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366 Meander Run Rd
Locust Dale, VA 22948
540-672-6373 (phone)
540-672-7066 (fax)
Choosing a meal fit for a meezer
People and dogs are omnivorous, but cats are true carnivores. Their natural diet consists almost entirely of
meat and fats, and only 10 percent carbohydrates (grains, veggies, and fruits). However, many of the
bargain bags of dry foods found in grocery stores list carbs are their primary ingredient. This isn’t good
for an animal whose body is designed to run on meat. Corn is a particular problem as a major source of
food allergies.
Wet vs. dry food
For many years, veterinarians have advocated dry food instead of wet varieties because it has been
believed that crunching on dry food helps keep teeth cleaner. However, new studies contradict that. All
cat owners should consult their vets on how to maintain their cats’ dental health, regardless of the cats’
Many nutrition experts now recommend wet foods instead. This is because dry foods contain far more
carbs, and because cats’ bodies evolved expecting to get most of their water intake with their food. Many
cats do adore dry food. However, keep in mind that most of us love junk food, too!
Things to avoid
By-products and meal: These are not the same as high quality muscle meat. The term “meal” denotes
that the meat has been cooked for a long time at very high temperatures, which breaks down many
nutrients. By-products are a broad category that generally refers to animal parts not used in human foods.
Some of what is labeled as by-products is a natural part of a cat's diet, such as liver, kidneys, and other
organ meats. But by-products also refer to feet, feathers, egg shells, or contaminants. It is impossible to
tell the actual composition of the by-products in any food. If you do choose a food that contains byproducts, try to make sure they are not at the top of the ingredient list.
Overfeeding: Obesity can increase the risk of a variety of serious health problems. Free-feeding is a
major contributor to feline obesity. Although it is certainly more convenient for us humans, it may not be
in our cats’ best interests.
Too much fish: Too much can cause yellow-fat disease, a result of vitamin E deficiency.
Dangerous preservatives: Ethoxyquin, BHA, and BHT are suspected to be cancer-causing when too
much is consumed.
Alternatives to commercial cat food
Homecooked meals: Some owners frustrated with the offerings of the commercial pet food industry turn
to making their own cat food. A cat needs a carefully balanced diet, so anyone considering homemade
meals needs to do thorough research and find veterinary-approved recipes.
Raw diets: A rising number of cat and dog owners are turning to raw food diets. They argue that our
pets’ bodies are built to handle raw meat. But one should also consider that the bacteria level in meat is
greatly increased during processing at meat packing facilities. Most veterinarians do not recommend raw
366 Meander Run Rd
Locust Dale, VA 22948
540-672-6373 (phone)
540-672-7066 (fax)
The financial factor
The best-quality pet foods are not found on most grocery shelves, but in pet shops and stores specializing
in organic and natural foods. Many premium brands sold in pet stores offer a high level of protein content
and lack the fillers and artificial colorings and preservatives found in cheaper foods. Unfortunately, not all
of us can afford to feed the highest-quality food available. Responsible ownership does mean providing
food that meets a cat’s nutritional needs, but there are many good options in the middle price range
between the premium lines and the super-cheap, super-unhealthy foods.
In the end, there are no easy answers about pet foods. We can only strive to give them best food and care
in our means, to love them enough to give them the best we can offer. But then, that’s all they ask of us.
More info online
Tally’s Basic Cat Care Guide’s section on foods:
One vet’s guide to nutrition:
U.S. federal regulations:
The “Little Big Cat” site, “What Cats Should Eat”:
The Animal Protection Institute, “Get The Facts: What’s Really in Pet Food”: