Cat owners love their cats and want them to have long, healthy lives. Feeding high-quality, nutritious pet food is one way to show love for your cat. It also ensures the cat has a glossy coat, lots of energy and balanced nutrition. With many so-called healthy options out there, it can be hard to figure out what the healthiest way to feed a cat is.
Food Allergies and Intolerances
Healthier cat food is a good choice for any cat, but especially for cats with sensitive stomachs and digestive issues. Some cats are even allergic to cat food ingredients commonly present in store-bought foods. Look for symptoms like skin irritation, itching, rashes, breathing difficulties, frequent ear infections, hair loss, recurring hot spots, diarrhea, stomach gurgling, flatulence, vomiting or frequent elimination. Food allergies or intolerance may be the problem. Check the label for common ingredients that are often culprits of food allergies: corn, wheat, soy, eggs, meat byproducts, dairy, food additives and artificial preservatives. Most common brands of store-bought cat food have these ingredients; your cat may be sensitive or allergic to one or several of them. Consult with a vet and try to eliminate ingredients that may be bothering your cat until you figure out what the issue is.
High-Quality Veterinary Diet
Well-known brands like Purina, Hills Science Diet and Royal Canin offer top-quality versions of their food to veterinarian offices. You can only get these foods from a vet's office. Ask your vet about the best quality food for your cat. Vets may also recommend other natural brands or store brands that are healthy.
Natural Cat Foods
Natural cat foods come in many varieties. If your local pet store doesn't offer natural food, find it at a specialty pet store or online. Wellness, Innova, Blue Buffalo and AvoDerm are popular brands of natural cat food. Sensitive cats often do best with food that is low-carb or no-carb. Look for grain-free, corn-free and soy-free varieties of natural cat food, which is healthiest for cats.
Raw or Homemade Cat Food
Healthy cat food is fresh cat food. Some owners buy fresh, raw cat food like FreshPet foods. Others make their own food at home. Creating and feeding your own blend of cat food ensures your cat is getting necessary nutrition. This will be more work for the owner and you will have to make food frequently, as homemade cat food spoils more easily. You can cook the cat food or feed it raw, but be sure you educate yourself about the process. You will need to be sure the cat is getting enough nutrition since, unlike store-bought food, the homemade meals will not be full of supplements. Eating fresh food is more similar to what cats might eat in the wild and is not full of preservatives and fillers.
Kayla Richard has been writing from Rochester, N.Y., since 2007. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English writing arts from SUNY Oswego and a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from SUNY Brockport.