Unfortunately, food additives or starch-based materials are frequently used, which can be harmful to your cat.
Preservatives: Responsible for a longer conservation period. Especially artificial preservatives, such as potassium sorbate, also known as E303, should be avoided. Natural antioxidants like citric acid are not as bad.
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If you ask ten different vets for their opinion of good canned food, you will probably get ten other answers. However, this is primarily because many veterinarians are not specially trained to recommend special cat foods or participate in special conferences about a brand of cat food that wants to sell their product. So it is essential for you as a cat owner to be careful with the ingredients yourself and choose a brand that lists them all, not just a few. Good cat food shouldn’t hide any of its components or keep them secret. High-quality food is not only tasty for your cat, but it also provides all the essential nutrients it needs for a healthy life.
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