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What you feed your cat will have a great impact on its life, health, and ability to thrive. Not all cat food is created equal, so what should you look for in kitty cuisine? Here are five important things to look out for.
1. Protein, Baby, Protein
Cats are true carnivores. Their bodies were created to process meat, meat, and more meat. Cats don’t even need to eat their veggies, lucky critters. Cat food containing muscle meat is the best, as it has the highest protein content.
2. Water, Water Everywhere
Cats have a low thirst drive. But this doesn't mean you can just leave your home and be confident your cat will make due with an open toilet lid. No, instead, make sure there is always plenty of fresh water available for your cat. Feeding your cat high-quality food with good moisture content (around 78 percent) is another way to quench the little thirst it has. Or you can go the easy route: add some water to kitty's food -- it's like making insta-gravy.
3. Taurine: The Reason Cats Wear Sunglasses at Night
Taurine, an amino acid, is an essential part of your cat's diet. Usually found in meat, a deficiency in taurine can lead to blindness and death in cats, so make sure the cat food you buy has high levels of taurine. If in doubt, add supplements to the food (check with your vet for recommended supplemental dosages). Did we mention taurine is why cats see so well in dim lighting? Who would want to take that “superpower” away?
4. Dry Vs. Wet
Some people still advocate dry food over wet food for cats, but more and more vets are jumping on the wet food float. Wet food is higher in meat proteins and low in carbohydrates. Dry food, meanwhile, is high in all those unnecessary carbs and can lead to urinary tract blockages and other serious illnesses in your cat.
5. Filler Facts
We're not talking about those fun stocking fillers given out during the winter holidays, but the fillers used to bulk out cat food and save food manufacturers money. These fillers can be anything from corn to cereal by-products to feathers, weeds, and straw. Yes, straw! So make you get what you really paid for and buy cat food that is low on by-products and carbs.
Your vet and local pet store (holistic, or otherwise) will be able assist you in finding the perfect food that suits your cat's needs. There are even frozen all-meat foods sold for cats. So now you have no excuse. Apart from opposable thumbs and the opportunity to rule the world, your cat really only wants healthy food.
Image: Damian Cugley / via Flickr