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Understanding your cat’s nutritional needs

Molly Cerreta Smith loves writing about all things mommy, parenting, food, health and travel. When she's not staring into the face of her Mac, she loves to hike, read, do messy crafts with her kids and compete in BBQ competitions with he...

Feed your cat right

Your cat has nutritional needs much like you do. And feeding your cat properly is one of the most important things you can do to keep your feline healthy. SheKnows explores the important things to look for when it comes to your cat's nutritional needs.

cat stretched out on back

Start your cat's health off right

When you first become a cat owner, take your cat for a well visit to the vet to see if your new pet has any special needs that you need to be aware of when it comes to his nutrition. You should select a high-quality food, regardless of your cat's specific needs.

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"Complete and balanced" cat food

Because government agencies regulate what can be included on pet food labels, foods with the words "complete" and "balanced" should be high-quality and healthy options for your cat. Bottom line is that your cat's food should provide him with a variety of essential vitamins and nutrients -- all in one food.

Animal proteins

Animal proteins are incredibly important for a cat's nutrition. Make sure that the cat food you are purchasing has animal proteins listed as the first ingredient. Look for a cat food, such as Meow Mix Tender Centers, that combines multiple animal proteins (such as meat and fish) in one complete dry food.

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Life stages

Cat food is created for each stage of your cat's life (kitten, adult cat or senior). When shopping for your cat's food, make sure the type you buy coincides with your cat's age.

Fine-quality manufacturer

Your cat's health is not something to gamble with. So when it comes to his nutrition, make sure you are providing him with the best. Look for a reputable, high-quality manufacturer. In addition, look for the company's contact information on the package to ensure you can get in touch with the company if you have any questions about the product.

AAFCO statement

The cat food you buy should include a statement from the American Association of Feed Control Officers (AAFCO) about the product. The statement should read something like: "XYZ cat food is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Cat Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages."

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Dry versus wet

It doesn't really matter which kind of cat food you buy as long as the aforementioned qualities are included in either kind. The choice is really up to your cat's preference.

More on your cat's health

Pet-friendly family recipes
5 Tips to help prevent cat hairballs
How to fight cat allergies

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