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When your cat gets sick, who do you turn to? You probably take your cat to the veterinarian because, after all, he is trained to deal with sick pets.
Though you trust your veterinarian to treat your cat when it’s sick, have you ever considered asking for nutritional advice? Your vet is an expert in pets in general but also has in-depth knowledge of your cat and might be able to provide some helpful advice.
In this article, we’ll talk about tips for feeding your cat a healthy diet and we’ll provide some insight into choosing the right vet-recommended diet for your cat. We’ll also show you our top 5 picks for the best vet-recommended cat food recipes.
Quick Links: The 5 Best Vet-Recommended Cat Food
- Best Overall: Hill’s Science Diet Cat Food
- Best Canned, Soft and Wet: Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Cat Food
- Best Affordable: Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets
- Best Dry Cat Food: Hill’s Prescription Diet Cat Food
- Best for Sensitive Stomach: Iams Proactive Health Cat Food
What To Look For In A Vet-recommended Cat Food?
Any cat food a veterinarian recommends to a patient is technically vet-recommended, but the term actually has a specific connotation. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has created nutrient profiles for pets as well as a survey of about 300 veterinarians to see what they look for in pet food.
Brands that are mentioned in this survey are vet-recommended, most of which are classified as prescription diets (foods formulated to treat a specific problem). Keeping in mind that a prescription diet isn’t always better than a non-prescription food, there are cases where you might consider it.
Here Are Some Important Things To Look For In A Vet-recommended Cat Food:
- High-quality, natural ingredients. Avoid any cat food that contains too many additives or chemical ingredients. The more natural the food is, the more digestible it will be.
- Rich in premium animal protein. Cats are obligate carnivores, so the majority of their nutrition should come from animal sources, not carbohydrates.
- No fillers or by-products. By-products and low-quality grains provide little to no nutritional value for your cat and have no place in a healthy diet, vet-recommended or not.
- Complete and balanced. If the product carries an AAFCO recommendation, it means that the product is formulated to meet your cat’s minimum requirements for balanced nutrition.
Now that you have a better idea what to look for in a cat food, it’s time to start shopping! Keep reading to see our top 5 picks for the best vet-recommended food for cats.
Here Are Our Top 5 Picks For The Best Vet-recommended Cat Food:
This line of cat foods does not require a prescription to purchase, but it is still recommended by veterinarians. It is designed to address common issues like hairballs, digestive upset, and sensitive stomach and all recipes are complete and balanced for cats. Hill’s Science Diet Cat Food comes in both dry food and wet food recipes, including variety packs of wet food to give your cat options.
The Veterinary Diet line of cat food from Royal Canin requires a prescription to purchase, or you can buy it directly from your veterinarian’s office. It comes in both dry food and wet food form – there are also some treats to choose from. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet recipes are formulated to address specific dietary concerns such as urinary or renal health.
While many vet-recommended brands only offer cat food, Purina Pro Plan includes a line of supplements as well as wet food and dry food products. This brand sells a wide variety of cat foods formulated for specific veterinary and dietary concerns, all with the vet-approved label. They are also complete and balanced according to AAFCO regulations.
In addition to their Science Diet line of products, Hill’s also offers a line of prescription cat foods. This line includes dry and wet food options as well as some treats. Each product is formulated to address a specific dietary or veterinary concern and these recipes do require veterinary authorization.
If you’re looking for a vet-approved cat food but you don’t want to bother with a prescription or pay a hefty price, Iams Proactive Health Cat Food could be a good solution. No prescription is necessary and these recipes are formulated to support various health issues such as hairballs, sensitive stomach, weight control, and indoor health.
Tips For Feeding Your Cat A Healthy Diet
Before buying a bag of cat food, make sure it carries the AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy – this means that it is complete and balanced for use as a daily diet. From there, you can choose the brand, formula, and main ingredients in your cat’s food. Keeping your cat’s preferences in mind, choose a recipe that is rich in protein with moderate fat and minimal carbohydrates.
Here Are Some Simple Tips For Feeding Your Cat A Healthy Diet:
- Choose a cat food formulated for your cat’s life stage (kitten, adult, or senior) to make sure it is properly balanced.
- Look for whole-food ingredients like real meat, fresh vegetables, and healthy fats.
- Check the feeding recommendations on the package to determine how much to feed your cat according to its age and weight.
- Try not to alter your cat’s diet too often – frequent or sudden changes can lead to digestive upset.
- Limit the number of treats you give your cat on a daily basis – treats should only make up about 10% of your cat’s daily diet.
All cats have the same basic nutritional requirements, but each cat is unique in its preferences. Once you choose a cat food for your cat, take the time to transition it slowly onto the new food to avoid upsetting its digestive system.
Should You Mix Wet and Dry Cat Food?
Dry cat food is typically more affordable than wet food when it comes to your cat’s staple diet and it also provides dental benefits to help keep its teeth clean.
On the other hand, wet food is higher in moisture which is beneficial for urinary health and it can support your cat’s metabolism and help it maintain a healthy bodyweight.
To ensure that your cat gets the benefits of both, consider feeding it a mixed diet of wet and dry food.
For general health, mix about 25% wet food with 75% dry food. If you’re concerned about your cat’s weight or its urinary health, increase the amount of wet food to 50/50 or even more to 70% wet food and 30% dry food.
For more information on The best wet cat foods on the market today, click here to read to the full guide
Another concern with feeding your cat dry food is that there is some risk for kidney problems as well as urinary tract blockage and inflammatory bowel disease.
In many cases, these problems can be avoided by boosting the moisture content of your cat’s diet. To do so, mix some wet food with your cat’s dry food or try moistening its wet food with water or broth.
When you ask your veterinarian for a recommendation on what to feed your cat, take the response as that – a recommendation. Though your veterinarian may know what’s medically best for your cat, you have a deeper understanding of your cat’s daily needs, so it is your responsibility to choose the best food to meet those needs. A vet-recommended diet may or may not be the best choice.
If you’re still not sure where to start in looking for a vet-recommended cat food recipe, try out one of the top 5 best options we’ve reviewed above. Best of luck to you!