- Myth: Dry food is the best food for cats. Once considered the panacea for feline nutrition, new evidence shows dry foods may be a source of chronic health issues. Urinary, arthritis, kidney, diabetes, and even dental problems are just a few of the diseases now being associated with dry food diets. Quality canned foods and especially well-balanced fresh foods mimic more of a natural diet.
- Myth: Dry food is important for cleaning teeth. Cat’s teeth are designed for tearing and shredding, not grinding. In fact, because of the size and texture, most dry foods are swallowed whole with minimal chewing. Plus chewing of high carbohydrate foods produces a starchy film that can adhere to teeth creating a rich environment for dental damaging bacteria.
- Myth: Canned food is junk food. Premium canned foods offer higher meat protein levels, less carbohydrates, proper moisture levels for your domestic carnivore, and less highly-processed ingredients.
- Myth: Premium foods are just higher priced foods. The old adage - you get what you pay for, is never truer than with pet foods. Quality manufacturers go to great lengths to source better ingredients, cook at low temperature to preserve valuable nutrients, and use specially designed packaging to preserve freshness.
- Myth: Do not mix or change cat foods. In the wild your feline predator will hunt for a range of entrees from mice to bugs. So, why do we presume that switching foods is detrimental? In reality, variety may prevent over-supplementation, nutritional imbalances, and the development of food sensitivities. Slow introductions of a variety of foods will encourage better digestion and a healthier immune system.
- Myth: Organic foods make superior diets. While organic and free-range meats are superior protein sources, they are often not the primary ingredients in organic pet foods, particularly dry and some canned versions. Understanding your cat’s nutritional needs AND how to read labels will help you offer your cat the best foods.
- Myth: Diet foods offer better weight management. Additional fiber and ingredients with empty calories are the main components added to make lite foods for pets. Adding to the already heavy burden of excessive carbohydrates, it is no wonder these diets are being looked at for contributing to more weight gain, skin and coat disorders, and food intolerences. A water-rich, meat-based, low carbohydrate diet-canned or raw or homemade cooked, NOT a dry food, balanced for your cat’s activity needs, will help your cat on its way to being sleek and agile.
- Myth: People food is harmful to cats and dogs. Actually, well-balanced home-prepared diets using fresh organic ingredients you source yourself are the best available-offering you control over recipes, supplementation, and processing.
- Myth: Raw foods have the highest risk of bacterial contamination. As a predator, your cat evolved with a digestive tract that is short, acidic, and hostile to bacteria-designed to process and eliminate food quickly, not allowing much time for bacteria to multiply. While caution should to be taken with cats with weakened immune systems, precautions in place by leading manufacturers of raw diet pet foods offer safety and peace of mind.
- Myth: Food must be left out so your cat won’t go hungry. Leaving dry food out is for our convenience. Unless there is a specific health issue, your cat should eat on a schedule of 2-3 meals a day to help with complete and proper digestion. A couple of snacks aren’t out of question, but remember that’s a few pieces . . . not a bowlful. Remember all dry foods are sprayed with flavorings to addict your cat. The more your cat eats, the more it wants, preventing your cat from being interested in any other foods.
There are a good many myths that have grown up around the best ways to feed cats. Here are ten of the most common.
Founder, President, and PetSage guiding light Terri Grow offers her insights and wisdom on pet care.