What kind of wet food should I feed my cats?

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Pearl is just ecstatic when she smells food but Sky is somewhat of a picky eater. Since we have had Sky much longer, I tend to follow his preferences. Sometimes it’s the taste that they don’t like, but also the type of wet food as well. One thing I know is that they do not like pâté, even Pearl who cleans her dish every time still leaves a bit behind. I personally also do not prefer to feed them pâté as it is more like a paste and just sticks to the spoon. I prefer the stews/gravy type that I can just plop onto their dish without leaving any on the spoon.

Nowadays, there are so many variations of wet recipes: pâté, stew, gravy, soup, consommé, au jus, aspic, sauce, gelee. Then there’s the type of wet food: cubed, minced, diced, sliced, shredded, chunky, flaked, morsels. A bit overwhelming! Every cat has their own preference so make sure to observe your cat’s eating habits, but more importantly, educate yourself on reading the labels before making the purchase.

Although I am flexible with their preferences, I do follow a guideline. I’m no expert at food analysis but I try to do as much research online and read the labels. The labels don’t provide all information which is why you will need to do your research, look into the company’s site for detailed nutritional values.

My guideline for choosing cat food:

  • Keep in mind that all food products vary from batch to batch hence the (min.) and (max.) on the guaranteed analysis
  • Animal based protein; chicken, turkey, rabbit  (>50% calories based on Metabolizable Energy)
  • Moderate fat (~20-45% calories based on Metabolizable Energy)
  • Low carbohydrate (~1-2% calories based on Metabolizable Energy)
  • Crude protein (min) on guaranteed analysis (the higher, the better but read ingredient list to see where protein is coming from)
  • Crude fat (min) on guaranteed analysis (the lower, the better)
  • Moisture (max) content on guaranteed analysis (~75%-85%)
  • Ash (max) content on guaranteed analysis (<2%)
  • The first several ingredients listed must be protein but not liver (liver is high in Vitamin A & D which can be overdosed)
  • Avoid by-products (nutritious organ meats such as liver, spleen, kidney but can also include feet and feathers)
  • Avoid meals (heavily processed), fillers, corn, soy, wheat, rice
  • As little carbohydrate sources as possible; grains and vegetables (rice, potatoes, peas, starch, corn/maize)
  • Preferably gluten free (plant-based protein)
  • Carrageenan free (additive used to thicken, emulsify food)
  • Try to limit fish-based recipes (high allergy potential, toxin/mercury levels, high in phosphorus/magnesium, addictive)
  • Note: Ash (mineral) – the higher the ash content, the less actual food calories is in the can so the lower the better

Hopefully this will help you with choosing wet food for your feline friends!

 

If you’d like to learn more in detail about cat food analysis, visit catinfo.org