How Do you Know your Cat Food is Worth the Money?

cat food

There is some debate about the price of cat food. Some people consider it highly affordable and some consider it overpriced. Other people, me included, never even think about it. It’s just not something that crosses my radar, even though I’m a cat owner. Many cat owners live by the motto that all cat food is cat food and they buy what they’ve always purchased. Some buy the cheapest food they can find. Some buy the most expensive food they can find. Others buy what their vet told them to buy or what their cat was eating when they adopted it/bought it/rescued it. There are many reasons cat owners choose the food their cats specifically eat, and as long as your cat is healthy and taken care of; we don’t care what you choose.

However, many people are concerned with whether or not the food they’re purchasing for their cats is worth the money. Whether it’s cheap or expensive, many cat owners question whether or not what they are getting is actually worth the price. So with that in mind, we have brought forth a few ways you can tell if what you are buying is worth the money, not worth the money or worth looking somewhere else for a different brand or type of food.

Price is Not Always Indicative of Quality

Sometimes the cheapest foods are the best (Ramen noodles when you are craving salt, anyone?) and sometimes the most expensive food is the worst. It all just depends on taste, expectation and what you’re getting versus what you are paying for. The first thing you have to understand about cat food is the fact that you cannot base the food solely on the price. Just because it’s expensive does not mean that it has the most nutrients for your cat, and just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s beneath your cat.

Does the Food Have the Right Nutrients?

According to PetMD, there should be several key ingredients in the food that you’re providing you’re your cat. These ingredients might include everything from vitamins, fatty acids, minerals and energy and water. You’ll need to do your due diligence and read through the ingredients to see what your cat’s food includes and what it leaves out. If it has the vast majority of these things and it’s a decent price, it’s worth the money. However, if you’re buying an expensive type of food that has very few of these key ingredients, stop buying it. The same goes for cheap food void of the majority of these ingredients. Skip anything and everything that does not include all you need – no matter how much it costs.

Check for Feeding Trials

Most people are against the idea of trials that involve animals, but feeding trials are not the worst ones by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, according to the Friendship Hospital for Animals, these trials are designed to ensure food is as nutritious and healthy as possible for your cat. When a food is testing in a trial, a cat is given the food on a strict diet to monitor its health and what it’s getting from the food. If it’s found the food is not providing enough nutrition for the cat, it is not sold on the market and it is tweaked until it does. Some cat food manufacturers do these trials and others do not. Your best bet is to choose a food that is using a trial like this because then you know that the nutrition your cat is deriving from the food is the best possible type of nutrition.

Look for Formulated Foods

If your cat’s food has been formulated, you can pretty much rest assured that what you’re getting is good stuff. This is not a simple process, and it often involves as many as 50 different ingredients being tested, formulated and tweaked to work to make food as healthy as possible by scientists, vets and nutritionists. When a cat food is considered a formulated cat food, it’s as healthy as you’re going to get. If you can find a formulated food that’s affordable, go for it. If you can’t find one that’s affordable, you’re not required to buy this kind of food. It’s just a very simple way to ensure that what you’re buying is actually worth the money you are paying to feed your cat.

The Food Works With your Cat’s Diet

Not all cat foods are created equal and not all cat foods are meant to work for all cats. For example, some cats need a special diet that might entail spending more on a food than you’d like. Depending on the overall health and age of a cat, you’d have to worry that your vet might tell you that your cat requires certain dietary needs, has to avoid certain ingredients and so on and so forth. Some cats have to have a certain balance of foods that are meant to keep it as healthy as possible, especially if the cat has health problems already. At this point, there is nothing as frustrating as being made to decide what you want to do for your cat.

Talk to Your Vet

At the end of the day, you have to talk to your vet about what is best for your cat. Your vet is familiar with the health history of your cat and he or she is well aware of the fact that your cat might need certain key ingredients in its life. Your vet knows what will help your cat and what might not. If you’re not sure you are feeding your cat the right food, or you’re not certain the food you’re feeding your cat is worth the money you are spending on it, ask your vet what he or she thinks. Oftentimes your vet will be able to confirm that you’re buying food that’s worth it. Otherwise he or she might be able to recommend something else that’s more affordable, more nutritious or more on the level of what you and your cat both need.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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