Types of cat food to consider
The cat food aisle is vast and the shopping possibilities don’t end at the register. Subscription services and farm-to-bowl companies now ship cat food directly to your house.
Dry cat food versus wet or canned cat food
Dry cat food is a popular choice partly because it is more convenient than wet cat food. “Dry food is cost-effective, odorless, and it can be stored for long periods of time without spoiling,” says Ferris.
But Julien notes that dry cat food can also be higher in carbohydrates than wet cat food. Just as you think about all the sourdough you’ve been eating while baking at home, you should also consider the amount of carbs your cat is eating. “An active cat can absolutely use carbohydrates as an energy source,” says Julien, adding that “a sedentary — aka indoor — cat will store extra carbs as fat.”
Wet food requires a bit more effort — it has to be refrigerated once the can or pouch is opened — and can be more expensive. But it may also help cats get more water in their diet (and the smell might entice a picky cat to eat). “Canned or wet food has higher levels of protein and fat, making it a great option for cats of various lifestyles and ages,” says Kornreich.
Kitten, adult or senior?
Cats are roughly divided into three age groups —kitten, adult and senior — when it comes to cat food.
While you might have a good idea of which bucket your cat falls into, Julien recommends consulting your veterinarian about your cat’s specific dietary needs in conjunction with age, and to get an expert read on what needs or restrictions your cat might be exhibiting. “Kittens need more energy-producing nutrients — like proteins and fats — and more vitamins, minerals and water than adult cats,” says Ferris. “Formulas made specifically for kittens provide these nutrients in the right amounts.”
Most cats will move from kitten kibbles to adult food on their first birthday. Ferris tells pet owners it’s important to gradually work in new food over a week to help avoid upsetting your feline friend’s stomach. Adult cat food likely has less calories than kitten cuisine, while senior food (which typically make sense for cats around the age of ten) will likely be geared toward the specific health of your cat — they might have trouble chewing or a reduced ability to smell and taste.
Organic chicken, water, organic turkey and organic brown rice are the first four ingredients in this canned, wet food. It’s also packed with fruits and vegetables: organic carrots, cranberries and apples.