As humans become more food conscious, it’s only logical that these same principles trickle down to cat food. There’s organic cat food, all-natural cat food, raw cat food and holistic cat food. Where do you start? After exploring raw cat food with little success, I have branched out into the world of natural pet food. What is the best natural cat food and how do you decide on one?
I am happy with the Blue Buffalo dry formula that I have been giving my cat, Laila, for years. I was looking for wet or canned natural cat food to supplement her diet. What cat doesn’t like wet food? The same principles apply whether you are looking for wet or dry natural cat food. Here’s what you should consider:
Ok, so, I think this is obvious, but I must mention it. Check the ingredient list. And then check again to be sure. You want to see real meat as the first ingredient and then a mix of veggies, vitamins, fats and minerals. There shouldn’t be anything unknown or anything you can’t pronounce in the list. In the US, using the term “natural” on cat food means that no ingredients have been chemically altered. Phew! No chemicals for my cat!
Now, let’s focus on the meat. As carnivores, meat is the most important component of natural cat food to the cat. So, it’s most important to me too. Check the bag or ingredient list to see if you can figure out what the meat eats. In other words, what is the food fed? Try saying that 3 times fast. Using chicken as an example, you want the chickens to eat good stuff – again, nothing you can’t pronounce and certainly no antibiotics, hormones, etc. This helps to ensure you’re getting the best quality meat.
Keep it simple and look for natural cat food with limited ingredients. The first three ingredients are the most important (they are listed in decreasing order of amount). Ideally all three will be meat. Remember though, that meat only food is not enough, you need a balance of foods for the proper nutrition.
The balance of ingredients in natural cat food should also be a consideration. You’ll have meat, of course, but what about grains? Are those good? Veggies, fruits, dairy? Your cat needs protein, amino acids from protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and water to survive. Carbohydrates and fiber in small quantities are ok too but should be very low on the ingredient list.
Grain free is a good natural cat food option to limit carbohydrates but, remember that there are many carbohydrates in veggies like potatoes. Grain free does not mean no carbs. If in doubt, check the package for more details. Or, you can look online. It can be hard to get all that info on a tin of canned food. The best natural cat food should show the balance of food categories on the package or you should be able to find it from the maker.
If your cat has medical issues, most companies are also making natural cat food tailored to specific diets.
If you’re like me, you want the buying of your natural cat food to be easy. Ideally, you want something available at the grocery store or at least your local pet store, like Petsmart. Amazon is also easy if you can plan ahead a little bit.
Yes, I want Laila to have a more natural diet but I don’t want to break the bank. I don’t expect to pay pennies for premium natural cat food but I also want the best natural cat food I can get for a reasonable price. Don’t let them fool you. Just because it’s the most expensive natural cat food doesn’t mean it’s the best.
Don’t buy a bunch of new natural cat food without testing it on your cat first. You want your cat to like it so try a few at least before committing. Introduce it slowly, mix it in with the old food bit by bit. Increase the proportion of new food a little every day.
With a little research and a few trials, you can find the best natural cat food for your cat. For us it was the Wellness Brand Chicken and Herring wet cat food. Here’s how it stands up to the categories:
- Ingredients: the first 3 ingredients are chicken and fish. It has foods that I know and can pronounce – except for some of the vitamins/minerals.
- Balance: It has a good balance of nutrition. Protein, vitamins, minerals, veggies…
- Availability: It’s not available in the grocery stores that I frequent but it is available at both Petsmart and Amazon.
- Price: It’s about $2 or less for a 5.5 oz can. This is reasonable to me since wet food is a treat and not her main food.
- Taste: Laila eats it as soon as it’s put out. Enough said. A cat that doesn’t consume chemicals is a happy cat, right? What do you think is the best natural cat food? What have you tried? Let me know in the comments.