Why You Should Trust Us
Over the last year, weve written in-depth reviews of over 115 cat food brands and hundreds of formulas. We spent hours researching, contacting pet food companies, and analyzing labels. With the help of our cats, we also got hands-on experience with a few foods.
Between reviewing specific brands and researching feline nutrition, weve learned which brands and products are worth buying and putting in your cats bowl.
Based on that experience, weve chosen the 10 products described below as the best cat food you can buy in 2021.
The Benefits Of Homemade Cat Food
Youve heard the saying, If you want something done right, do it yourself. For many cat owners, thats the primary motivation behind switching to homemade cat food. If you really want to know what youre putting into your cats body, the best option might be making the food yourself.
Homemade cat food could be a good option for cats who:
- Suffer from food sensitivities or allergies to specific ingredients
- Have specific food and flavor preferences, aka picky eaters
- Have digestive problems, such as inflammatory bowel disease
- Could benefit from a higher level of moisture in their diet
- Experience skin problems related to diet or digestive issues
- Are sensitive to artificial additives and chemical ingredients
The truth is homemade cat food isnt perfect, but neither is commercial food. As a cat owner, its your duty to make a responsible decision regarding your cats diet. Whether you choose homemade cat food, a fresh cat food delivery service, or high-quality commercial food is up to you.
We simply want to help you understand the options so you can make an educated decision.
Onions Garlic & Related Root Vegetables
Onions contain a substance that destroys red blood cells in the cat, causing a form of anemia called Heinz body anemia. Garlic contains a similar substance in a lesser amount. It’s not likely that a small amount of garlic or onion cooked into a sauce will cause problems for your cat. It can be dangerous for them to consume a full clove of garlic or any large pieces of raw onion and will likely cause an upset stomach.
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Homemade Food Doesnt Provide Complete Nutrition
In addition to meat, vegetables and sometimes fruits , I emphasize adding an omega 3 oil , taurine and food-based vitamins and minerals . I also recommend daily use of a probiotic and digestive enzyme.
It is important to rotate proteins and vegetables to offer your cat a full spectrum of nutrients. You dont need to go crazy switching between two or three proteins is fine. Green vegetables can alternate between broccoli, kale, spinach and zucchini. Use pumpkin one batch and sweet potatoes the next. It becomes second nature very quickly.
It is best to work with a holistic or integrative veterinarian or nutrition specialist for personalized recipes as well as supplement suggestions so that your pets individual needs are met.
One of the great advantages of preparing homemade foods for your cat is that you have complete control over the ingredients. You can be confident that there are no artificial colors or flavors or flavor enhancers. You also know that the meats are human grade, not from diseased, dying, dead or drugged animals. You know the omega 3s are cold-pressed and arent rancid because you added them after cooking. You know that the vegetables are free from pesticides. You know there are no fillers or cheap ingredients like corn, wheat, barley, sorghum and soy.
Jodi has kindly provided two sample recipes click on the link to download: Basic Recipe for Homemade Cat Food.
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How Much Protein Do Cats Need
Protein requirements change over the lifespan of a cat. Here are the recommended allowances for crude protein:
The AAFCO set the minimum level of crude protein at 26% for cat food labeled complete. However, most vets consider a high-quality cat food to contain 40-50% protein. This is closer to the amount of protein a wild cat would consume.
It was previously believed that older cats should not be fed protein because their bodies struggle to digest it. However, its now known that older cats do require protein, but that it needs to be in a very digestible form so that their bodies can tolerate it more easily.
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Homemade Cooked Cat Food Recipes
Preparing cat food with the ingredients you find in your kitchen, both new and scraps, is a simple way of ensuring your cat is receiving a healthy and delicious diet. These five homemade cooked cat food recipes include various meats, veggies, grains, and supplements sure to keep your cat nourished and satisfied!
The Dangers Of Commercial Pet Food Especially Dry Food
With regard to the safety of raw meat diets, you will no doubt hear varying opinions on this issue. Many of my colleagues are adamantly opposed to the feeding of raw meat yet they think nothing of supporting the common practice of leaving bowls of dry food sitting out for pets to free-feed from which can be contaminated with fungal mycotoxins, bacteria, chemicals, or storage mites. It is very frustrating to witness this narrow-mindedness and lack of acknowledgement as it pertains to the contamination issues regarding dry food and treats many of which have been recalled as noted below.
I would like to see my colleagues stop reflexively telling their clients that all raw meat diets are dangerous and understand that there are ways to source and prepare this diet that will actually make it safer than the commercial foods that they continue to recommend without any thought as to feline illnesses that these foods contribute to due to their species-inappropriate composition/ingredients, as well as the contamination issues.
