Wet food, which includes industrial products that are found under the terms cat food, mousse, bite, or freshness bag, is the most complete type of food and best suited to the digestive system of cats. By its composition, wet food indeed has great similarities with the prey that cats eat in the wild: it is rich in water (between 70 and 80%), rich in meat, and low in carbohydrates.
However, as often with industrial products, not all brands are created equal! Some wet foods are deficient in omega 3, others are too rich in carbohydrates or minerals, and many manufacturers are replacing meat with vegetable proteins to lower their cost. To choose premium quality wet food, there are not 36 solutions: you have to refer to the labels to analyze the components.
💡 Cat food: how to decipher the labels?
The first thing to know is that the ingredients are listed in order of importance of quantity in the product. For example, if the first ingredient listed on a can of cat food is corn, as often happens with low-end wet food, then you know that the product is mostly grain (which is not good). thing, as we will see below).
A GOOD CAT FOOD SHOULD MOSTLY CONTAIN QUALITY MEAT (NO BY-PRODUCTS), AND FEW VEGETABLES OR CEREALS.
What nutrients do we need to find in wet cat food for a complete and balanced diet?
Proteins: The cat is what is called a hypercarnivore (or strict carnivore). Its metabolism is suitable for a diet rich in protein: the recommended rates are generally around 10-15%. But above all, it is important that these proteins are of animal origin and not of vegetable origin. On the one hand, animal proteins are more digestible for the cat, and on the other hand, your adored hairball is not able to synthesize certain amino acids which are however vital to it, and which are only found in meat. This is the case, among others, of taurine, which is necessary for the proper functioning of the eyes and the heart. As the ingredients are listed in order of importance in the food, it is therefore important that the meat is in 1st place. Generally, Be very wary of descriptions like “meat by-products” or the presence of obscure terms such as “animal meal” or “protein hydrolysates”. This is a roundabout way of not admitting that these are leftovers unfit for human consumption (bones, cartilage, etc.) that are discreetly returned to pets. If you have any doubts about the origin of the meat, go your way! After all, there are more than enough manufacturers to find quality, transparent food. If you have any doubts about the origin of the meat, go your way! After all, there are more than enough manufacturers to find quality, transparent food. If you have any doubts about the origin of the meat, go your way! After all, there are more than enough manufacturers to find quality, transparent food.
Fat : Lipids provide the cat with essential fatty acids (EFAs), such as Omega 3 and 6, and promote the absorption of vitamins. These EFAs have many benefits, whether aesthetic (shiny coat) or medical (reduction of heart problems, limitation of renal insufficiency, etc.). However, do not go overboard with fat: in case of excess, your pet’s little tummy may rub the floor! Bet on a rate around 5-6%.
Crude ash: these are the minerals found in food. The crude ash content is determined by heating the cat food to 550 ° to burn the organic components. The remaining residues are mainly minerals, including calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. As often, everything is a matter of dosage: not enough minerals, and your cat is exposed to deficiencies which can, for example, disrupt its growth. Too many minerals and your cat is at risk of developing kidney and / or urinary problems as they get older. The crude ash content should not exceed 2.5%.
Crude fibers: these are plant elements that the cat cannot digest, but whose main use is to stimulate transit. To put it simply: more fiber, more stool! As with proteins, the quality of these fibers is quite variable, but controlling their origin is much more difficult. Aim for less than 1%.
Carbohydrates: in the wild, cats consume very little carbohydrate, because the preys they eat do not contain much (less than 3% of their dry matter, or less than 1% of their total composition) . Cat food generally contains higher amounts of carbohydrates, as they are provided by certain components such as corn or potato which are used as low cost protein sources. The problem is that the cat’s metabolism does not allow it to assimilate too large amounts of carbohydrates. A cat that consumes too much sugar will have abnormally high blood sugar levels, which over time can lead to overweight or even obesity. To avoid this, it is best to eat wet food with the lowest possible carbohydrate rate. Unfortunately, this rate is only rarely indicated on the labels. You will therefore have to calculate it yourself, using the following formula:
Carbohydrates = 100 – Proteins – Fat – Crude ash – Crude fiber – Moisture .
In the fairly frequent case where the humidity level is not indicated, calculate with the average rate: 75%.
Wet, dry, or both?
For a long time, dry cat food has been recommended and favored for a variety of (good) reasons. First of all, it is an economical food and relatively balanced from a nutritional point of view. Then, since they are dehydrated, the kibble has a relatively long shelf life, even after opening the package. They have the advantage of keeping their flavor even when they have been served for several hours! It is therefore possible to leave the cat its self-service kibble from morning until evening (ideally in an anti-glutton bowl.). Keep in mind that the cat is a “nibbler” who makes around fifteen small meals a day: his food will therefore stay in his bowl for a long time. Finally, the consumption of croquettes promotes the dental hygiene of the cat, the fact of chewing in a solid food allowing a mechanical cleaning of the teeth.
What’s the problem, then? Well, since kibble is only 7-10% water, it makes your pet prone to dehydration if they don’t drink enough on it. And unfortunately, cats are animals that have little sense of thirst. So it’s likely that your cat will be at least mildly dehydrated if he’s only fed dry food, especially if he doesn’t have a cat water cooler . However, a chronically dehydrated cat is exposed to health problems that can become serious if nothing is done to change the situation.
By integrating wet food into the meals of your beloved animal, you are sure to increase your water intake, because this type of food contains a lot of it (between 70 and 80%.) Thus, you limit the risk of occurrence cystitis, crystal formation or stones. This is why, nowadays, veterinarians tend to recommend binutrition, that is to say a mixture between kibble and cat food.
Wet food: how much?
At this stage of reading this article, you are probably convinced of the value of giving your pet wet food, and you have everything you need to choose the best possible cat food. Now you might be asking yourself the following question: How much food should I give my cat each day? Well, be aware that, as a general rule, the daily requirement for a cat who would eat only wet food is considered to be around 50 grams per pound. If your cat weighs 4 kilos, you should therefore give him 200 grams of mash or other sachet of freshness per day. Of course, this calculation should be refined according to various parameters such as the age of the animal and its condition: growing kitten, sterilized or overweight cat, pregnant or lactating cat, etc. You should also take into account the energy density of wet food, which can vary from brand to brand.
At equivalent weight, a kibble is about 3 times more calories than wet food: 100 grams of wet food is equivalent to 30 grams of kibble. If you want to mix the two types of food, a solution more and more recommended, you just need to calculate the quantities needed for your cat on this basis. For example, you can give your 4 kg cat an 85 gram sachet of freshness and about 40 grams of dry food. You can refer to other types of Dry cat food here: Thefarmstore
However, cats are naturally able to regulate their food intake to their needs. You can therefore simplify your life and just give your pet a portion of wet food in the morning and / or evening, and leave him self-service kibble at the same time. But if by chance you find that your cat is a little too gluttonous and that he is gaining weight, you will then have to control his daily amount of food.