Why Is Your Cat Food Choice So Important?

When it comes to choosing food for your cat or kitten, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the options available. We put together a guide of what you need to consider when shopping for cat food so you can confidently choose a food that’s best for your cat or kitten.

Age Matters

When it comes to choosing good quality kitten food or cat food, the age of your cat is typically one of the most important questions to consider. Kitten food and adult cat foods are made very differently because of the different nutrients a kitten requires for healthy growth compared to an adult cat.

Good kitten foods will contain all of the adequate nutrients needed for your kitten’s brain and body to healthily develop. When searching for kitten food, you’ll want to make sure that the food is developed for the growth life stage as noted by the AAFCO Statement. This could also be worded as all life stages, depending on the formula. 

Alternatively, if you have a senior cat it’s important to make sure the food is fit for their life stage as well. While all life stages food is great for seniors as well, a good senior cat food may also be labeled for the maintenance life stage on the AAFCO statement. With senior cats wet food is extremely popular, but what is the best wet cat food for senior cats? 

Similar to dogs, cats’ metabolisms tend to slow as they age so the best wet cat food for elderly cats is typically one lower in calories. These foods often contain lean protein sources like turkey and are also ideally lower in fat as well. If you have any questions about what kind of food your senior cat should be eating, it’s best to consult your veterinarian. 

Protein Matters

The main ingredient in most cat food is the meat protein. But what is the best protein in cat food? All other factors like allergies or other nutritional needs aside, high quality protein cat food is available in all kinds of varieties. Whether your cat enjoys salmon, shrimp, tuna, chicken, turkey, or beef there’s a recipe for them to enjoy. 

Cat foods with high protein is a common request for pet owners. Our Primitive Feline recipe is one of our cat foods with high protein, coming in at 40% minimum crude protein. Our Wild Sea Catch recipe is a comparable recipe if your cat prefers fish protein, also containing 40% crude protein. 

Allergies Matter

Another thing to consider when choosing cat food is allergies. Finding good food for cats with allergies can be frustrating, especially if you’re still trying to determine what exactly your cat or kitten is allergic to. But, in general, what is the best food for cats with allergies? 

When dealing with allergies, a general rule of thumb is the fewer ingredients the better. However, if you know exactly what your cat is allergic to, finding the best cat food for indoor cats with allergies is a lot easier; all you have to do is pay close attention to the ingredients list and avoid the ingredient that your cat is allergic to. 

Common cat food allergies include beef, chicken, fish, and even dairy products. Luckily, if you’re looking for cat food to combat any of these allergies, we have options for you!

A cat sits next to a basket full of Earthborn Holistic wet cat food pouches

Best Canned Cat Food for Allergies to Chicken

Chicken allergies are common in both dogs and cats and while some cats find it tasty, some are allergic and can’t eat chicken at all. Thankfully, we have several great chicken-free cat food options:

  • Catalina Catch
  • Harbor Harvest
  • Monterey Medley
  • Autumn Tide
  • Key West Zest
  • Lowcountry Fare
  • Riptide Zing
  • Upstream Grille

Best Wet Food for Cats with Allergies to Beef

Beef isn’t as common of a cat food ingredient as chicken, but it is a tasty option for some kitties. If your cat is allergic to beef, here are some wet cat food options that don’t contain any beef:

  • Catalina Catch
  • Chicken Catcciatori
  • Chicken Fricatssee
  • Chicken Jumble with Liver
  • Harbor Harvest
  • Monterey Medley
  • Autumn Tide
  • Fin & Fowl

Best Wet Cat Food for Allergies to Fish

While a fish allergy in cats isn’t as common as a beef or chicken allergy, it does still happen on occasion. Since most cats find fish extremely palatable it can be a little more difficult to find a cat food that doesn’t contain fish, but luckily we have a few fish-free cat food options that use chicken as the main source of protein instead:

  • Chicken Catcciatori
  • Chicken Fricatssee
  • Chicken Jumble with Liver

Taste Matters

You can find the most healthy cat food on the market that meets all of your cat’s dietary needs, but it does nothing if your cat won’t actually eat it! Just like your children can be finicky with their taste buds, your cat can be, too. When it comes to the best canned cat food for picky eaters or the best dry cat food for picky cats, finding tasty cat food that your cat specifically will enjoy can be a process. 

While your first idea may be to try to find the best cat food for picky eaters, there are actually a few things you can try before you attempt switching your cat’s food to find something they like. For example, you could try heating up your cat’s food a little before mealtime to mimic “prey temperature.” Heating up the food will also release more of the smell in the food to make it more appealing to your cat. 

