What Type of Food to Feed Your Cat

Choosing the best food for your cat can be quite a challenge, given the diverse range of brands available.

But ensuring your cat has a balanced, healthy diet is absolutely essential for her physical well-being.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a guide that looks at some of the most important ingredients you should look out for when purchasing cat food off the shelf.

We’ll also highlight some of the human foods considered healthy for cat, as well as those that should be avoided.

So let’s begin!

Kittens Feeding

Important Cat Food Ingredients

All cat food labels include information about its ingredients.

Information should also be provided about the amount of fat and protein, as well as the calories per serving.


The first good ingredient in dry and wet cat food is protein.

This provides cats with the amino acids they need to grow and maintain muscle mass.

Look for specific named proteins such as chicken, lamb, salmon or turkey.

Named Fats

Named fats are also extremely important because they help cats to absorb essential vitamins and minerals, provide energy and support cell function.

Additionally, fatty acids such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids contribute to healthy skin and fur.


Fiber is essential in feline nutrition helping to maintain gut health, assisting with digestion and aiding in weight regulation. It also helps with bowel regularity


Taurine is critical for a cat’s wellbeing, supporting heart health, vision and reproduction.

Cats cannot produce enough taurine naturally, so it must be included in their diet.

A lack of taurine can lead to serious health issues.

Good Ingredients in Cat Food – Summary

  • Named Proteins
  • Named Fats
  • Fiber
  • Taurine

Unhealthy Cat Food Ingredients

There are also plenty of cat food ingredients that should be well avoided.

Red Dye and Artificial Colourings

Red dye in cat food isn’t beneficial and could potentially cause health issues.

Some cats may have allergic reactions to artificial colors, resulting in skin irritations or digestive problems.

Moreover, artificial colors offer no nutritional value and are thus best avoided in a cat’s diet.

Gluten, Corn Syrup

Gluten and corn syrup aren’t typically necessary in a cat’s diet.

Gluten, a protein found in certain grains, can cause digestive issues in some cats.

Corn syrup, a form of sugar, can contribute to unhealthy weight gain and diabetes if consumed excessively.

Both should be limited for a healthier feline diet.

Animal Fat Preservatives

Preservatives in animal fats in cat food can be a major cause for concern.
While they extend shelf life, some of them, including BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin, have raised health concerns.
They’ve been linked to allergic reactions, organ damage, cancer and behavioral problems.
While the risk is considered low, many pet owners prefer to avoid them when possible.
Ideally, cat food should contain natural preservatives or none at all for the healthiest dietary option.


Other potential nasties include Carrageenan – this is also used in cat food for its thickening properties.

Although considered safe, certain studies indicate that carrageenan causes digestive problems as well as cancer.

As a result, you may want to avoid foods containing it.

Meat By-Products

Meat by-products in cat food are parts of an animal not typically consumed by humans, like organs and bones.

While they can provide necessary nutrients, their quality can vary widely.

Some might contain nutritious organ meats, but others may have low-quality parts with less nutritional value.

Consequently, some pet owners prefer foods with specified meat sources.

Unhealthy Ingredients – Summary

  • Artificial Colourings
  • Corn Gluten
  • Corn Syrup
  • Animal Fat Preservatives
  • Carrageenan
  • Meat By-Products

Dry Cat Food

Is Wet Food Better Than Dry Food for Cats?

Cat owners are often unsure whether they should be feeding their cat wet or dry food.

It should be kept in mind that most good commercial brands, whether dry or wet, provide a great source of nutrition.

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Pros and Cons of Wet Cat Food

Wet cat food is often high in animal-based protein which aligns perfectly with a cat’s dietary needs as an obligate carnivore.

It also has a high moisture content that helps keep your cat hydrated, thereby promoting urinary tract health.

Many cats also find wet food more palatable – this is a big deal for our feline friends who can be very picky eaters.

There are course downsides. For instance, wet cat food is often more expensive.

It also spoils quickly if not consumed which means that it’s not suitable for free feeding.

Be sure to choose a high-quality product, preferable one that’s vet or FDA approved.

Pros and Cons of Dry Cat Food

Dry cat food, a common choice for many cat owners, certainly has its benefits.

It’s often more economical and convenient, with a longer shelf-life than wet food.

So it can be left out for ‘free feeding’ without spoiling. Additionally, the crunchy texture of dry kibble helps reduce plaque build-up on your cat’s teeth.

