You are what you eat! That phrase holds true to our furry little feline friends. One way to nurture happy and healthy kitties is by providing our cats with quality cat food.

With so many options on the market, which types of cat food should you pick?

A cat sticking its tongue out. Photo by Tran Mau Tri Tam ✪ on Unsplash

Types of Cat Food

There many different choices out there and places to purchase them, from online pet stores, to brick and mortar pet shops, or even your local supermarket. So how does a new pet parent know where to start?

A cat owner looks at pile of different types of cat food cans and packages. He shrugs his shoulders.

Dry Food

  • This is kibble and is a popular choice

  • It's crunchy, which helps with plaque

  • Convenient and easy to store in an air-tight container

  • Cost-effective

Wet Food

  • Keeps cats hydrated

  • Savory smells and meaty texture

  • Costs more than kibble

  • Once opened, it can go rancid if not refrigerated

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Canned or semi-moist food is great for the fussy, finicky cat that needs variety.

Limited Ingredients

Some food choices have fewer ingredients. They're great for cats with allergies.

A person feeding a cat from a plate with a spoon.

Look for ingredients that have:

  • A protein source like duck, chicken, beef, or fish

  • A carbohydrate source such as peas or potatoes

  • Supplements such as vitamins and minerals

  • Fats to ensure your cat gets balanced nutrition

Raw Diets

It's exactly what it sounds like!

A cartoon cat hunting a mouse in a yard.

Raw Cat Foods

  • Made with organ meat and bones

  • Improve digestion

  • Fight obesity

  • Improve the condition of a cat’s skin and coat

  • Have prices that compare to canned wet foods

Basic Nutritional Needs for Cats in All Stages of Life

Cats are "true carnivores", meaning they eat meat. Be sure to give them:


This is a must for your feline friend. Look for labels that say the type of protein in the food and avoid ones that say "by-product" or "meal".

Amino Acids & Fatty Acids

For healthy bones, muscles, blood, organs, skins, and coats, look for foods that contain leucine and lysine. Taurine helps aid in your kitty's digestion.


Make sure that their food has the right mix of vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates.

Life Stages and Diet

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  • Cat food supports their growth

  • Include single source high protein, fat, and folic acid

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  • Need less protein and fat

  • Practice portion control and timed feeding

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  • Need foods that are lower in protein and fat

  • Ensure good amounts of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients

Cat Food Labeling

Look at the label! Cat foods with the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)seal meet a vigorous set of standards worthy for your feline companion.

Cat eating a snack voraciously

The labels also include things like ingredients and directions. And while your hungry kitty may not agree with the recommended serving size, the last thing you want is a chonky cat.

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Key Words on Labels

  • Look for the actual type of protein like chicken, beef, snapper, quail, etc.

  • Check for healthy grains like quinoa, brown rice, or farro

  • Consider brands that have vitamin E and C


Oscar just adopted a new kitten. He doesn't know what food to get for "Mittens". He should pick food with which ingredient first?

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