Pet parents ask us this question all the time: what is the best cat food to feed my fur baby?
And we get it. You do so much to care for your little one and diet is one of the biggest factors of all that affect your cat's health.
Every commercial cat food variety varies in ingredients and in the way it's made, so it's difficult to say which brands are the best to give your cat. Rather, the best way to know that you're giving your kitty the highest quality nourishment is to know what his little body needs and find a cat food with the highest-quality ingredients.
To help you find the best cat food for your precious ball of fur, we're diving into cat nutrition and breaking down the best ingredients based on your cat's special macro- and micronutrient needs.
The absolute most important macronutrient for your cat is protein. Cats may have evolved to be cute, cuddly domestic friends, but their digestive systems are still very similar to that of their ancestors and their big cat cousins.
Your cat needs protein to maintain his muscle and hold a steady, healthy body weight. One of the cleanest and highest quality sources of protein is...
Who doesn't love chicken? While you and your cat are bonding over your mutual adoration for chicken wings (leave the buffalo sauce off of Fluffy's serving), you can feel confident that when you give your cat a food that has chicken listed as one of the first few ingredients, you're doing well as a pet parent.
The second most important macronutrient for your cat is fat. Now, we're not suggesting you add a dollop of sour cream to your furry friend's food, but your cat does need fat in his diet.
Cats are natural carnivores, which means they get the majority of their nutrients from animal sources. Fat is your cat's preferred source of energy, which should always come from natural sources.
The best cat food keeps your cat's natural instincts and needs in mind by providing healthy, natural sources of fat that your cat would get if he were out in the wild catching his own dinner.
Because cats need such a high-protein, moderate-fat diet, they also need a healthy balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3s are commonly found in modern processed meats, such as chicken and beef. However, Omega-6s are a bit harder to come by.
Flax is a great source of heart-friendly Omega-6 fatty acids like those that your cat would get from eating fish in the wild. Flax keeps your cat's internal system well-balanced while also leaving his skin healthy and his coat shiny.
Carbs are the lowest on the totem pole when it comes to what your cat needs in his diet. Some carbs are beneficial, of course, but a cat's diet should never be made primarily of carbs. The best cat food includes only natural sources of carbs and leaves out the grains, wheat, and corn.
Not only are peas a healthy source of carbs for your feisty feline, but also they're packed with key micronutrients like potassium and vitamin C. Peas also have a healthy dose of fiber to help keep Kitty's blood sugar and energy levels stable.
These fun little white legumes – also known as garbanzo beans – have a low glycemic index, which means they won't spike your cat's blood sugar, which can lead to health problems over time. Chickpeas are also a great way to support a healthy gut microbiome, which keeps your cat's digestive tract happy and working properly.
The Best Cat Food Includes Macros – and Micros
The macronutrients in your cat's diet – protein, fat, and carbs – are crucial to maintaining healthy muscle and providing stable energy for your little fur ball.
However, a commonly overlooked element of nutrition is the amount of micronutrients in your cat's food.
Micronutrients are vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and essential amino acids that your cat needs to function. In fact, micronutrients are responsible for everything from proper digestion to healthy organs to proper nerve function.
Yes, kelp! It's one of the healthiest food sources on the planet because it's packed with micronutrients. It's also a safe, natural source of iodine, which is important for healthy thyroid function in cats.
These tart little berries are natural little gems of nutrition. They're full of antioxidants, which makes them ideal for battling urinary health problems in cats and supporting a healthy immune system.
Feline nutrition isn't as simple as it seems. Luckily, there are experts who have carefully formulated cat food for you so you don't have to do all the macro- and micronutrient calculations to make sure your cat is getting everything he needs.
In fact, the cat experts at PrettyLitter have just developed their own health-conscious cat food that gives your fur baby everything he needs and nothing he doesn't.
Have more questions about your cat's ideal diet? Let us know in the comments below!