It is important to ensure optimum feline health if you also want to have a more meaningful relationship with your pet. And what better way to do this than to give Garfield highly nutritious food? The best dry cat foods are rich in protein and low in carbs yet provide sufficient amounts of moisture to also address your cat’s need for water. Choosing the best cat food may not be that too easy since there will always be unscrupulous manufacturers that underminehigh-qualityy food manufacturing processes. You don’t have to worry, though, as we’re here to share with you the result of our research on the 10 best dry cat foods in the market. Let’s take a look.

Dry Cat Food Buyer’s Guide

We understand the predicament of most newbie cat owners in selecting the most appropriate food for their pet. Like any other buying endeavor, you should always look for quality in the products and less on the price. More importantly, however, is for you to determine the purpose of giving dry food to your cat. For example, growing kittens will require different nutrition from a cat that is already in its senior years. Also, there are cats that are not really active so they will require significantly fewer calories, lest they risk developing obesity. Choosing the right cat food is more about understanding the unique needs of your pet. We’ve prepared a guide for you to help you decide on the best dry food for your cat.

what should i look for in the best dry food for my cat

What Should I Look for in the Best Dry Food for My Cat?

Feline chow typically comes in various types, ingredients, presentations, and flavors, among others. There clearly is no single product that can be considered as the ideal for any type of cat since every feline is inherently unique. Just as some of us don’t like chicken in our diets, so too some cats, although not by choice but rather because of necessity. That said, it is important to make sure you’re choosing the best dry food for your cat. But how do you do that? Here are some things you really have to look for every time you start scouring the shelves of pet food on your local pet store.

  • The 1st five ingredients on the label matter 

Manufacturers are required by law to list their ingredients according to their proportion relative to the mass of the product. While dogs are known to thrive relatively well even with carbohydrates in their diets, cats, on the other hand, do not. That is why it is critical that the first 5 ingredients listed on a product’s label should be primarily animal meats.

However, packing the full first 5 with only meat products can be a very expensive proposition which, sadly, will be passed on to the consumers in the form of a more prohibitive price. From the vantage point of manufacturers, this is simply not a good way to make money. As such, some would definitely include vegetables, wholesome grains, or even fruits in their first 5. Again, this is perfectly alright as long as the majority, say, 3 out of 5, of the principal ingredients come from animal sources. The protein from animals is more easily digestible compared to proteins that come from certain plant products.

Also there is a question whether you should take whole meats, meals, or byproduct meals. Whole meats provide your feline with the best concentration of proteins and fats from a single source. Meals, on the other hand, can be a combination of different meats which have substantially higher protein content. The only issue is that, if your feline is allergic to animal proteins, identifying the allergen might prove difficult.

As for byproducts, there’s a bit of controversy as some manufacturers strongly advise against purchasing products that contain meat byproducts. But science actually says that byproduct meals are a good source of minerals that may not be present in whole meats. As long as you can ascertain the product has undergone meticulous processing, ensuring only the highest possible quality for your cat, then it should be a wise choice.

  • The protein question 

If you’ve noticed our selection of the best dry cat food items, most have a protein content of 30% or more, at the very least. This is because cats are inherently carnivorous and they thrive primarily on animal-based proteins. We already know what proteins do to the body, especially to young kittens. That is why, depending on the developmental age of the cat you’re going to give the cat food to, you’d have to take note of the protein content.

Kittens require more protein because of the need for building tissues. Adult felines, on the other hand, will require just the normal amounts of protein to maintain the tissues. Elderly cats will require more protein again to help improve the integrity of the tissues amidst the ongoing changes associated with aging. However, if they have kidney disease, then they will need less protein.

  • Artificial ingredients

Everyone knows the implications of artificial ingredients and other synthetic chemicals on the overall health and wellbeing of pets. As such, it is imperative that you equip yourself with the knowledge of the most common artificial ingredients that are toxic to pets, especially to cats. Look for such substances in the ingredient list of a particular product. If none is written, then the manufacturer must have a very explicit statement saying their product doesn’t contain these harmful chemicals.

