Nov. 14, 2012 at 11:58 AM ET
By Kara Reinhardt, Cheapism.com
The way cat food companies advertise their products -- using words such as “succulent” and close-up shots of meaty chunks -- you’d never guess the audience isn’t meant to eat them. It’s a testament to how much cat owners adore and identify with their pets that they have such high standards for what goes in that cat dish every day. Still, pet food doesn’t need to sound like something off of a restaurant menu (salmon and brown rice entrée, anyone?) to satisfy your cat and provide necessary nutrients.
Below are Cheapism’s top picks for affordable cat food.
The wet vs. dry debate turns on several factors, not the least of which are the preferences of notoriously picky kitties. The ideal cat food mimics what a cat would eat in the wild, with high levels of animal protein, few carbohydrates, and plenty of moisture. Commercially available wet cat food comes closest, with less filler and more protein (pound for dry pound) than dry cat food and also more water. All cats should have access to fresh water, but consumers who serve dry cat food must take extra care to provide their pets enough water to prevent health problems such as urinary tract infections and kidney disease. On the other hand, dry food is generally cheaper, less messy and odorous, and can sit in a dish all day without spoiling.
All cat food, whether wet or dry, is subject to labeling regulations enforced by the FDA and the states. Ingredients must be listed in order of weight, for example, so consumers can look for meat at the top to ensure adequate nutrition.
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