For you impatient yet trusting types. For a longer version of this with links to all sorts of research, go to the Long Cat Food Guide.
A Quick Note On Switching Cat Food:
After reading this information, you may decide that Kitteh needs a different diet from what she’s eating right now, which is all well and good. You should know, however, that some cats may get diarrhea and/or vomit from abrupt food switches. Go slow, especially if you’re doing something drastic like switching from all-dry to all-canned, or all-commercial to all-homemade. Mix a little bit of the new food with the old every day, or introduce just a little bit of the new type food and monitoryour cat’s reaction. Let your cat determine the speed of the food switch. Many cats do all right with sudden, wholesale food change—my cats have never shown discomfort, and the poor bastards have had to put up with a lot of fucking around in terms of their diet—but it’s definitely not uncommon for cats to get indigestion because of this. Be patient, and let your cat dictate the pace. They dictate everything else in your life, after all.
If you have any any questions or comments, you can e-mail me at my Gmail address, username misshepeshu. (I list my e-mail address like this to confound spambots, not to make your life harder.)
Things to Avoid:
- By-products or by-product meal listed among the first five ingredients.
- Unnamed species in the ingredient list. For example: Animal Liver, Meat Meal.
- The preservatives BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin.
- Soy, or more than one type of plant-based protein like corn gluten meal.
- Feeding more than 50% dry food in general.
- “Lifestage nutrition” is more-or-less marketing bullshit thought up by pet food companies to take up more shelf space (and therefore gain more visibility) in stores, and at least one lifestage formula (senior foods) is based on outdated and flawed research. If you have to use a lifestage formula, use kitten food. This is especially true of dry food, since adult and senior lifestage dry food contain even more carbohydrates and fillers than kitten formulas.
Things to Look For:
- First ingredient should always be meat from a named species.
- If food contains preservatives, look for non-toxic antioxidants, e.g. mixed tocopherols (vitamin E) and vitamin C.
- Minimal plant matter, and preferably grain-free.
- Water content over 70% (yeah, this means wet food).
- A dry matter protein content of more than 37% (yeah, this means wet food again, unless you have enough money to buy Innova EVO or Wellness Core).
- Less than 10% calories from carbs whenever possible.
- Feed a variety of flavors from as many different brands as your cat will allow you to.
- Seriously consider making your own food.