After speaking with Swee Ling yesterday, I figured that most feeders without cats at home probably have no idea what exactly they are feeding their cats beyond the fact that they are feeding some store bought brand of cat food.
The issue is obviously whether the food being fed is good for the cats and also whether the more expensive food is worth it’s price tag.
I checked around online and found this pretty informative post.
For those of you who aren’t exactly inclined to trawl though the information on that page, it essentially discusses the various ingredients in cat food and the bottom line is that cats are carnivores and as such, can only metabolize meat proteins and fats. Carbohydrates in cat food provide absolutely no nutritional value to them and are used as fillers more than anything else.
As with all food labels, the ingredients listed on the package of cat foods are in order of highest concentration to lowest concentration. Therefore, meat or meat meal should be the main ingredients of any good quality cat food while cereal grains should be minimized.
The caveat however is that the ambiguous terms; animal by-products, meat, animal fats and the like are potentially meat products from dubious sources such as dead or diseased animals.
Unfortunately the cats we are feeding are generally strays and as such, cost and storage are major considerations when choosing cat food unlike house cats which I believe most people would be willing to spend quite a bit more on. Even with all the issues with cats being chronically dehydrated when fed with kibbles, the ease of storage and the relatively lower cost make these the food of choice. Feeders should therefore be careful to ensure that the cats be provided with a constant source of fresh and clean water.
We are currently feeding our cats over at Science with Royal Canin Fit 32 which is a pretty good quality food and a reasonable price. Unfortunately there seems to be some discrepancy between the ingredients advertised on their official website and those listed on the packaging and as such, I have emailed them directly to check which list is correct.