  • Safety record 

This is akin to the overall credibility, trustworthiness, and credibility of a pet food manufacturer. Understand that even big-name companies and well-established organizations can produce feline dry food products that are of questionable quality. It’s not so much about whether the product was utterly ineffective or not, but rather how the company managed such an issue. How were they able to overcome the odds of losing their client base because of such a product? One way to evaluate this is by looking at their performance in the years after the controversy. If they have been making good progress it simply shows their resilience. 

 What Ingredients Should I Look For?

We have already discussed this above. Kitties are obligate predators. They thrive on meat. As such the ingredients that you really need to look for in their respective diets should be the following.

  • High protein
  • High moisture
  • Low carbohydrates

Protein is important for building tissues. This is more important among kittens as they require plenty of easily digestible animal proteins to help build the different tissues in their still-developing body. The point is to make sure you get an animal-based protein.

Moisture is needed, unless your feline friend can finish its bowl of water within the day. Cats are known to have a very low thirst drive. Their brains are not really wired to recognize thirst. As such, their cells may already be very thirsty and yet they still don’t drink. That is why it is imperative to give them access to free-flowing water as the continuous movement of water simulates the movement of prey. This arouses cat’s curiosity, making them want to drink. That said, veterinarians actually recommend canned or wet cat food instead of dry kibbles because the moisture content of kibbles are so low, with the maximum typically in the 15%. This pales in comparison to wet cat food which can have moisture content as much as 70 to 80 percent of its weight. We’ll have a separate discussion why dry kibbles are favorable, though.

As we have described above, cats are natural predators. They pounce on living prey. While plants are living organisms, they don’t possess some of the innate characteristics of prey. As such, evolution has taught cats never to chow down on plants. However, many of the nutrients like antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins are found in plant food sources. Therefore, manufacturers have found a way to incorporate many of these healthy veggies, fruits, and grains into their formulation. However, since cats require proteins more than carbs, the carb content of dry cat food should be as little as possible.

dry cat food 

Why Should I Give My Cat Dry Food Instead of Wet, Canned, or Raw?

We mentioned above that cats don’t have the drive to drink. That is why it is imperative that they be trained to drink from their water bowls. However, if your feline simply hasn’t learned the art of drinking from its bowl, then you will need to give it wet or canned cat food. These contain a lot of moisture which should help hydrate your feline. Unfortunately, since 80% of the weight of the food is water, its nutrient content will have to make do with the remaining 20%. As such, nutrition-wise, wet or canned cat food is less superior to a dry cat food.

This is one of the main reasons why it is better to give felines dry food. It has more nutrients packed into each kibble as it only contains about 12 to 15 percent water. That means the remaining 85 to 88 percent is composed of nutrients. This is where you will need to assign values to the protein, fats, and carbs.

There are other benefits to giving dry food to your feline. It’s more economical since it doesn’t spoil easily and each pack is often good for a few weeks of feeding. The texture of the dry kibbles can also help provide healthier teeth and gums for your feline friend. Overall, unless your cat is not drinking water, then dry cat food is an excellent choice.

Cats require the right nutrients for them to develop into healthier, happier felines. In choosing their best nutrition, it is important to focus on high-quality proteins and to stay away from those that contain plenty of carbs and artificial ingredients. It is also important to look at the credibility of the pet food manufacturer as this can give you an idea of the quality of their product. And in case you’re wondering where to start, our 10 best dry cat foods should set you on the right path.

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Olivia Williams
Olivia is our head of content for MyPetNeedsThat.com, mum of one and a true animal lover. With 12 different types of animal in her family, it's never a dull moment. When she isn't walking the dogs, feeding the cats or playing with her pet Parrot Charlie, you will find her product researching and keeping the site freshly updated with the latest products for your pets!

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