Whether you are a first-time cat parent or a seasoned veteran, cat food labels can be extremely tricky to read. You may find yourself purchasing products based on flashy phrases, without actually knowing what these phrases mean. You may fall for the most expensive food or settle for the cheapest option. However, as many cat parents will tell you, there is a specific language of cat food labels you must know to ensure your cat’s happy, healthy lifestyle.
What’s In A Name?
The name of a cat food can be very telling of its contents. If the food has a simple title like “chicken cat food,” there is a 95% minimum requirement of that meat. If it has descriptive words like “dinner, recipe, platter, etc.” in the name, there is a 25% minimum requirement of meat. If it has “with” in the name, such as “cat food with beef,” there is a 3% minimum requirement of that meat. Finally, you want to avoid anything with the word “flavor,” which has no minimum requirement and may in fact contain no meat products.
The Ingredients List
Like humans, cats require specific food for optimal energy and quality of life. Many cat foods consist mainly of fillers, which is why they can be so inexpensive. You should always check a cat food’s ingredient list before feeding it to your cat. It will be organized by weight, with the most prominent ingredients listed first. Meat should always be the first ingredient, likely followed by meat by-products. By-products include blood, bone, brain, liver, etc. As carnivores, cats are most drawn to and get the most energy from these products.
While ingredients are important, it may be easier for you (and your cat) to digest the nutrient content of a food. Cat foods come equipped with something called a “guaranteed analysis,” which lists the minimum and maximum amounts of certain nutrients. These measurements are not exact due to the mass produced nature of pet foods, but they provide some guidance for the nutrients your cat will receive. Alongside meat products, domestic cats need water, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to survive. You want all of these to be present in the food. Nutrient needs vary by cat; if you’re worried your cat is not receiving the proper nutrients, you may want to consult your vet.
At Claws N Paws in Orange County, CA, your pet’s needs are always our top priority. Our full-service grooming salon provides professional grooming services to both cats and dogs. Right next door, your kitty can find a lovely place to stay at our cats-only boarding facility. For more information or to set up an appointment, you can call us today at 714-962-1005.