But it isn’t without certain shortcomings. For example, dry cat food tends to contain a higher concentration of carbohydrates.

Kibble is low in moisture too, which can potentially lead to dehydration or urinary tract issues.

Some dry cat foods also contain artificial preservatives, colors or fillers.

Therefore, dry food should be balanced with others types of food.

What Human Foods Can Cats Eat?

As we’ve seen, cats require a diet that consists of protein, fats and water. So they can eat some human foods.

Bear in mind though that they really shouldn’t be the main part of your pet’s diet.

Here are some of the human foods that are safe to give cats.

Brown Rice

Brown rice is often seen as a more nutritious choice for felines, as it offers a higher nutrient and protein content.

With fewer carbohydrates and calories, brown rice also poses a lower risk of contributing to weight issues in cats.

Cat Sniffing Currants


Berries contain antioxidants which can help with urinary tract infections.

They’re also a great source of Vitamin C which is really important for ensuring a strong immune system.


Carrots are rich in Vitamin A as well as beta-carotene – a nutrient that cat’s can’t convert into Vitamin A.

So it’s really important that they get this essential nutrient from a high-quality source. This is where carrots come in!


Cheese provides your cat with calcium for strong bones, phosphorus to keep his heart healthy and protein!

However, it should be given to cats in very small amounts because felines are known to have a dairy intolerance.

Cooked Eggs

Cooked eggs are full of protein as well as other essential nutrients such as Vitamin A and B12.

They also contain essential amino acids and contain choline which is important for brain and liver function.

The egg white contains plenty of protein and will help keep your cat’s muscles strong.


A protein-centric diet is essential for cats, and fish stands out as an excellent source.

Incorporating fish into your feline’s meals guarantees a sufficient supply of necessary proteins, minerals and vitamins.


Cats love fruit and it’s a great addition to their diet because it provides them with much-needed vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Lean Meat

Lean meats, such as poultry or rabbit, are a fantastic addition to a cat’s nutritional plan.

They deliver plenty of protein, while being relatively low in fat, helping to maintain your cat’s muscle mass and overall health without adding unnecessary calories.


Melons offer several benefits for cats. Their high water content helps to prevent dehydration and they’re also packed with antioxidants that combat harmful free radicals.

Plus, the fiber content supports efficient digestion.


Salmon is am excellent inclusion in a feline’s diet due to its high-quality protein and abundant omega-3 fatty acids.

These nutrients support muscle growth and brain function, contributing to a healthy coat and skin.

However, it should be served cooked and deboned – raw salmon and small bones can pose health risks.


Spinach is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron and calcium.

These nutrients support immune function, bone health, and overall wellbeing.

However, the excess consumption of spinach can cause urinary issues in cats, so it should be served sparingly.


Oatmeal is a healthy and nutritious food for cats, containing magnesium, potassium and iron.

To make it more palatable, it can be mixed with other ingredients.


Pumpkin is high in fiber, thus helping with digestion and alleviating constipation.

It’s also full of vitamins and antioxidants to support overall health.

But it should be served cooked, unseasoned and always in moderation.

Cat with Eggs

What Human Foods Are Toxic to Cats?

There are also numerous human foods that you should never feed to cats.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of items that should be avoided.


Avocado should be avoided in a cat’s diet. While it contains healthy fats for humans, it can be toxic to cats, causing vomiting and diarrhea.

The high fat content can also lead to pancreatitis.


Chocolate is toxic to cats due to an ingredient called theobromine.

Poisonous to felines, theobromine may give rise to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and seizures.

Dairy Products

Most cats are lactose intolerant and lack the enzymes necessary to break down milk sugars.

Digestive issues such as diarrhea and stomach upset often result from consumption.

Although some cats can tolerate small amounts of dairy, like cheese, you should monitor your cat’s reaction after feeding.


Onions are toxic to cats due to certain compounds that can damage to feline red blood cells.

Ingestion of onions can lead to anemia, lethargy and other related symptoms.

So avoid at all costs!

Raw Eggs

In most cases, raw eggs are safe for cats to ingest.

With that said, if the egg comes from a chicken that was fed antibiotics or other drugs, there’s a risk of a salmonella infection.

What Should I Feed My Cat? – Professional Advice

Useful Links

CDC – Pet Food Safety
FDA – Regulation of Pet Food
PetMD – Foods Your Cat Should Never Eat

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