How to buy the best cat food, according to veterinarians

best cat food

How to shop for the best cat food

You should approach buying cat food the same way you look at breakfast: Start with a nutritionally balanced diet. “You need food that is complete and balanced and appropriate for the life-stage of your cat,” says Bruce Kornreich, DVM, the director of the Cornell Feline Health Center in Ithaca, New York.

Kornreich recommends looking for a nutritional adequacy label from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), a nonprofit that assesses what’s in pet food and animal feed. Since cats are carnivores, meat is a key component of achieving the balanced diet that Kornreich emphasizes.

“If meat and meat by-products are among the first ingredients listed, it suggests the food likely has enough animal source ingredients to provide essential amino acids and fatty acids,” says Kornreich. But cats can’t live on meat alone.

“Cats must get nutrients like calcium, phosphorus and Vitamin D from other ingredients,” says Shelly Ferris, DVM, the regional director of Petco Veterinary Services.

She recommends looking for cat food with “natural whole ingredients such as fruits, vegetables and high-quality carbohydrates like rice, oats or potatoes.”

As for what to avoid, Paz Veterinary’s Julien keys in on ingredients that are “more about sentiment and marketing than nutrition.” He points to dyes that make food look more appealing to people (cats perceive color differently) and “exotic” ingredients like kangaroo and lentils, which are “less well studied in cats.”

Purina Pro Plan LiveClear Probiotic Chicken & Rice Formula

Purina Pro Plan LiveClear Probiotic Chicken & Rice Formula

Chicken and rice are the first two ingredients in this dry food designed for a healthy coat and digestion. Dried egg product, the sixth ingredient, is meant to helps reduce cat allergens.

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