The Best Cat Nutrition for Your Feline Friend
Cats can be complicated creatures, but that doesn’t mean their nutrition should be, too. What your cat needs in a food will vary based on their age, environment, activity level, and more. Learning about the different parts of cat nutrition will help you choose the perfect cat food for your feline friend.
Best Indoor Cat Food
The main difference between indoor cat food vs regular cat food is the calorie levels. Indoor cats are typically less active than outdoor cats so they don’t need as many calories. Too many calories in your cat’s food can cause weight gain, which we’ll touch on later.
The best indoor cat food will also meet all of the nutritional requirements of your cat. In other words, your cat food should be complete and balanced and have all of the nutrients necessary to support your cat’s health. The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) sets nutritional standards for pet foods in the United States and provides food nutrient profiles for pets for a variety of life stages. As long as a food meets all of the AAFCO requirements for that particular life stage, it is considered complete and balanced. To make it easier for you, all Earthborn Holistic recipes are always complete and balanced with the best cat nutrition in mind.
Additionally, the best cat food will contain taurine for cats. Taurine is an essential amino acid that you commonly hear about with dogs, but the difference is that dogs can create their own taurine while cats cannot. For this reason, it has to be included in your cat’s diet and is included in the guaranteed analysis. High quality cat foods will also typically contain balanced Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids to help support your cat’s skin and coat health.
Our Earthborn Holistic dry cat food recipes have all of the necessary nutrients to help your indoor cat thrive. With animal based proteins as the first ingredient in all three recipes and balanced omegas, these recipes are made with optimal cat nutrition in mind.
Hairball Control Cat Food
If your cat tends to struggle with hairballs, a high fiber cat food may provide some relief. Fiber is known to be a great ingredient to aid in digestive health and hairballs generally occur when your cat’s digestive system can’t handle the hair they ingest when they clean themselves. If you’re finding hairballs in your floor or in your cat’s litter box frequently, it could be a sign of other health issues, so be sure to check in with your vet if this is the case.
What to Feed Older Cats
While some cat foods are for all life stages or kittens and others are just for adults, that may leave you wondering about senior cat food. However, the reality is that there isn’t really a difference between senior cat food vs regular cat food because “senior” isn’t an actual AAFCO profile for cats.
That being said, senior pets in general tend to be less active than younger pets. For this reason, if you notice your cat’s activity levels starting to decrease as they age, feeding them a lower calorie diet is typically best. A low protein cat food will also be better on their bodies if you’re noticing a lower activity level. Our Primitive Feline recipe is our lowest calorie dry food option at 395 kcal/cup and our Monterey Medley canned dinner is our lowest calorie wet food recipe at 121 kcal/cup.
On the other hand, if you’re trying to figure out what to feed an older cat to gain weight, a more calorie-dense and high protein cat food for senior cats is probably what you’re looking for. Our Catalina Catch canned dinner comes in at 150 kcal/cup if your senior cat prefers wet food. Otherwise, our Feline Vantage dry food recipe has 415 kcal/cup and can also help get your cat to an ideal body weight.
Best Cat Food for Weight Loss
Even if your cat isn’t a senior, their activity levels may not be up to par. Helping a cat lose some extra weight can be tricky, especially if you have an indoor cat. However, there are some easy things that you can switch out around the house to help your cat burn some extra calories.
First up, their food! Cat nutrition for weight loss isn’t much different as long as you’re keeping an eye on how many calories you’re feeing them daily. Make sure you talk with your vet to find out how many calories they should be eating to lose or maintain weight, and stick to it!
Interactive cat toys are one way to get your cat more active. Consider switching out your cat’s boring toys for ones that move around or make noise. This an easy way to get your cat to play with them more and for longer periods of time. The more time your cat spends chasing a toy around, the more calories they’ll burn.
Another way to help your cat shed unwanted pounds is by exercise. Cat exercise can happen in a variety of ways. If your cat enjoys being outdoors, consider taking your cat on a walk. If your cat prefers to stay inside, you can purchase exercise toys like a cat exercise wheel to get them moving from the comfort of home.
How Much Food Should I Feed My Cat?
One of the main culprits of overweight pets is overfeeding. Making sure your cat is not only on a cat feeding schedule but eating the right amount of food can make a huge difference if you’re trying to help your cat lose weight. Keeping your cat on a schedule as opposed to free feeding is a great way to make sure you know exactly how much they’re eating. But how much should you actually feed?
One way to determine how much food you should feed your cat is by looking at the feeding guidelines on the back of the packaging. Most often, there will be a chart that breaks down how much you should feed based on your cat’s age and weight. However, this should be used as a guide and a tool to get a conversation started with your vet to figure out exactly how much you should feed. Different factors like your cat’s environment, activity level, and types of food can cause the exact amount to fluctuate, which is why it’s best to work with your vet.
Once you’ve determined how many cat calories and how much your cat should eat, using products like a cat food dispenser will help you with portion control and will help make sure you’re not overfeeding–and contributing to unwanted weight gain.
More Cat Nutrition Tips
Similar to cat food dispensers, there are many other feeding products like cat food puzzles that cat owners can use to make mealtimes more fun for their pets and help with cat nutrition. Cats love moving water, so replacing your cat water dish for a cat water fountain can help encourage your cat to drink more water throughout the day. Similarly, replacing your cat’s standard pet food bowl with a puzzle feeder can make their dinner more interactive and help with mental stimulation.
AAFCO Nutrient Profiles
As mentioned earlier, another thing to keep in mind when choosing a cat food is to make sure it is complete and balanced for your cat’s life stage. A cat food can be for kittens, adults, or all life stages based on its AAFCO cat food nutrient profile.
For example, a cat food with an AAFCO nutritional adequacy statement that says it’s complete and balanced for adult cats (or “maintenance”) will have all of the nutrients necessary for an adult cat. This statement confirms that your pet’s food is adequate enough to be fed as your cat’s sole nourishment and that the food gives your cat all of the nutrients it needs. Further, an all life stages recipe means that the food is complete and balanced to support your cat for their entire life–kitten years included.
Food Toxic to Cats
Now that you know what you should feed your cat, here are a few foods that aren’t safe for your kitty:
- Tuna prepared for humans
- Grapes (and raisins)
- Chocolate or xylitol
If you’re looking for some delicious treats for your cat, we have the hack for you! Next time you want to give your cat a treat, consider freezing some wet food. We love putting wet food in a silicone tray and freezing it overnight for the perfect, cooling cat treat.
Cat nutrition can seem overwhelming at first, but if you learn the basics and have a conversation with your vet, you can make sure you’re feeding your cat nothing but the best! Want help choosing an Earthborn Holistic recipe for your feline friend? Send us a message and we’ll be glad to help!