We all love our favorite feline friends. They’re cute, they give us a boost with the sound of their purr and quite frankly, they don’t expect much from us – cats are generally low-maintenance. Though what they do expect from us and need is proper nutrition. Providing key nutrients for your cat sets a baseline for everything else and is truly the foundational element to their long-term well-being. Here’s a great guide to ensure you’re doing everything you can to make your happy cat a healthy cat.
First, figure out what type of food is best for your cat. Whether it’s dry or wet food, for a specific life stage like kitten or senior, or has a specific purpose like weight-control, many options are available. It’s best to choose options that have a high percentage of animal ingredients, like ACANA® options, which all have at least 65%* quality animal ingredients such as meat, poultry or fish. As we all know, cats can be finicky eaters, so it’s ok to try a few different kinds of food to see what your cat likes best – just make sure you’re transitioning your cat to a new type of food or recipe properly and gradually.
Cat foods are complete and balanced, and reading through the nutrition labels is a good place to start thinking about which food is best. Your cat is an obligate carnivore, so they need a diet rich in protein from whole animal ingredients, which is needed for growth and development. It’s also a good idea to use treats with a high meat content as well. Your cat also needs moderate levels of fat to help with nutrient absorption and metabolic regulation. Cats also need nutrients like vitamins and minerals, but it’s important to feed them the right proportions. Vitamin A, D and B are common, plus minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium and sodium are requirements as well.
Let’s talk about how to translate these insights when looking at an ingredient label. When it comes to looking at the meat ingredients, here’s an easy way to think about it, using chicken as an example:
- Ingredient – Chicken or deboned chicken: This means it includes muscle meat. That’s where you find important nutrients, vitamins and minerals, as mentioned above.
- Ingredient – Chicken meal: This is a dry ingredient made from cooking down the ground flesh, meat, bone and cartilage into a concentrated protein powder. Meat Meals also provide an excellent source of essential minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus. It’s important to ensure the food uses high-quality meals, if included in the diet, since meals can vary greatly – for instance, ACANA® only uses high quality meals.
Plus, it’s important to avoid an excess of filler and look for high-quality ingredients instead. It’s also good to be on the lookout for artificial ingredients and preservatives and steer clear of those. Luckily, no artificial ingredients are added in the kitchen when making ACANA® foods, which makes it an easy choice.
Many cats simply like to eat a mouthful at a time, so one of the easiest ways to feed them is to measure out their food for a day and give them a little bit at a time. This ensures they won’t exceed their daily allowance. Keep in mind, treats should be no more than 10% of their daily calories.
ACANA® recipes offer a variety of diets and flavors, brimming with protein and nutrients so your cat is getting everything they need to look and feel their best. A favorite for cat parents is ACANA® Indoor Entrée, a recipe developed specifically for indoor cats to help maintain a healthy body weight, skin and coat, and ACANA® First Feast, which has been perfect for new kitten parents wanting to start their new kittens on the right nutritional path. If you’re looking for some guidance check out the “Find the Right Recipe” tool on the ACANA website.
*Approximate and derived from the unprocessed state of the ingredients.