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February 15, 2012 at 1:17 PMComments: 3 Faves: 0

Victoria Swanson: My Top 3 Cat Food Picks

By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Paws & Awws Blog Series

Recently, we discussed the "5 Pet Food Secrets Corporations Don't Want You to Know" and with the interest that generated, I released the food brands I WOULD recommend for dogs.

But let's not forgot our furry felines and their diet!

Personally, I feel that optimal feline health is achieved with raw or fresh food rather than dry kibble. But, as many families have been experiencing some difficult times in recent years, the convenience and cost of dry kibble is tough for many to pass up. Despite this, please understand that our pets' diets affect every aspect of their health, and that kibble, purely from a wellness perspective, is probably not the best way to go. However, if you do choose dry kibble, it's important to spend time researching and learning about the various brands and varieties. I've offered a few of my top choices below to help assist you in this process.

A side note for diabetic cats; absolutely no dry food should be given to a diabetic cat (in general, even for a non-diabetic cat, dry food is not a good option for cats, because of the high carb content).

As with dog food, there are a few things I recommend when selecting a cat food brand:

  • No "Meat" or "Bone meal." When no source - chicken, beef, ect. - is listed, "meat" could be ANYTHING - even spoiled leftovers, roadkill or euthanized pets! Seriously. No thanks!
  • No By-Products. Beaks, hooves, feathers, tumors... by-products could literally be anything and I don't see them offering much nutrition.
  • No Corn. Companies use this because it is inexpensive and filling, but it offers little of the nutrients your pets need.
  • Recognizable foods make up 80% of the formula. A lot of times, companies add in minute amounts of the best ingredients simply so they can list them on the packaging. You should know what they first 10 ingredients are and they should represent the majority of what goes into the food.

TRAINER TIP: I've come across a number of people that say they feed their cat dog food because it's less expensive, but this is a mistake. You should never feed dog food to a cat (or cat food to a dog for that matter) because not only are their nutrition needs are very different, the way their body breaks down those nutrients is very different too.

The reason cat food is a little more expensive than dog food is that they require more protein and less fat than dogs, and protein is more expensive to come by. Cats also require Taurine (an essential amino acid that helps prevent blindness) because unlike humans and dogs, cats cannot produce enough of their own from other building block amino acids.
If you are trying to save money or cut cost by feeding dog food to your cat, you will eventually pay the difference and more in vet bills due to the poor health and illnesses your cat will suffer due to the lack of nutrition! Here are my top 3 cat food picks:

#1. Innova

I recommended Innova as one of my top 3 commercial dog food brands and I am recommending it again for your cat! I am especially impressed by Innova's "Low Fat Dry Cat Food" which - considering 1 in every 3 cats is obese - is a great option for cat owners. It provides the full range of nutrition they need while promoting a healthy weight.

Bonus: Innova offers cat owners the same food program they offer for cats. A "Frequent Buyer Club" membership will allow you to get one free bag for every ten you buy!

COST RANGE: $1.49 - $2.09 Canned / $18.99 - $23.99 Dry (depending on size of bag and selection)

INGREDIENTS for Innova Low Fat Dry Cat Food:

  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Barley
  • Brown Rice
  • Chicken Meal
  • Potato
  • Herring
  • Rice
  • Pea Fiber
  • Natural Flavors...

...Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, a Natural Source of Vitamin E), Flaxseed, Egg, Apple, Pumpkin, Potassium Chloride, Carrots, Herring Oil, Cranberry, Salt, Cottage Cheese, Dried Chicory Root, Sunflower Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, a Natural Source of Vitamin E), Alfalfa Sprouts, L-carnitine, DL Methionine, Taurine, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Betaine, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Beta Carotene, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid), Minerals (Calcium Carbonate, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Iodate), Direct Fed Microbials (Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product and Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product), Lecithin, Rosemary Extract

California Natural

California Natural is a wonderful pet food company that truly believes in "less is more" motto. Both their dog and cat food lines offers superb quality and their cat food in particular is a great option for our feline friends with food sensitivities or allergies! I was very impressed by their dedication to a GRAIN FREE product which provides a healthy alternative for pet owners.

California Natural like to boast that it has:

  • NO wheat
  • NO corn
  • NO soy
  • NO artificial preservatives
  • NO artificial flavoring
  • NO added coloring
  • NO by-products

COST RANGE: $1.29 - $1.49 Canned / $15.99 - $21.99 Dry (depending on size of bag and selection)

INGREDIENTS for California Natural's Grain Free Chicken Formula Dry Cat and Kitten Food:

  • Chicken
  • Chicken Meal
  • Peas
  • Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, a Natural Source of Vitamin E)
  • Pea Fiber
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Natural Flavors...

...Potassium Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Betaine Hydrochloride, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin Supplement, Beta Carotene, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid), Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Iodate), Taurine, Salt

Earthborn Holistic

Earthborn Holistic is a great choice for cats! All of their cat food offering (with the exception of the Feline Vantage) is grain free. Their food comes only from high quality ingredients - no hooves of beaks in their bags!

Bonus: They offer the same deal to dog and cat owners. In exchange for your UPC's, the Earthborn Holistic company will plant trees in areas that have been affected by deforestation. They offer a VERY earth-friendly products that will make you feel good not only for feeding your kitty a very nutritional food, but also contributing to the well-being of our environment!

COST RANGE: $1.49 - $1.89 Canned / $16.59 - $24.99 Dry (depending on size of bag and selection)

INGREDIENTS for Canned Harbor Harvest™ Natural Cat Food:

  • Salmon
  • Salmon Broth
  • Whitefish Tuna
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Sunflower Oil...

...Guar Gum, Tapioca Starch, Tricalcium Phosphate, Carrageenan, Taurine, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Oxide, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K Activity), Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Potassium Iodide.

What benefits do high-quality cat foods offer?

All three of these commercial cat food brands are manufactured and packaged here in the U.S. Please note that although these foods are higher in price, they are also higher in quality and grade and that means:

  • More nutritious food, means your cat won't need as much to satisfy them.
  • Nutritional superiority means your cat will be healthier and less likely to develop diseases.
  • Better mix means less bowel movements throughout the day.
  • Bowel movements will be healthy and solid, not runny.
  • Food is fresher. The closer the food manufacturer is to you, the less preservatives they will need to add.
  • AAFCO regulation and certification offers peace of mind.

Please note that the above brands are just my personal recommendations. There are MANY other great commercial and from scratch diet plans for cats out there!

Food is the foundation of your cat's health so I encourage you all to do your research to make sure you are providing your fur kids with the best food possible!

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  • I liked your blog. Very good information and it reaffirms what I’ve been reading about cat nutrition, but I’m surprised not to see Natural Balance on your top picks. I switched over from grocery store brands to this brand a few years ago for my cat and she’s doing great and loves it. You can see the difference in her coat and eyes and general pep – it is true that you are what you eat. Thank you for the information.

  • "No By-Products. Beaks, hooves, feathers, tumors" That just makes me cringe reading that. Especially the last one listed...tumors. ew...we wouldn't want to eat a tumor, so why would our cat? :/ yuck.

  • Hey Jason, thanks for reading my blog, I only picked 3 but there were many more brands that I would add to this list....glad you found one that worked for you and your fur kids!

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