Taking time to review your cat’s food and nutritional guidelines is important, especially because just as our nutritional guidelines can change, cat’s can change too. When it comes to new kittens in particular, ensure you are checking their nutritional needs that are ever changing as they grow, so that you can choose the best kitten food out there.
It can’t hurt to re-examine what you are feeding your cat. Here are some of the most important ingredients in cat food to keep an eye out for:
Water is the most important element in your cat’s food. Make sure you check the amount of moisture in the food you are feeding your cat. Cats in general should drink around 4 ounces daily in addition to the moisture consumed from their food – dry food having around 10% of daily moisture, as opposed to canned food which can have 70%. If you are worried your cat isn’t drinking enough water, try switching tap water for bottled water. Some cats dislike the altered taste of water with certain additives.
Keep checking your cat for symptoms such as dry mouth, panting, lethargy and sunken eyes – these are symptoms of dehydration and if you notice any, take your cat to the vet immediately.
Protein is at the top of the list for cats’ nutritional needs. Protein is extremely important for your kitten’s growth, development and energy production, and all cats need protein included in their diet on a daily basis. Not only is protein important for growth, protein provides cats with amino acids and is also needed to produce antibodies, hormones, enzymes and tissues. Cats rely on meat and fish to get their protein, or in other words; animal-based protein. The other type of protein is plant-based, and although it is important for plant-based protein to be included in your cat’s diet, they can’t live on it alone. To ensure you’re supplying your cat or kitten with the right amount of protein, search for kitten food that has at least 30% of protein, and cat food that has a minimum of 25-30% protein.
An important component of protein for cats is Taurine, an amino acid which can only be found in animal-based protein, and is critical to the development of the fetus. Taurine also helps vision, digestion, heart function and is vital in maintaining your cat’s healthy immune system.
Many cat foods have added taurine, but be sure to look for it on the label.
3. Vitamins and Minerals:
Vitamins are essential for growth and function and for regulating metabolism. Although some vitamins can be made in your cat’s body, most have to be consumed through diet. Minerals are stored in your cat’s bone and muscle tissue and are vital to transport oxygen, form enzymes, maintain the right pH balance and are also necessary to complete physiological reactions.
Most cat foods include vitamins and minerals, but it is important to review the labels as there are some raw foods that may lack certain vitamins.
Fat is crucial for your cat’s diet, as it provides fuel for the body and helps to protect internal organs and produce hormones. Fat also helps maintain your cat’s healthy skin and coat, and is of course essential for proper kidney function and reproductive health. Most cat foods provide 8% of fat for cats and 5% for kittens, however it is most recommended that full-grown cats have 15-20% fat in their diet, and kittens have at least 20% fat.
Other than the ingredients mentioned in this list, there are of course other important nutritional elements in cat food, so we recommend checking in with your veterinarian to see if your cat has additional needs beyond the food you are feeding him. A healthy cat is a happy cat, so make sure you are always revising and revisiting your adored cat’s diet.