Choosing a Properly Balanced Food for Your Cat

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Cat Food Ingredients Provide Essential Nutrients

While yes, the ingredient list for cat food is important, just as vital are the nutrients provided by these ingredients. “All animals need water, energy — from protein, fat, or carbohydrates — essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals,” says Tony Buffington, DVM, PhD, and Professor of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center. “The nutrient needs of cats are met by nutritionists and food scientists employed by companies that make cat foods.”

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Dr. Buffington goes on to explain that animals have nutrient — not ingredient — requirements. As long as all nutrients are present in appropriate amounts for ,your cat — in proper balance, and available for absorption in sufficient quantities (which can’t be determined from reading the label) — he believes that the nutrient source is irrelevant to the health of the cat.

Take protein, for example. Cats need protein in their diet to meet their requirements for essential amino acids and the amino acid requirement for cats is higher than for dogs. However, once those requirements are met, additional protein beyond what the cat can use for energy is excreted. A cat’s energy requirements can also be met by carbohydrates and has the added benefit of controlling excessive levels of minerals or other nutrients which are not optimal for a cat’s health.

Discover the differences biology-based nutrition with Hill's Science Diet cat food can make.

For the complete article on Pet Food Ingredients: How to Strike the Right Balance for Your Pet, visit petMD.