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How Do I Choose the Best Cat Food?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 21 October 2018
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    Conjecture Corporation
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It's advisable to ask your pet's veterinarian (vet) about the best cat food choice. For one thing, it's not always about a certain brand being better than another so much as the type and quantity recommended for each animal. For instance, older or diabetic cats who are prone to constipation may have the problem worsened by eating too much dry food. Many veterinarians sell particular cat food products they recommend in their practice, but they are also usually happy to advise pet owners on the best commercial varieties. If possible, bring in the actual products you're considering feeding to your cat so the vet can read the labels to give you accurate advice.

While any qualified veterinarian should be a good source of advice about what to feed cats, it's best to choose the vet who treats your cat. In this way, based on any health issues or conditions your pet may have, your animal's doctor can determine whether or not a specific cat food is the best choice. Even the gender of your cat can make a difference in what ingredients make the best cat food.

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Male cats are especially prone to blockage of their urinary tract. This is a painful, but treatable condition requiring immediate attention if your cat is straining or crying when in his or her litter box. Ash and other minerals in cat food can increase the risk of this condition, so a proper diet is important. Constipation in cats also causes the same symptoms of straining and crying in the litter box and dry food may increase the problem; a pet owner with an outdoor cat may have to be more diligent in making sure blockage isn't occurring.

Don't be fooled by marketing words on cat foods that may sound good, but have no actual value such as "premium" or "natural." Instead, research the company to see whether or not its products were created by a team of veterinary dietitians with the use of feeding trials to make sure the foods are nutritionally sound and properly digestible. Unless a vet recommends otherwise, older or less active cats should be given lower calorie foods, while kittens typically need special formulas with added calories. Nursing cats may also need a kitten food. Spayed and neutered pets may require a low calorie cat food, as they may be prone to gaining weight more easily.

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