What’s In Your Cat’s Cat Food?

What’s In Your Cat’s Cat Food?

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A well-balanced diet is important for cats of all ages. It can make a difference in their health, behavior, and coat.

Look for high-quality protein from meat, chicken, turkey and other lean cuts. This is critical for a cat’s heart, vision and reproductive health.


As obligate carnivores, cats need protein for growth and development as well as to fuel their unique nervous systems, maintain heart health and eye health and ensure a healthy immune system.

As with all of the nutrients discussed in this article, it’s important to choose a cat food that contains high-quality animal and plant proteins in the right proportions to provide your pet with the essential amino acids they need.

Many commercial pet foods are marketed as having high-quality protein sources, but the reality is that most of them contain poorly digestible meat derivatives such as chicken meal and beef meal or poor quality plant proteins like peas, lentils and rice. These types of proteins can cause a cat’s metabolism to slow down and make them feel sluggish or experience other gastrointestinal issues.


Fats are lipids that deliver energy to your cat’s muscles and organs, provide protection for them, as well as a means of storing certain vitamins. They are an essential part of a high-quality diet.

Animal fats are good sources of slow-release protein and can be added to most commercial foods. They also help maintain the health of your feline’s skin and coat, reducing shedding.

Healthy fats are derived from fish, poultry, and beef. They are also important sources of omega fatty acids, which have been linked to improved vision, a healthier immune system, and healthy skin and coat.


Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients found in pet food. Along with proteins and fat, they provide energy for your cat.

During digestion, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, the preferred source of energy for certain cells and tissues in your cat’s body.

The carbohydrate content of your cat’s diet will vary based on the ingredients and the amount of protein and fat present. As a rule, most cat foods will have a moderate amount of carbohydrate, measured as wt% or on a dry matter basis.

The nutrient profile of commercial pet foods, however, tends to be higher in carbohydrates than what is natural for cats and may be associated with some health problems such as obesity and diabetes mellitus. While some people believe that a high-carbohydrate diet causes these conditions, research shows otherwise.


Vitamins play a key role in your cat’s health. They help promote good aging, support their immune system and reduce stress levels.

Most commercial cat foods include a range of essential vitamins and minerals that your cat needs to live a healthy lifestyle. However, your cat may need additional supplements if they have a medical condition that makes them intolerant of some nutrients or if they are pregnant and nursing.

Some of the most common vitamins that you should look for in a cat food are B-vitamins, vitamin C and biotin. These vitamins are needed to help your cat’s skin and hair, improve digestion and build muscle.


Minerals are the essential building blocks for bone and muscle development, as well as helping to maintain energy levels. These minerals can be found in high concentrations (macrominerals) or in very low amounts (trace minerals).

Calcium is a necessary mineral for healthy bones and teeth. Without enough of this nutrient, your pet may experience rickets, a condition where their bones become soft and weak.

Sodium is also a vital mineral that helps your cat transfer nutrients to their cells and remove waste. The Association of American Feed Control Officials recommends dry cat foods contain a minimum of 0.2 percent sodium for normal growth and development.

There are several different types of minerals cats need to be healthy, including iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Iron is a highly available mineral that is found naturally in liver, lean meats, fish, whole grains and legumes.

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