Sunday, September 6, 2009

How to Choose a Cat Food

Non-cat owners don't seem to realize that the "finicky cat" thing actually exists. I've been a cat owner all my life and I've yet to run into one that eats like a dog. My cats are picky, finicky eaters and this increases as they move into their geriatric years.

You might find a portion of the cat chow your old kitty loves so much remains in the bowl when you come home. Maybe your cat doesn't come running when he hears the chow pellets hitting his metal bowl. Whether it's canned food or dry food, your cat's food needs have changed as he's moved into the senior years of his life.



Chow

Chow often serves as a mainstay in a cat's diet, especially in homes where pet parents work all day. Pop some chow into the bowl, fill up the water and off you go to your busy day. Don't worry about the cat because he'll spend 80 to 90 percent of his day sleeping anyway. This might be true of a younger animal but older cats require an adjustment.

Older kitties tend to have either missing teeth or sensitive gums. Pick one of these and you've got a cat that doesn't really want to crunch on chow all day. You might see a decrease in weight on the cat. Or kitty may completely ignore his chow. Don't rush out and buy a new brand. Consider switching to wet foods in cans to supplement your older cat's fluid intake needs.

Chow works very well as a supplement to a standardized wet-food diet. Consider chow a treat but not a staple in your elderly cat's diet. Cat chow contains grains as well as ingredients to create the kernel-like consistency to bind the meal into a nugget. In the wild, cats consume animals that don't contain any grains. See where this is going? If your elderly cat still wants chow, provide a small amount of the highest quality cat chow you can afford. Holistic/all natural is best.

Canned Food

Again, choose the very best canned foods that you can afford. Cat food manufacturers don't use the most appetizing ingredients in cat foods. It's frankly a little too gross to ponder in this article. But, as a responsible elderly cat owner, you can steer your cat to better health by choosing higher quality pet foods. No, you won't find these at the grocery but instead, at pet stores and specialty pet food stores.

Many brands have an elderly line of products. However, take a look at the best of the best. You'll pay more but your cat will be getting all-natural ingredients, little-to-no grains and additional moisture with a change to a wet food diet. If you must choose a food from the grocery, consider those brands that aren't generic with names you recognize such as Purina. Advertising on cat food bags and cans is a lot like advertising everywhere else. They can stretch the truth a little. Some stretch it a lot. And some who were involved in the pet food recalls in 2007 have completely revamped their product wrappings to fool the customer.

Picking a Food

Choosing a food involves looking at the ingredients on the cat. Most manufacturers list items in order of content. If something says all natural, the first ingredient should be one of the meats all cats love as obligate-carnivores. Cats don't eat what cows do - namely grains - so avoid those foods with grains, glutens and rice. Some contain these products in safe amounts while others use these products to excess as fillers.

In the cat food world, you get what you pay for.

Resources

Do your research online before purchasing any food. Simply Google the pet food name and add review to your query. So many pet lovers take the time to provide their experiences with cat foods and products. Use this information to help you make informed decisions to better your elderly cat's diet. Remember that purchasing the very best foods that you can afford will help extend your cat's life and provide his aging body the nutrients he needs during the older stages of life.

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