As many a cat owner can attest, keeping a contented feline around the house can sometimes be tougher than a happy-go-lucky dog. Cats often require more specific care and feeding, with the food in particular being a challenge. Dogs will usually eat anything the second it hits the floor, regardless of whether it was intended for them. Felines can be more fickle, which means it can take more work to choose, and produce, healthy cat food.
What is the Healthiest Cat Food?
Though pets of all kinds will eat just about anything as a treat, cats are obligate carnivores by nature. This means their digestive tract is adapted to handle meat and not much else. It is no secret that cats generally fare better when fed protein-rich diets, but not all protein sources are created equal in this regard.
The complete proteins found in meat provide cats with essential vitamins, fatty acids, minerals, and amino acids they cannot easily get from other types of food. A focus on real chicken, beef, fish, or occasionally game meats like venison, is essential for creating a nutritionally complete diet capable of keeping cats healthy. Backing up your protein with a thought through mixture of vegetables and herbs will only make your products more attractive to both cats and owners.
Is Wet Cat Food Better than Dry Cat Food?
It is hard to argue with the nutritional value of canned cat food. Some of the whole meat based canned foods on the market are among the healthiest possible foods you could feed a cat. Feeding felines canned wet cat food may be the ideal scenario from a nutritional perspective, but not everyone has the budget or time to buy and prepare such a menu. Even though human-grade meat may be in the absolute best cat food from a nutritional perspective, there are still high quality foods in the dry cat food market.
In some sense, the “best” cat food may be the food your cat chooses to eat. Since flavors and smells can easily put some cats off of a particular food, even if it is healthy for them, it is worth the work to formulate a food rich in proteins and stocked with as many appealing vegetables and even mild herbs and spices as possible. Keeping the odor and flavor of food appealing for cats is essential in helping them maintain a steady diet. This is where vegetables come into the picture.
What Vegetables are Used in Cat Food?
Just like human food, the first ingredient listed on cat food is going to be the largest share by weight of the mixture. Here is where high quality protein sources are going to be found in quality cat food. This could take the form of whole meats such as chicken liver.
Meat or meat by-products are necessarily the main ingredients in healthy pet food, but there is still a place for vegetables in high quality cat food. Avoiding artificial colors and artificial flavors in your food not only appeals to customers who are looking ever more carefully at ingredient lists, but it will help your customer’s feline friends as well.
Looking further down the ingredient list, customers are going to be keeping a careful eye out for artificial colors and preservatives. Color matters more to customers than it does to cats, as our feline friends perceive color differently than we do.
Using vegetables to add color to your food will help keep your ingredient list short, as well as fill it with healthy-sounding products your customers will be more willing to feed their cats. Broccoli and carrots can be used in cat food, just as in products destined for human consumption, to add color. Parsley and cilantro immediately conjure thoughts of tempting dishes for us as humans, and it turns you they can be used to help add some allure to cat food as well.
Do all Cats Need the Same Food?
Though animal protein is the best source of protein to meet the nutritional needs of cats, there is more to it than cramming a can full of chicken meal and calling it a day. Just like people, as cats age they progress through different life stages. Making sure you have the right amount of proteins, carbohydrates, and fatty acids in your kitten food is essential for young cats, but adult cats will have different nutritional needs.
Getting the right balance of nutrients is particularly important for senior cats who may be less active and may have a harder time maintaining a healthy weight. Just like dogs and even people, older cats have different nutritional needs to keep their immune system, urinary tract, and joints in good condition as they age.
Getting cats the nutrition they need without adding too many calories can be a tough balance to strike, especially for indoor cats. Feline obesity is a serious problem, particularly for cats who cannot maintain a high level of activity. Being overweight is a serious problem for cats that can lead to arthritis and even diabetes. Keeping a cat's diet free of fillers will help restrict their total caloric intake while still making sure their nutritional needs are being met.
Is Grain-Free Food Good for Cats?
Grain-free pet food has become all the rage over the last few years. As pet owners become more conscious about their own diets, particularly where gluten and dairy are concerned, a spill-over effect has helped raise interest in grain-free cat food.
Unlike some trends that are fed on mere speculation, this one is actually good news for the cats. Grains can often be used as fillers in lower-priced pet foods. Using products like zucchini can help add minerals into a cat’s diet they might not easily get from filler grains. Dairy is more problematic, as adult cats are often lactose intolerant and consuming dairy can lead to health problems.
This is not to say that high-protein cat food cannot contain grains or vegetables. Brown rice and sweet potatoes are good examples of plant products that have started to appear on the ingredient lists of many cat food companies’ products in recent years. While these ingredients are considered more healthy than some other grains, protein-rich foods are going to be the healthiest for your cat.
Quality and Safety in Cat Food
Vegetables are not only added for flavor and coloring, but beets are integrated into products like Hill’s Science Diet Adult Indoor Chicken Recipe. This indoor cat recipe uses beets to add fiber, which can be essential to keeping cats regular, especially when they may not get a lot of physical activity.
Making sure every ingredient in your products is as healthy as possible means more than just looking at the nutritional content. Knowing every ingredient in your final product is as safe as possible is also crucial. At Silva, our vegetables and herbs go through a validated steam sterilization process to ensure that when you use our products, you will not have any potential contaminants coming along for the ride.
With the constraints on what cats can eat, and increasing pressure from consumers to keep ingredient lists as short as possible, it is imperative you have access to the right ingredients. If you want to know more about our extensive product list, contact a member of our customer relationship team today.