It’s so frustrating to think that after spending hours upon hours of researching, desperately trying to find out what’s best for your cat, you can come up more confused and disoriented about cat food than when you started. The issue with trying to search for the absolute best food for your cat is that it feels like an impossible quest.
The Mish-Mash of Opinions & Uncertainty
Apparently, there are some cat foods that are terrible – others that are average – a few that are very good, but which ones are which?
If you go by high protein count, you could still end up with a cat food that makes your pet sick. If you go for wet food over dry food because it keeps your cat better hydrated, you could still fret over the fact that you may have ended up grabbing the wrong type of wet food, one that is potentially worse than the kibble you used to feed your cat. If you go with a raw diet, you could end up harming your cat by not including the right minerals and nutrients a cat needs in his or her meals – after all, it’s not easy getting the balance right.
There are people who make their entire decision of which cat food to feed their kitties based on myths, like the myth that dry cat food is better for your kitty’s teeth, for instance. I know I was fed this information from a vet and until I took the time to research it thoroughly, I didn’t know there was even information out there that said otherwise.
Others base their decision of what to feed their cat purely on what’s most popular, (or what the most popular dry food or wet food is, if they have a preference between the two). This line of thinking does make sense: most commonly used cat foods should be better than ones that are not commonly bought, but are they? Or is popularity down to dollars companies have spent on advertising alone?
It’s frustrating, and hella annoying, and honestly the reason why I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say, “This is the best cat food period,” on this blog.
Why Is There No End-All-Be-All?
There are so many opinions out there, so many explanations that contradict each other, that I think it boils down to this:
We need more research done on the topic.
Because the only way we can get a definite answer – of what cats want and need in their diets to make them the healthiest they can be – is if science takes a front seat and does what it does best: research and find the correct answers to our questions.
It’s frustrating enough trying to get straight answers about human nutrition (Are we supposed to be cutting down on steaks? On sweets? On calories in general or something specific?); getting straight answers about feline nutrition is out of this ball game hard. When we’re making guesses like, “Maybe all kibble is terrible because it’s nothing like what cats eat in the wild,” “Maybe cats need no carbs in their diet,” and “Maybe if I just feed my cat raw meat all the time he or she will be really healthy” – it’s because science doesn’t yet have the answers for us that put all these questions to rest. And it would be absolutely lovely to have the answers to these questions, but I honestly don’t see that happening in the very near future.
Without Any Definitive Answers, What Can You Do?
So what can you do? Consult your vet. Ask him or her about their opinion with regards to cat food. They’ve dealt with a lot more healthy and sick pets than you have. Don’t assume they’re puppets for the pet food industry right off the bat, chances are they’re just as concerned about the pets that come through their clinics as you – and they certainly wouldn’t give advice to you that they believed would harm your pet. If you don’t like your vet, you think he or she doesn’t know what they’re talking about, get a new one. If you want to do your own research on the topic and find an answer you think is best, do that as well. Do what works best for you, but know that there isn’t an end all be all of “the best cat food” known to people yet because we haven’t done adequate scientific studies on cats and their diets. While it’d be lovely to know what’s best, we don’t yet.
Things seem to be one heck of a lot better than they were in the past. We have uncovered a lot of issues with pet food formulas in the past that have made pet food companies change their recipes. They are trying to give us what we want, I’d say – because if they weren’t, no one would be buying their food.
If we are all collectively very serious about our pets’ health as we have been, the future looks wonderful for store-bought pet food. Why? Because no one’s buying cat food they think is sub par or unhealthy for their pets. Giant corporations want to sell, and the amount of bad press they’d get for putting unhealthy pet food out there that makes cats sick would do untold damage.
Picture from post Feeding the Neighbourhood Cats I: Martha
How to Change the Future of Pet Food
What can you do to make the pet food industry a better place? Rate and review good and bad pet food on Amazon and other places online. Why? This helps pet owners who are desperately trying to find a good product to be able to make an informed decision, it helps hurt sales for pet foods that are making kitties sick, and it helps encourage the sale of good products so that worse pet food companies can then follow the trend of quality production in suit.
You can influence the pet food industry. You don’t have to take what’s given to you at face value. You want a line of cat products that fulfills the goals you want fulfilled (a kibble with high protein and very low carbs, a wet food that doesn’t have very much sugar added) complain until it gets done. Give those 1 star reviews where it’s fair, and those 5 star reviews where you see fit. You can influence the industry to be better, you really can.
Unfortunately, there’s no answer to the question of what the best cat food is right now. But while the cat food industry isn’t perfect, it’s better today than it was in decades past, and it will become better yet with our guidance. Keep up the passion you guys have for your pets’ health and don’t just let big businesses get away with selling sub-par products, and we can really make a huge difference in the future of pet food.