Best Dry Cat Food

Best Dry Cat Food

How do you know what's the best dry cat food?

There's only one way you can tell - you need to look at the dry cat food ingredients. After all, it's not the look of the packaging, or the price that's the most important thing - it's the food going into your cat's body.

The best foods will include meat, such as beef, chicken, turkey, duck or lamb, sources of omega-3s (salmon or flax oil) and minimal to no grains.

Fillers high in carbohydrates do nothing to promote a cat's health and are often the principal culprits behind food allergies and digestive problems. Cheaper, generic dry cat food contains mostly fillers, with meat "by-products" often listed first as an ingredient to make you think the food has meat in it.

Actually, meat by-products in low-quality cat food come from what is referred to as "4-D" sources, i.e., animals rejected at meat processing "for human consumption" plants because they were labelled "disabled, dead or dying".

Not a nice thought is it?!

When cat food labels reveal that meat by-products are included, you should be aware that the quality of these by-products is inconsistent at best.

The Association of
American Feed Control Officials

This organization is comprised of voluntary members who work for federal, state and local agencies to regulate the distribution and sale of animal drug remedies and animal food.

The goals of the AAFCO are to safeguard the health of humans and animals, provide consumer protection and "provide a level playing field of orderly commerce for the animal feed industry" (AAFCO Website).

According to the AAFCO's "Guidance/Framework for Best Management Practices for Manufacturing, Packaging and Distributing Animal Feeds and Feed Ingredients", feed ingredients should:

  • Be manufactured in a way that minimizes the risk of contamination by unhealthy ingredients
  • Promote and meet all applicable standards regarding integrity, safety and quality of the food
  • Be subjected to suppliers' quality assurance programs implemented at production facilities

The best dry cat food will usually have an AAFCO statement on the bag that indicates that food had undergone rigorous testing and has been approved by the AAFCO.

In addition, cat food regulated by the AAFCO will contain adequate amounts of protein, essential amino acids (taurine, arginine, leucine, etc.), minerals (calcium, iron, copper, magnesium), vitamins A, D, K, E and B complexes), choline and folic acid.

Dry Weight Protein

Because cats are true carnivores and require sufficient protein in their diet to remain healthy, the amount of dry weight protein contained in dry cat food directly affects how much the food will benefit a cat's overall health. You can easily calculate the dry matter value using this formula:

  • Find the area on the label where "guaranteed analysis" is printed
  • Take the moisture percentage and subtract 100 from that number
  • Divide the result into the amount of crude protein contained in the food
  • The quotient of this equation will approximate the amount of dry weight protein in the food
  • Veterinarians recommend that this value should be at least 25 percent or higher

Confused, don't be! Let's use an example, if a 10 pound bag of dry cat food contains 11 percent moisture and 33 percent protein, you would subtract 11 from 100 to get 88, then divide 88 into 33 and get 37.5 percent protein by dry matter.

AAFCO Rules for the
Best Dry Cat Food

  • Cat food cannot be labelled "Chicken Cat Food" or "Chicken for Cats" if it does not contain at least 95 percent chicken by total weight of the product
  • Cat food labelled "Chicken Feast" or "Chicken Entre" must provide between 25 and 95 percent chicken.
  • Cat food with labels like "Kitty Stew with Chicken" must have at least three percent chicken included in its ingredients

AAFCO Approved Cat Food

Iams cat food and Science Diet cat food have been approved by the AAFCO and follows guidelines established by this regulatory committee. Iams and Hills Science Diet cat food is available at Pet Food Direct.

To give your cat's the best dry cat food that not only tastes better but provides necessary nutrients to ensure they live a long and healthy life, always inspect ingredient labels of any cat foods, especially department store brand cat foods, before purchasing them.

There's no doubt that you will pay more for better quality food. After all - your pets deserve the best care that we can possibly give them.

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