If that doesn’t work, you should also consider your cat’s bowl–both the bowl itself and the location. If their bowl has taller edges that require them to stick their face down into the bowl a bit to eat, you may consider a different, more shallow bowl or even a plate to feed from. Cats’ whiskers are extremely sensitive and if they have to reach down into the bowl to eat, their whiskers may be touching the edges of their bowl, leading to potential whisker fatigue (yes, that’s a thing!). PetMD has a great explanation on whisker fatigue and how your cat’s food bowl may be causing it:

“You can think of whisker fatigue as an information overload that stresses out your cat. Because whisker hairs are so sensitive, every time your cat comes into contact with an object or detects movement, even a small change in air current or a slight brush against her face, messages are transmitted from those sensory organs at the base of her whiskers to her brain, Marrinan says. That barrage of ‘messages’ could stress out your cat, eventually causing what some people call whisker fatigue.”

The location of your cat’s bowl could also be part of the problem. If their bowl is in a highly-trafficked part of your house or if it’s easily accessible to children or other pets, it might be helpful to move your cat’s bowl to a quieter part of the house so they can enjoy their meals in peace. 

A cat sits next to a basket full of Earthborn Holistic wet cat food pouches

Nutrition Matters

All of that said, what is the most nutritious cat food? High nutrition cat food is generally considered cat food with quality ingredients and proteins that is made to meet the nutritional needs of your specific cat. No specific cat food will work for every cat, so it’s important to remember that even the “best” and “healthiest” cat food may not work for your cat and that’s totally okay! It’s important to consider which cat food is healthiest that works for your cat’s needs

Taking things like your cat’s age and dietary requirements into consideration when choosing food is a great start, but it’s always recommended to consult your veterinarian for more support. They’ll be able to give you more advice that helps suit your specific situation and help you find a food that’s perfect for your cat. 

Variety Matters

If you’ve got a picky eater on your hands and have boiled the problem down to the food itself and not any other issues discussed earlier, variety can be a gamechanger when it comes to your cat’s nutrition. The trick is to find out what protein your cat seems to like most. Whether it’s fish flavored cat food or chicken flavored cat food, figuring out which protein category you can move around in is the first step. 

If you’ve determined that your cats really like fish better than poultry, then try different kinds of fish. Whitefish, salmon, tuna, or even shrimp could strike your cat’s fancy more than another type of fish, so experiment with different flavors within the same category. You might find that while they are fine with salmon on occasion, they actually really enjoy shrimp. 

Alternatively, if you typically feed your cat kibble you might try feeding them wet food instead. A lot of cat parents find better success with wet cat food because of the texture. That being said, there are multiple textures of wet food you can find like more broth-based or more pate, so don’t get discouraged if your cat doesn’t like one right off the bat. More broth-based wet foods typically have chunks of meat in them while pate wet foods are more blended together. 

If you’ve had questionable luck only feeding wet or dry food for cats, consider mixing the two! When it comes to how to mix wet and dry cat food, you should consider the calorie count of both foods first and foremost. By talking to your vet, you can determine how many calories your cat should be eating per day and then go from there. Sometimes even just a scoop of wet food on top of your cat’s kibble or stirred in will be enough to make it more palatable for them. 

Diet Matters

With most things, too much of a good thing has its own problems. Even if you feed your cat a super healthy cat food, feeding too much of it can cause weight gain and even obesity. If you find yourself with an overweight or obese cat, they also have their own set of nutritional needs aside from any discussed above. In these cases, a healthy diet cat food may be needed to help you get your cat back to a healthy weight.

When it comes to good cat food for weight loss, calorie content is usually the most important factor. A low calorie diet will help support weight loss efforts and is often made in part by a lean protein source like turkey combined with a low fat content. 

Grain Free Matters

Just like parents of human children, some pet parents have specific preferences for what they want their pets to eat or not eat. In some cases, cat owners may wish to feed grain-free foods for cats. Grain-free wet food and grain-free dry cat foods are both extremely common options and can make great options for cats and kittens alike. 

All of our wet cat food recipes are good grain free cat food options. With both cans and pouches to choose from that range from more broth-based to pate textures, there’s even options for pickier cats and kittens. If you’re looking for grain-free dry cat food, our Wild Sea Catch and Primitive Feline recipes are both grain-free kibble recipes that are also suitable for all life stages, meaning your cat or kitten both can experience grain-free goodness.