Of all the things you do for your cat, feeding her a highly nutritious diet tops the list of importance. Cats, like all animals, have specific dietary needs, and in order to maintain their overall health and well-being, they need to be offered food that meets those nutritional needs. If you’re like most cat owners, you probably feed your feline friend manufactured food. It’s certainly the easiest option, but it’s not necessarily the best. Many manufactured pet foods are made with sub-par ingredients that offer little nutritional value, and in some cases, can be harmful to their health. That’s not to say that all manufactured cat food is bad; many are, in fact, very nutritious. However, it does mean that you need to be diligent and read labels when you are choosing your feline friend’s food.
What type of ingredients should you be on the lookout for to avoid? Here’s a look at four examples that you should definitely stay away from.
Many cat food manufacturers use meat byproducts in their recipes, and it’s something you definitely want to steer clear of. Meat byproducts, as they name suggests, are the parts of animals that aren’t meat. It can include things like brain, blood, intestines, lungs, brain, and even bone. Doesn’t sound appealing, does it?
There are two problems with animal byproducts. First, there’s no way to know what species they are from. Second, animal nutritionists and veterinarians consider it an “inferior” form of protein, a vital nutrient should be a primary ingredient in cat food. In other words, your feline friend won’t be getting the high-quality protein she needs to thrive if she’s eating food that contains byproducts.
Chemicals and Preservatives
It goes without saying that cats shouldn’t be eating anything that contains chemicals or preservatives; however – and unfortunately – many manufactured cat foods do contain these harmful ingredients. They’re often used in dry food, as they act as a preservative; but, it’s believed that there is a link to cancer and these chemicals and preservatives. In studies done on rats, it’s been shown that they cause liver and kidney damage.
Take a look at cat food labels. If you see BHA, BHT, or Ethoxyquin listed anywhere, put it down and keep on looking. Fortunately, many pet food manufacturers have stopped using these harmful ingredients and instead, they are now using vitamins C and E as natural preservatives.
Food dyes are another ingredient that you definitely want to steer clear of. Many manufactures of cat food use these dyes to enhance the appearance of cat food. However, just because a cat food is more visually appealing doesn’t mean that it’s healthier; in fact, it’s anything but! Food dyes, such as Blue 2, Yellow 5 and 6, Red 40, and caramel coloring, have been proven to cause serious adverse reactions in cats. They are attributed with allergic reactions, behavioral issues (such as hyperactivity), and can even lead to cancer. Cat food shouldn’t be bright and colorful; if it is, it probably isn’t healthy, as it likely contains food dyes. Better yet, don’t even open a bag or a can that features any of the above-mentioned dyes on the ingredient list.
Lastly, you’re going to want to avoid anything that contains carbohydrate “fillers”. Many cat food manufactures use these ingredients because they are cheap and are good a bulking up the food, giving it the illusion that it’s healthier; but it definitely isn’t. Felines aren’t built to process carbohydrates. These animals are carnivores, and in nature, the only carbs that they eat are those that they obtain through the animals they eat, so offering a cat these ingredients could lead to digestive health issues. Furthermore, carbohydrate fillers often contain melamine, which has been found to result in kidney failure.
If you see corn meal, soy, wheat, or rice on the ingredient list, skip that variety of food. Instead, look for recipes that contain whole grains, or don’t feature any grains at all.
Summing It Up
There’s no doubt that you want your feline friend to live a long, happy, and healthy life. By offering her a cat food that is nutritionally balanced and free of the four above-mentioned ingredients, you’ll be able to do just that.