I dont think that a single cat or dog caregiver in the US is not aware of the thousands of cats and dogs that suffered tremendously and died or have been left with failing kidneys and a shortened lifespan/diminished quality of life due to the contamination of commercial foods processed by Menu Foods in the summer of 2007.
Dry food is simply not a very healthy or completely safe diet to be feeding to any cat.
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Rice With Vegetables And Tuna
- 50 grams of brown rice
- 85 grams of canned tuna to the natural
- 15 grams of canned clams
- 30 grams of vegetables of your choice, suitable for cats
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 gram of calcium carbonate
Ready! Prepare the quantity you want and save it for rations to use at your convenience.
Remember! These are just examples of homemade food for cats with kidney failure, if your cat has this problem it is important that you go to the veterinarian to recommend the specific foods that suit you and tell you what are the appropriate amounts, as well as the frequency of consumption. Always count on the veterinarian to take care of your cats health!
Discover More Cat Recipes
If these dishes are not enough to satisfy your cat, maybe because they are a fussy eater, don’t worry. We also have some other tasty homemade treats and dishes for you cats to enjoy. They include:
Just remember, if you are going to change your cat’s diet, you need to ensure all of their nutritional needs are met. You will also need to know the difference between a treat and a meal, so please don’t overfeed your pet.
If you want to read similar articles to How to Cook Chicken for Cats, we recommend you visit our Homemade diets category.
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Feeding A Cat With Kidney Disease
Kidney failure in cats is usually a progressive disease. There are cases where trauma or poisoning can lead to acute kidney failure, but usually the disease moves slowly. When this happens, the kidney cannot perform its function of filtering waste from the digestive process. The symptoms of feline kidney disease will gradually become more pronounced, but these symptoms may not appear long into the onset of the disease.
While some medication may be administered to mitigate the symptoms, it is not a curable disease. To maintain optimal health, the cat will need to make lifestyle changes. Changing their diet is one of the most important factors.
We can find various commercial feeds which are suitable for cats with kidney disease. However, not all are of the same quality and regulation of cat food can often be lacking. Many caregivers of a cat with kidney disease will choose to make a homemade diet. Before we share some healthy recipes for cats with kidney failure, we show you why this might be a good option for you.
But What Ifyou Don’t Know How To Cook
In case, you are no kitchen genie, fret not! We recommend to you Nom Nom.
Nom Nom is a meal delivery service for your beloved pets. The company provides care-grade or restaurant-quality meals for your pets, which means that each dish they serve is made with quality, fresh, wholesome ingredients that is fit for your cat’s caloric needs.
The company is committed to deliver the best nutrition possible for your four-legged companion. They offer made-to-order recipes that is formulated by a board certified vetirinary nutritionist in the US, Dr. Justin Shmalberg. All meals have no fillers, by products or any artificial preservatives plus don’t forget their door to door delivery service.
All recipes are complete, balanced and meet AAFCO & USFDA standards. These certificates are actually not needed if you want to sell pet food in the US- but it is nice to know that the company is willing to go the extra mile just to ensure that their meals are nutritious and safe.
The company started their cat food line last May 2018, and their marketing manager stated that their cat food recipes are created to combat specific health problems in cats such as kidney disease. This is actually great news to pet parents!
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Tuna And Catnip Treats
Every good kitty deserves a treat or two especially if it contains catnips! Cats absolutely love catnips, a herb from the mint family Labiatae. It contains an active ingredient known as nepetalactone, which may cause a high in your cat to help your furry friend relax! However, be sure to moderate your cats intake of this homemade cat recipe as too much catnip may cause nauseousness.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Which Types Of Cat Food Contain High
Most pet websites will advise you to feed your cat high-quality protein because its easier to digest. But what is meant by high-quality protein? Identifiable muscle meat/organ parts are considered high-quality proteins. These should be listed first on the ingredients list.
Look for labels that contain chicken, lamb, rabbit, pigs heart, pigs liver, etc., at the top of the ingredients list instead of meat meal or by-products. Studies have shown that muscle meats and organs are highly digestible forms of protein for cats.
Studies have shown that eating a single, non-rendered protein, instead of meat meal or meat byproduct meal, enables cats to absorb more of the amino acid lysine and perhaps also more vitamin A, D, & E. So, look for cat food that contains meat/organs from a single, identifiable source at the top of the ingredients list.
Is Meat Meal Digestible for My Cat?
If you see meat meal written on the ingredients label, this means that the protein has been rendered. Rendering involves heating the animal flesh to a very high temperature to remove excess moisture and fat, thereby creating a concentrated protein form.
