Cats, as independent and freedom-loving as they are, still require our utmost care for them to live their lives to the fullest. One way for them to get really healthy is for us to provide them with the best wet cat food. In this review, we’ll be presenting to you some reasons why only wet or canned cat food is the best for your pet. But before that, let us look first at some of the best cat food brands in the market today and what makes them truly special for the tabbies in our lives.
Wet Cat Food Buying Guide
Buying cat food used to be a pretty straightforward affair. However, as our knowledge of feline nutrition as well as feline behavior expands, so does our understanding of their unique nutritional needs. What was once a very simple process of picking the cat food with the best possible ingredients no longer holds true. Here’s a guide for you to help you in that journey of determining the best chow for your feline friend.
Why is Quality Wet Cat Food Essential to Your Cat’s Health?
Like the great divide in the dog world, there is also a polarizing division in the cat world where proponents of either dry cat food or wet cat food have been slugging it out for many years now. We don’t want to sound biased towards the use of wet cat food for our feline friends. So, we’re going to share with you some of the scientific explanations as to why your cat will thrive more on a diet that has naturally greater moisture content.
- Cats are obligate carnivores – the taurine link
It’s meat or nothing for our feline friends. The reason for this is not so much that they are choosy, but rather because they need one very particular amino acid to really thrive. Unfortunately, this amino acid can only be found in animal meat proteins. As such, while cats can technically feed on plant proteins, they are at an increased risk of developing a lot of potential health problems because of the absence of this one very important amino acid – taurine. Taurine is an amino acid that plays a very crucial role in the normal and healthy development of your cat’s cardiovascular system, skeletal muscles, its eyes especially the retina, and its central nervous system especially the brain and spinal cord. If you do not feed your feline friend animal-based proteins, then you are risking a whole lot of potential health problems.
- Cats cannot effectively break down plant based food
The digestive systems of carnivores are very short. It is this rather short length of their gut that prevents them from efficiently digesting cellulose- or fiber- rich foods. As such, if you put too much fiber or cellulose into their diet, you’re actually inviting a lot of trouble. Unfortunately, fiber is an essential part of fillers found in dry cat food.
- Cats have very inefficient thirst drive
Cats don’t have the necessary thirst mechanism to make them want to drink when thirsty. They can only rely on the food they eat for water. The prey wild cats feast on typically contain 70 percent moisture. By comparison, wet cat food contains, on the average, 78 to 83 percent moisture. On the other hand, dry cat food typically contains, at most, 10 percent moisture.
So, if cats don’t have an efficient thirst drive and they eat dry cat food that contains a measly 10 percent of the food’s weight, the obvious result is dehydration. This can lead to chronic renal failure or, at the very least, urine crystals can form and obstruct the flow of urine.
- The risk of obesity and diabetes in cats
We already mentioned that most dry cat food come with substantially greater proportions of carbohydrates which can easily translate to glucose. You already know what this means. Increased glucose coupled with its underutilization can lead to feline obesity culminating in the development of diabetes in cats and its corresponding complications.
Things to Consider When Shopping for Wet Canned Cat Food
Based on what we have discussed above, it is now clear what things we should consider whenever we are shopping for wet canned cat food. We’ve summarized the points here for your perusal.
- Guaranteed analysis
While not absolute, this will give you a fair understanding of the composition of the wet cat food in terms of the 4 principal elements: proteins, fats, fiber, and moisture. At the very least, the moisture content should be at least 70 percent with the protein and fats making up mostly the remainder of the food composition.
- Principal ingredients
Equally important are the principal ingredients. Pet food manufacturers list their ingredients in decreasing level of importance with the first 5 ingredients occupying 80 to 90 percent of the total volume of the food. As much as possible, the principal ingredients should always include an animal based protein. The more meat proteins listed in the top 5 the better it is. However, it is also crucial to check for the quality of the meat protein. Getting salmon is different from salmon meal although both will come from the same fish.
You should not be confused between an ingredient and a nutrient. Ingredients are the actual food items such as chicken, beef, duck, and so on and so forth. On the other hand, nutrients are chemicals derived from food. So, chicken will contain vitamins and minerals as well as essential fatty acids and amino acids. It is important to differentiate an ingredient from a nutrient because the latter is a natural component of the former.
It is natural for companies producing wet cat food to use preservatives in their formulation. This is because the ingredients used in each preparation are not dehydrated and as such are subject to spoilage. Now, do take note that there is a great difference between natural and artificial preservatives. An excellent example of a natural preservative is salt as well as Vitamin E. If there is a substance in the label that you don’t understand, it’s okay to research it first. Examples of artificial preservatives you want to avoid include BHA, ethoxyquin, BHT, and propyl gallate.
- Ingredients you have to avoid
While cats are not known to develop gluten allergies, you might want to confirm this first with your veterinarian and avoid foods that have gluten in them as much as possible if such an allergy exists in your cat. Also, the fiber, ash, and grain content should not be greater than 5 percent of the total volume of the food. Artificial coloring, flavoring, and preservatives should also be avoided at all cost. Also look for fillers such as corn or wheat as these are some ingredients you want to avoid.
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What Ingredients Should I Look For?
If we have to consider the things that we have been talking about so far, we can easily come up with a list of the ingredients that we should be looking for in a wet cat food. Here are the most important ingredients that you have to look for.
- Clearly identifiable meat protein
We cannot stress this enough. Meat protein should always take precedence over any other kind of plant protein precisely because of the absence of taurine in the latter. Additionally, plant based proteins also contain fiber which we already know to be quite difficult to digest by obligate carnivores. It is important to look for a clearly stated meat protein such as chicken, tuna, or duck, just to name a few. If it says ‘poultry meal’ your guess is as good as ours as to what kind of poultry products are included in the food.
At the very least you need to go for 75 percent moisture. The higher the moisture content the better it is especially if you have an elderly feline or a feline that simply doesn’t drink enough water.
We already mentioned that taurine is the amino acid that cats can never get from plant proteins. While taurine is naturally sourced from meat proteins it would also be important to look for cat foods that are enriched with taurine.
When and How Much Food Should I Feed My Adult Cat?
A healthy adult kitty will require, on the average, 30 calories for every pound of its body weight every day. So, if you have a 10-pound kitty, you’re looking at 300 calories to be given every day. But the point is that you are not going to give this amount in just one feeding. Ideally, you may want to divide it into 2 to 3 meals. Let us say you’ve decided to give your 10-pound kitty 300 calories per day in 3 meals, then you’re going to give your pet kitty 100 calories per meal.
For example, if a 3-ounce can of wet cat food contains 100 calories, then you are going to give your pet 1 can of this wet cat food every meal, 3 times a day. That also means you will be buying 3 cans of this particular food every day or 21 cans per week or 90 cans in one month.
Caring for your pet cat means giving it the best wet cat food you can ever find. These provide the necessary hydration felines need to support their optimum development. You can always start with our list of the best.