Best Cat Food?

Ravenrogue

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Hi all, I recently got a new cat and the vet recommended the "Iams Healthy adult" food. I don't think he likes it though, he doesn't seem particularly happy about eating it and this morning when I put him next to his bowl he sniffed it and scratched around the bowl like he would in the litter box. Not sure what this means but I assume that's his way of saying the food is crap lol. Would appreciate any suggestions, thx.
 

Kieka

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Cats are obligated carnivores which means they need a diet of primarily meat, high protein, moderate fat and low carb. A high moisture content is also an important part of their diet since they tend to drink less water.

Dry food is generally high in carbs and lower in protein then cats should ideally get. If you are talking the Iams dry version, it has a lot of corn in it. While my little garbage kitty will happily drag an ear of corn to the corner and growl when I try to take it, cats really shouldn't be eating corn on a regular basis. It's essentially empty calories for them with a high sugar content (aka asking for diabetes down the road). If you want to stick with a dry food you'd want to look for something with low carbs and high protein.

Even that is tricky because dry food needs a binder to stay shelf stable and dry. If you get a grian free food they use peas or potatoes, which are also under fire right now for a variety of reasons. My biggest problem with grain free is inflated protein counts from pea protein that cats can't process.... And I am probably getting way off topic.

Okay, good cat food.
  1. The food your cat will eat. Doesn't matter what the nutrition or quality is, if your cat won't eat it, it isn't good for you. Sounds like your cat isn't an Iams fan.
  2. The food you can afford. Dr Elseys has a nice dry formula that ticks all the right boxes. Young Again also has a really good dry formula. There are quality ones out there as well like the protein version of Nature's Variety and some Acana or Orjien. But they do get pricey. Just remember that a high price doesn't equal a good food, read your labels.
  3. Which brings me to, read your labels. Check the ingredients. I like to see no corn or wheat. I also like named meats and minimal added stuff that cats don't need like veggies. Check your nutrition for high protein and moderate fat. Carbs usually aren't labeled but you can use online calculators to estimate or call manufacturers directly.
  4. Feed wet at least once a day or, ideally, all meals. Cats need moisture in their diet and dry food doesn't have it. Feeding one meal a day of wet helps them reach their daily water needs.
Your probably saying at this point, Kieka just tell me what to buy. Sad news is I can't. Your access to different foods will vary as will your cats preference. I have a Mom and Pop pet store within a mile of my house that stocks smaller brands, you might not. I live near a Chewy distribution center and sometimes can get same day delivery on orders, you might not. I have picky little buggers who refuse pate, your boy might love pate. I have my budget for cat food, yours might be different. So you have to do a little looking for what you have access to and try out some things to see what your cat likes.

If you want to share your location, generally of course, and budget me or others might be able to help narrow it down more. But for now I hopefully gave you enough general information to figure it out.
 
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Ravenrogue

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Thanks for all the info, that was really helpful! I'll check if I can find the brands you mentioned here or otherwise will just look for a high protein/low carb one. I've been giving him wet food in the evenings and it seems like he is just waiting till he gets that and avoiding the dry food :p It will be a little expensive to only give wet food though so will try a combination of the two if I can find a brand that he likes. :)
 

LTS3

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Some reading:

How To Choose The Right Food For Your Cat
What Do I Need To Know About Feeding My Cat?
How To Choose The Right Food For Your Cat
Choosing The Right Food For Your Cat - Part 2
How To Choose The Best Dry Cat Food?
What Makes The Best Canned Cat Food?
Grain-free Cat Food – What Does It Mean?

More general nutrition info:

A Scientific Take On Cat Nutrition By Dr. Rachel Boltz
Cat Food & Feline Nutrition With Pet Nutritionist Dr. Martha Cline
Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition – Common Sense. Healthy Cats.

It's ok to not feed the vet's recommended brand of food :agree: If your cat doesn't like it, there's no point in feeding it. Are you looking for dry or canned food?

The best food is the one your cat will eat (most important) and one you can afford and can easily find in local stores if you prefer not to buy online.
 

Rini

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This is going to depend on a lot on your budget. There is decent food at all price ranges but the very high protein/low carb/no fillers food tends to be expensive.

I lost my job a few months back and I had to rely on Amazon gift cards from home to feed my boy. I fed him Fancy Feast and occasionally, Rachel Ray's Nutrish cups because they were on sale a lot at the store. But at least I was able to keep feeding him wet food instead of kibble. It can get really expensive, I know, but I feel so much better about it. I think the consensus here is to feed as much wet food as you can afford to feed.

