What To Look For In Cat Food For Indoor Cats
The food you choose for your feline can play a significant role in their overall health, making it one of the most important decisions youll face as a pet parent. How can you find the best cat food for indoor cats?
High-quality protein is a must for the best indoor cat food, as well as the right mix of vitamins and minerals to ensure your cat thrives at every stage of life.
Giving your feline some of the healthiest cat food for indoor cats wont mean a thing if your fussy kitty refuses to eat. Searching for cat foods with a texture and taste your cat loves and proper nutrition may involve trial and error but can be well worth the effort.
Can Senior Cats Eat Regular Cat Food
Raw or gently cooked fresh food is an excellent diet for elderly cats. Dr. Becker recommends that if it is impossible to feed raw that dehydrated or freeze-dried balanced food reconstituted with plenty of water is good second choice. However, feeding an all dry-food diet in the long run will cause problems.
Protein And Carb Content
Its also important to look at the nutrition, moisture, and fat content of your cats food. Cats evolved as hunters so their natural diet would be primarily carnivorous. They would consume prey that contains high amounts of protein, moderate amounts of fat, and a nominal amount of carbohydrates.
Pet parents should also look for high protein, Georgina Ushi-Phillips, DMV. Not only is protein almost always a good option for our carnivorous cats, but high protein can help cats preserve muscle mass as they lose weight.
Note that protein and fat content numbers will be higher in dry foods than in wet foods, because wet food percentages are reported on a wet basis and contain a high percentage of water while dry food percentages are reported on a dry basis. You should look for about 8-10 percent minimum for protein in wet foods or at least 25 percent in dry food. Fat content should be a minimum of 5 percent in wet food or 20 to 30 percent in dry food. Some cats will turn their nose up at foods with less protein or fat than is recommended.
Lastly, pet parents will want to avoid too many carbohydrates within the first several ingredients, says Dr. Ushi-Phillips. Ingredients are listed in order with the greatest amount first. While higher fiber food will have some carbohydrate sources, they shouldnt be the main ingredients. Healthy carbs should come from ingredients like organic pumpkin, sweet potato, or brown rice.
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Best Cat Food: Our 2022 Top Rated Healthiest Cat Food Picks
When your cat is hungry, he lets you know by meowing incessantly or by inserting himself into whatever activity youre trying to do that doesnt involve feeding your cat.
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When youve finally had enough, you head to the cupboard or the pantry to pour your cat a bowl of food. Its something youve done hundreds of times, so you dont really think about it. You dont really think about what youre actually feeding your cat.
The truth of the matter is that all cat foods are not created equal.
Cat food manufacturers are businesses just like any other, and their number-1 goal will always be to make a profit. This isnt to say that all cat food companies are bad, but there are certainly more than a few of them out there that dont deserve a second glance.
But how do you know which cat food companies you can trust and which ones you cant?
Unfortunately, its not easy. If you want to be confident that youre feeding your cat a high-quality product that will meet his nutritional needs in the healthiest way possible, youre going to have to do a little bit of homework. Youre going to have to take matters into your own hands and learn how to identify the best cat food brands on the market.
Lucky for you, were here to help!
In this article, well give you the background information you need to pick the best cat food for your cat, AND well throw in some of our own personal recommendations to get you started.
Lets get to it!
Cats Should Cool It On The Carbs
As mentioned, cats are obligate carnivores that need high levels of animal-based proteins in their daily diet. Dr. Coates says, Grains, and more generally carbohydrates, should only play a small role as a source of energy in a cats diet. Fillers are ingredients that serve no nutritional purpose and should be avoided. Too many grains in a cats diet can lead to malnutrition, obesity, organ issues, and GI tract issues. Its important to know the silent signs your cat is sick.
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Hills Science Diet Indoor Dry Cat Food
Hills Science Diet Dry Cat Food is designed specifically for indoor cats, but our outdoor cats love it too!
Its precisely balanced nutrition is the result of the work of more than 220 veterinarians, scientists and pet nutritionists. Super high quality ingredients mean that you can be sure there are no artificial flavors or preservatives and that only the best sources of protein are used.
We noticed a big improvement in the softness of our cats coat when switching to Hills Science Diet, and weve seen talk around the web that suggests we arent alone in making that discovery.
Price wise, its incredible value for money when you consider it provides an equal amount of health benefits when compared to even the most expensive brands.
Lean proteins help maintain muscle in indoor cats and keep them at an ideal weight. Its also available in multiple formulas, each tailored to the needs of cats of all ages .
We cant recommend this food highly enough, despite its indoor cat label, its perfectly suitable for both indoor and outdoor cats. Hills Science Diet Adult Indoor Dry review.