In some ways, this is good because it makes the product more cost-effective and easy to transport. However, its thought that meat meal is not as digestible as untreated meat. According to OUP, the rendering process can damage the integrity of lysine.
Are Meat Byproducts Safe for My Cat?
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Homemade Cat Food Is In Your Control
Kibble and wet cat food are highly processed and pressurized.
Most pet food companies use eye-catching claims and marketing to trick us.
Commercial cat food is filled with low-quality ingredients, chemical preservatives, and unnecessary fillers.
Most kibble companies are owned by the same corporations that make junk food for humans.
So think of commercial cat food like fast food and homemade cat food like home cooking.
Homemade cat food is in your control.
You buy the ingredients, and you prepare the food in your kitchen.
Having control over what your cat eats is the best benefit of homemade cat food.
Recipes Adapted From Home Prepared Dog And Cat Diets
The following recipes have been adapted from Home Prepared Dog and Cat Diets by Donald R. Strombeck, DVM, PhD. The book contains 200 recipes, but you have to search through it to find those for cats. It’s still an excellent book for your library if you are starting to feed your cat a home-prepared diet.
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Human Foods Are Not Meant For Cats
The main reason to discourage feeding cats “people food” is that there are a number of foods that are toxic to cats. While it is tasty and harmless to humans, a simple nibble could be life-threatening for your cat. If you are a cat owner, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the everyday foods that can be dangerous, and even deadly, for cats.
A Cooked Diet: The Risks And Rewards
Little scientific evidence exists either for or against a cooked diet for cats.
Some, like Cornell Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine, warn against making raw or cooked cat food at home because of the importance of getting the right quantity and proportions of nutrients.
Remillard says she has talked to many cat owners eager to switch to homemade cat food in the wake of melamine poisoning in commercial cat foods. And although she doesnt push homemade cat food diets, she says they can work — as long as cat owners consult a veterinarian-nutritionist to formulate one.
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Is Raw Cat Food More Digestible
If unprocessed meat is better for cats than meat meal, does this mean that an uncooked diet would be optimal? Wild cats eat a raw diet, so it seems like the most natural option to feed your pet.
According to Sage, a raw meat diet is highly digestible for cats. Many owners also claim that their cats poop is less smelly on a raw diet. Though raw food is digestible for cats, there are risks:
- Raw meat diets have been linked to fat deficiencies
- The risk of bacterial infections increases
If you plan to feed your cat a raw diet, choose a reputable pet food manufacturer. Raw meals must be nutritionally balanced and prepared safely, so select a seller you can trust.
Chicken And Cranberry Cat Treats
Cranberries are thought to help reduce the risk of UTIs by lowering the urinary pH levels and preventing bacteria from sticking to the system. Hence, adding some cranberries to a cat treat recipe can not only brighten your cats day but may also help to keep UTI at bay!
Prep time: 20 minutes
- 1 heaping tablespoon dried catnip
- 1 large egg
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Best For Digestion: Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Supplements Fortiflora For Cats
If your pet is struggling with digestive issues, you might try Purina Pro Plan FortiFlora. This powdered probiotic is specially formulated to alleviate diarrhea in cats. The probiotics come from dried “enterococcus faecium fermentation,” which is a fancy way to say good bacteria that benefits gut health and digestion.
Other ingredients include brewer’s yeast, vitamin C, zinc, manganese, calcium, and taurine. One box comes with 30 pre-portioned packets containing live microorganisms , which you can sprinkle over your cat’s food once a day.
Why Should You Make Your Own Homemade Cat Food
For starters, you will know exactly what’s in your cat’s food because you put it there yourself. Dry kibble tends to be loaded with carbohydrates and plant based proteins.
Worse, it is often contaminated by bacteria, fungal mycotoxins and even vermin and their excretions. You want better nutrition for your cat.
Dry food also does not have a high enough moisture content for cats. Many people remember the mass pet food recalls in 2007 after many unfortunate animals experienced renal failure after eating contaminated food. If you cook your cat’s food yourself, you will know exactly what she’s eating and, almost as importantly, what she’s not eating.
Now let’s talk about costs. Will it be cheaper in the long run to cook your own cat food? That all depends. Are you using chicken or rabbit? Unless you own a warren, chicken will usually be cheaper.
Are you getting your ingredients from Whole Foods, a typical grocery store or the farmer’s market? Do you want to use supplements? Just how much does your cat eat? How much should your cat be eating? Do you prefer organic? Will you be willing to do your own prep work? All cats are different.
When considering how much your food bill will be for your cat, it’s a good idea to weigh it against a possible vet bill. Cats that eat healthy have better health and won’t need to see a vet as often. Plus, healthy cats are happy cats.
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