Many people ask us what the best food brand recommendations for kittens and cats are. Most of us have different preferences, usually dictated by the whims of our own cats. There are some universal brands that we can agree on, however, that we have discovered through our experience in working with cats and consultations with our vets.
The key in choosing a good type of food is to read the ingredients. With wet food, you should avoid meat by-products. With dry food, you should not only avoid by-products, but consider how much of the protein comes from meat and how much from grain, as cats cannot process grain protein nearly as well. In general, for both wet and dry, the more meat ingredients in the first few positions in the ingredients list, the better the food. In addition, many dry foods use corn to bind the food, and corn can lead to obesity as well as trigger allergies in your cat. The best dry foods have no corn in them at all, and ideally no soy or wheat.
What you may have heard about supermarket cat foods being the equivalent of junk food for cats is not just a ploy to get you to buy the more expensive brands. Just as there is a range of how people-food is made, different brands of cat food are made with different standards. Relying on supermarket brands of cat food is analogous to feeding your children fast food for every meal. These foods may be fine for an occasional treat, but they should not be fed every day. The best bargain wet food is Trader Joe’s Premium Cat Food, as it has no meat by-products and is priced similar to grocery store pet food.
Most food you buy at Petco, Petsmart, Centinela Feed or a similar local pet store is a superior brand. We recommend the following based on our experience. There are also other excellent premium brands not on this list.
Nature’s Variety Prarie
Nutro Natural Choice
Advanced Pet Diets’ Select Choice
Innova Regular (red bag)
Kittens should be fed kitten food — both wet and dry — until they are at least eight months old, and then they can move to adult food. Always have plenty of fresh water, changing it at least once a day.
Recent studies suggest that cats that are only fed dry food can develop urinary and kidney problems due to insufficient water in the diet. In addition, dry food is high in carbohydrates, so if your cat is overweight, feed more wet and less dry. Many vets now recommend feeding wet food only.
Current research from vets also suggests changing your cat’s brand or flavor of food at least every 6 months, or feeding it a few varieties of food. This is in case your cat ever needs to go on a veterinary special diet. If it has only eaten one kind of food for 10 years, it will resist any new foods.