Natures Variety Instinct Raw Boost
Instinct Raw Boost combines a grain-free kibble with freeze-dried raw chicken, duck or rabbit, depending on the recipe. The chicken recipe and duck recipe are recommended for outdoor/indoor cats, and because rabbit is lower in fat, the rabbit recipe is recommended for indoor cats, who are less active. Theres also a weight-control formula, but its only 1 percent lower in fat than the rabbit recipe .
Both the duck and rabbit recipes start out with whole meat, followed by four meat meals, which is exceptional. Like many other kibbles, one of the primary ingredients is peas, tapioca and/or chickpeas. But Instinct throws in the freeze-dried meat cubes as a bonus, boosting up the protein and providing another excellent source of raw meat.
Also added to the ingredients are small amounts of freeze-dried rabbit heart, lung and kidney, so its not surprising that Instinct Raw Boost has one of the higher percentages of protein among the dry foods we analyzed.
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Best Wet Cat Food For Weight Loss
If your cat is struggling to lose weight, diet plays a big role. Your veterinarian may recommend switching to a wet cat food for weight loss to try to keep your cats calories regulated. Before starting your feline friend on a weight-loss food, make sure to discuss the change with your cats vet.
Here are our top picks for wet cat foods designed for weight loss.
Indoor cats tend to be less active than their outdoor counterparts, and if your indoor feline has packed on a few pounds, this food from Avoderm can help. It is made with lean protein sources including chickens and tuna to help cats stay trim. On the back of the cans, youll see feeding instructions for weight loss and also weight managementwhich makes it easy to figure out the right serving size. And we love the skin and coat-benefiting ingredients in this recipe as well. Rich avocados and avocado oil will keep your kittys coat soft and shiny. Its a win-win!
- This is not a grain-free food.
- This is a pate-style food.
Cats Really Shouldnt Eat Dog Food
At some point you might have wondered if cats can eat dog foodafter all, they seem to look all the samebut the answer is not really. Dr. Coates says, If your cat occasionally steals a mouthful from your dogs bowl, you have nothing to worry about, but make sure that 90 percent or more of your cats diet is made up of cat food. This is because, as outlined above, cats rely heavily on diets rich in animal-based protein. Dogs have an entirely different set of dietary needs, and therefore their food is formulated according to their nutritional satisfaction. Learn more about the best diet for dogs.
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Dry Cat Food Versus Wet Or Canned Cat Food
Dry cat food is a popular choice partly because it is more convenient than wet cat food. Dry food is cost-effective, odorless, and it can be stored for long periods of time without spoiling, says Ferris.
But Julien notes that dry cat food can also be higher in carbohydrates than wet cat food. Just as you think about all the sourdough youve been eating while baking at home, you should also consider the amount of carbs your cat is eating. An active cat can absolutely use carbohydrates as an energy source, says Julien, adding that a sedentary aka indoor cat will store extra carbs as fat.
Wet food requires a bit more effort it has to be refrigerated once the can or pouch is opened and can be more expensive. But it may also help cats get more water in their diet . Canned or wet food has higher levels of protein and fat, making it a great option for cats of various lifestyles and ages, says Kornreich.
At A Glance: Best Cat Food To Buy In 2021
In the comparison table below, weve highlighted some of the most important features of each product. Youll find more detailed information about each product later in the article
- Fresh food made with human-grade ingredients
- Real, high-quality animal protein
- Contains 92% fresh muscle meat, organs, and bone
- Rich in species-appropriate animal protein
- High-quality source of omega-3 fatty acids
- Rich in high-protein animal ingredients
- Receives positive customer reviews
- A protein-rich food primarily made from animal-sourced ingredients
- Extremely palatablecats love the taste and texture of this fresh food
- The subscription model gives you access to a team of nutrition experts
- Rich in nourishing animal protein
- Extraordinarily low in carbohydrates
- Food is made from responsibly-harvested fish
- Animal protein sources are the foods primary ingredients
- Contains herring oil and salmon oil as rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids
- Primarily made with animal-derived protein
- Free of vaguely-named ingredients
- Rich in nourishing animal protein
- High moisture content helps to flush the urinary tract
- Low ash shouldnt contribute to crystal formation
- Rich in species-appropriate animal protein
- Contains guaranteed levels of probiotics to support the immune system and digestive health
- Added prebiotic fiber helps to prevent the constipation that some raw-fed cats experience
- Ultra-soft pâté texture is easy for kittens to eat
- Rich in protein and calories
- Hydrating canned food
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Best Kitten: Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Kitten Food
Food Type: Wet | Amount: Not listed | Main Ingredient: Varies | Life Stage: Kitten
It’s important to feed your kitten food thats specifically labeled for kittens, as it will be formulated to help support their growth and healthy development with higher protein content and calories. It should also have increased vitamin and mineral supplementation , Dr. Barrack says.
This grain-free blend comes in smaller 3-ounce cans sized for kittens’ appetites. If you do have any left over, cover and refrigerate it will stay good for up to three days. The soft, paté style is easy for kittens to chew and digest. This box comes with four different flavors so you can experiment until you find their favorite.
Food Type: Wet | Amount: 3 ounces | Main Ingredient: Ocean whitefish | Life Stage: Adult
While the best food for your senior cat depends on your own cats unique health needs, in general, it is best to maintain a diet filled with proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and water throughout all stages of your cat’s life, Dr. Barrack says. This grain-free blend made in the U.S. from Purina contains 10 percent minimum protein to help maintain your older cats lean muscle mass, antioxidants beta carotene, and vitamin E to support their immune system, and prebiotic fiber for easier digestion.
Note that you may want to cut back on portion sizes if you notice your cat is less active or gaining weight.
The Honest Kitchen Grain
If you love the idea of feeding your cat fresh or raw food, but you dont want to deal with the hassle, consider The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken Recipe Dehydrated Cat Food. This brand uses human-grade ingredients and a gentle drying process to preserve the nutritional integrity high-quality ingredients for maximum nutrition and flavor. This recipe is loaded with premium animal protein and fresh fruits and vegetables for optimal nutrition all you have to do is rehydrate it before feeding.
- Pros: Made with human-grade ingredients, loaded with premium protein, grain-free, whole-food ingredients, dehydrated to preserve nutritional integrity
- Cons: Needs to be rehydrated before feeding, some cats dislike the texture
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Treats Are Exactly Thattreats
Cat treats, like human treats, are generally higher in calories and therefore ought to be given sparingly. The VCA website recommends using them strategically when training or curbing behaviors, or even as part of a bonding activity. If your cat ends up eating treats too often, it can disrupt their nutritional balance, impede their appetite for the food they really need, and can even cause them to become picky eaters. Do you know the signs your cat is happy?
Best Wet Cat Food Formulas Of 2022
All featured products are chosen at the discretion of the author. However, Great Pet Care may make a small affiliate commission if you click through and make a purchase.
When you bring a new cat home, one of the first decisions you have to make as a new pet parent is what type of cat food to feed your feline. And while there are hundreds of foods and cat food brands on the market, most cat owners will choose between two types of formulationswet cat food and dry cat food.
While there are benefits and drawbacks to both, wet cat food can offer a variety of benefits to our feline friends. In general, wet food tends to be higher in fat and protein and lower in carbohydrates compared to dry food, says Dr. Ericka Carroll, a San Francisco-based veterinarian who works for Hello Ralphie, a telehealth platform. Wet food also has significantly high moisture content compared to dry food.
Finding the best wet cat food for your four-legged companion will come down to your cats individual needs and preferences. But this guide will provide information about what to look for and consider when shopping for wet cat food and which brands and formulas you should consider for optimum nutrition.
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Whats The Best Cat Food
Maybe you are expecting to find here some brands that you have read in other reviews, but this is not the case. And I am going to tell you why.
The best cat food is not necessarily the winner of the year award or the most expensive brand. Usually, these brands known as healthy belong to big companies, and pet food is just a business line between so many others they have. They usually use by-products from other production processes to use in pet foods.
The best cat food is the one made by companies which business is just pet food and they have specialized only in that, working to get the best formula for cats needs. These formulas wont normally contain by-products.
Its important to mention that all companies producing pet food have to establish formulas to meet the requirements of Food and Drug Administration, and the Association of American Feed Control Officials .
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Limited ingredient diets may be recommended for cats with gastrointestinal or dermatological issues that are likely caused by an adverse reaction or allergy to ingredients commonly found in cat food. Veterinarians often use LID foods to perform food elimination trials in order to pinpoint the source of a cat’s food sensitivity.
When it comes to healthy adult cats, Okada told us that there is no advantage to feeding an LID formula. These recipes were historically formulated with uncommon ingredients and novel proteins like wild game, but the inclusion of these ingredients in regular cat food has made it more challenging to identify appropriate foods for a cat in need of an LID. To make it more likely that an LID will work for a cat who develops allergies or food reactions later in life, Okada said that healthy adult cats should stick to regular cat food formulas that are complete and balanced.
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Solid Gold Indigo Moon Dry Cat Food Best For Picky Eaters
High in protein content while low in carbohydrates, the Solid Gold Indigo is among the best dry cat foods on the market. It is made free from wheat gluten and grains ingredients. Plant ingredients are used are in very small amounts.
This food has been in the market for several decades, and many consumers trust this brand.
The main ingredient is an animal-sourced protein, which is combined with potato protein, a concentrated plant protein.
Other added ingredients are prebiotic fiber, probiotics, and salmon oil which is a source of omega-3. Omega-3 is a fatty acid that keeps your cats fur looking healthy.
Carbohydrate content in this high protein dry cat food is around 22%, which is enough for cats.
If youre fed up with wasting money on different cat foods, only for your feline friend to turn their nose up, then buy a bag of this, as it has a high success rate with picky eaters.