When choosing a diet for your cat, remember that quality matters. Look for a reputable brand name, and check the carbohydrate content. The food you choose should be low in carbohydrates and high in digestibility. It should also contain a variety of animal protein and essential fatty acids.
Choosing a reputable brand
To choose a quality brand of cat food, look for ingredients that are rich in nutrients. If possible, choose a brand that is grain-free or uses natural ingredients. A high-quality brand will also avoid the use of artificial ingredients and additives, like guar gum.
Choosing a food that contains a low carbohydrate content vs a high digestibility
One factor to consider when choosing a cat food is the digestibility of the food. Digestibility is the ratio of nutrients absorbed by the digestive system versus the volume of food that is excreted. A cat food with a high digestibility score will not only be palatable, but will also be well-absorbed by your cat.
Cats need carbohydrates to bind with protein, and most commercial cat food contains between 20 to 40% carbohydrates. However, unlike dogs, cats have only one pathway for carbohydrate digestion. In addition, they lack the enzymes required to assimilate simple sugars, such as amylase, which is found in saliva. As a result, cat food is often highly processed.
Cats can digest starches in small amounts, but they can’t tolerate large quantities. Even though cats’ metabolisms are tuned for low carbohydrate diets, fibers can be beneficial to their health. Cats need protein to maintain their weight and are at greater risk for obesity, diabetes, and many other GI conditions. Also, because of their short GI tract to body length, they are not meant to ferment fibers, which results in bulky stools.
While avoiding foods with high carbohydrate content can help your cat maintain a healthy weight, they are typically high in fat. Some canned foods have less than 10 percent carbohydrates, but there are also many canned foods high in carbohydrates. In addition, canned food that is high in carbohydrates can cause your cat to become obese. Because fat cells are resistant to insulin, dry food with low carbohydrates may actually increase your cat’s insulin requirements.
Choosing a food that contains essential fatty acids
Essential fatty acids are very important for heart health, and the recommended amounts depend on age and sex. Depending on age and sex, the recommended amount of ALA is 0.5 to 1.6 grams per day. You can get a good dose of this fatty acid by eating flaxseed oil, which contains over 7 grams per serving. Fatty fish are also great sources of these acids, as are monounsaturated fats such as olive oil. Look for extra-virgin olive oil, which is minimally processed without chemicals. It is a heart-healthy staple of the Mediterranean diet.
Choosing a food that contains glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate
Chondroitin and glucosamine are natural substances that support the health of your pet’s heart and joints. Chondroitin is also known to help with degenerative joint diseases such as arthritis. It has also shown promising results in treating degenerative disk disease. It is commonly used in the treatment of dogs and horses.
Chondroitin is found naturally in cartilage and supports water retention, elasticity and shock absorption. It also reduces the production of inflammatory mediators. Chondroitin is synthesized from the precursor glucosamine, which means that glucosamine does not need to be derived from animal sources.