Most people feed their cats on prepared cat foods, which provide a simple solution — with no cooking or preparation involved — to the problem of keeping their cats well fed and happy. They are convenient to use, manufacturers claim that they are formulated to provide a balanced diet, they are relatively inexpensive, and most cats seem to like them. The three main types of prepared catfood on the market are canned ‘wet’, ‘semi-moist’, and dry foods.
Just like humans, cats need a well-balanced diet, with plenty of protein. The commercially-prepared foods available will satisfy your cat and also save you any concern for his diet.
No single food can be regarded as a completely balanced diet – either for people or for cats. Commercial pet foods are big business and no reputable manufacturer would dare risk his share of the market by selling substandard products, so they probably won’t do your cat any harm. Whatever type of prepared food you choose, it should be supplemented once or twice a week by fresh foods such as meat, poultry, offal or fish with a few vegetables and a little crumbled toast or pasta. Variety is the spice of a cat’s life, too.
Healthy adult cat’s diet should contain a balance of nutrients, including protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Will prepared foods provide the right combinations?
Canned foods contain meat and/or fish, jellying agents, vitamins, colouring and cereals. With a high moisture content and a fair amount of fat, they can form a large part of the diet. You get what you pay for and the more you pay, the more protein it will contain.
PRE-PACKED MEALS `Semi-moist’ foods in sealed plastic pouches contain meat, soya beans, fats, vitamins, preservatives, colouring, thickening agents and sugar. They contain only 20-30% moisture and are often low in fats.
Although you will want to keep canned cat food fresh after opening, remember that cats do not like their foods straight from the fridge as, in their wild state, they eat their prey when it has just been killed and is warm rather than cold.
Canned catfood has been in existence for over 25 years.
Dogfoods are not suitable for feeding to cats and do not contain enough protein or (in some cases) fat.
When comparing the prices of different types of catfood to check that you are getting value for money, bear in mind that canned catfood contains up to 90% water: this makes them a relatively expensive option.
Dry ‘veterinary approved’ formulations are becoming increasingly popular, and are convenient to store and serve. Look for the word ‘complete’ on the label as some biscuits are intended for mixing with wet foods.
Dry foods are mini-biscuits containing cereals, fish, meat, yeast, vitamins, fat and colouring. They are low in fats and proteins. They contain only 10 per cent water, and have been suspected of causing urinary tract problems in the past. Formulations have been altered, however, and they are now widely used.
A recent addition is the range of veterinary-formulated complete `prescription’ diets, in different formulae for the young, mature, overweight and elderly cat, and for sufferers of specific disorders such as kidney disease. Always provide water alongside the pellets.