Now that I'm working again, I am back to feeding Tiki Cat After Dark, Weruva (cans and pouches), Nutro cuts in gravy, Wellness pates and some Fancy Feast as well because a) he likes, he will eat it when he's being picky and b) because it's actually quite solid for a grocery store brand and it keeps costs down.

I am working longer hours as well so I was looking into leaving him a tiny bit of dry food during the day M-F. I don't want him to fill up on it, but I was leaning towards Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Game Bird Recipe.

Anyone have any advice re dry? Do they really need the dry food or is it ok for them to be a bit hungry between wet food feedings?
 

LTS3

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Anyone have any advice re dry? Do they really need the dry food or is it ok for them to be a bit hungry between wet food feedings?

Cats do not need any dry food in their diet :headshake: Dry food does nothing for dental health as many people, including vets, believe. It's ok for cats to be a little hungry between meals. I believe Catinfo.org has some info on why it's healthy for cats to experience hunger pangs between meals. Cats don't need a full satiated tummy all the time.
 

lisahe

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Ravenrogue Ravenrogue , it's great if he's not just eating the wet food but waiting for it -- the more wet food you can feed, the better! (He's clearly a smart cat!)

Wet food is more expensive than most dry food but shopping around can help. Be sure to check store brands. Tractor Supply, for example, has very decent "Kitchen Selects" pates that are a lot like Fancy Feast Classics but (IMHO, anyway) better quality. (I wish our cats liked them more!) The big thing is to try to feed as much meat-based protein as possible while minimizing the carbs, as Kieka Kieka suggested.

Rini Rini , no, cats do not need dry food! As for getting a bit hungry between meals, we recently switched our cats' serving sizes a bit and have found that letting them get a little more hungry has resulted in our less food-driven cat eating more. This is a very good thing! (The cat who always wants to eat is still the same, though!)
 
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Ravenrogue

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sorry if this is a stupid question :p but can I just give him some chicken/meat that I make myself? I could give him canned food during the day and then just make some chicken etc separately for him in the evenings, or are there other ingredients in the canned food that he needs?
 

lutece

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It's not a stupid question at all. Lots of people prepare homemade food for their cats. It's fine for him to have an occasional meal of plain chicken or other meat, but if homemade food becomes a major part of his diet, you want to make sure it is complete and balanced.
I would suggest that you check out the references and discussion in this forum:
Raw & Home-Cooked Cat Food
 

MargoLane

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This is so personal! Everyone has their own requirements, location and budget. But my requirements are high protein, moderate fat, low carb. And by low carb, I prefer less than 10% for wet food, and less than 15% for dry food. I don't feed much dry at all, so I'm willing to go up to 15% since it's only 1-2 times a week. Here's a list of foods I find acceptable that are available in my area to - it might help you get started!

Wet:
Fancy Feast Pates, Almo Nature, BFF, some Boreal flavours, some Holistic Select flavours, Instinct, Nutro Perfect Portions, Tiki Cat, Weruva Cats in the Kitchen, some Wellness Core flavours, some Rawz flavours.

Dry:
Tiki Cat Chicken and Fish, Some Acana flavours.

Good luck!
 

Minxxy

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The “best cat food “ is really a matter of opinion. It will be different for everyone. It mostly depends on your cat and what he accepts as the best.
My cats will only eat two brands of wet, Fancy Feast & Friskies. Those will give them diarrhea so they don’t eat it often. I just recently switched all three to Young Again Zero Carb. It does have some carbs but very low. It’s high protein.
 

daftcat75

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The ideal cat food will be meat, moisture, organs, and supplements. Organs may also be called by-products. These are simply unnamed organs. Cats eat them all so this isn't an issue. Supplements should be actual chemicals like tricalcium phosphate, ferrous sulfate, copper proteinate, etc. Don't trust a food that doesn't have at least some of these vitamin and minerals added back in or a food that tries to convince you that these can be absorbed from fruit and vegetable sources. Cats are not small people. The inclusion of fruits and vegetables is much less healthy to them than it sounds to us. Pumpkin is the exception because it's a fiber source but it can also help dry up loose stools. The inclusion of other fruits and vegetables can be problematic. It alters the gut pH making digestion less efficient (e.g. loose stools or vomiting!) The inclusion of gums can also be problematic. Some great foods have been ruined by including an irritating gum like agar agar, carageenan, or xanthum gum.
 

mizzely

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The best food is the one your cat eats, does well on, and that you can afford :)

But yes, high all meat protein, moderate fat, and low carb is the ideal.
 
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