It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that a healthy, well-fed cat will generally be happier and will live longer. Cats are unique creatures in that they are strict carnivores. Unlike dogs or humans, they cannot derive the essential nutrients and energy they need from plants or carbohydrates. This means that they need a diet that is very high in animal-based proteins. In the wild a cat would get most of its nutrients from the animals it hunted, and it would eat very few vegetables or grains. A complete and balanced diet for a cat should include plenty of fresh water and protein from meats, as well as moderate amounts of fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
…(cats) need a diet that is very high in animal-based proteins. In the wild a cat would get most of its nutrients from the animals it hunted, and it would eat very few vegetables or grains
It is very important to provide cats with the essential elements they need to function at optimal health. Water is extremely important for any animal to survive and cats are no different. Every cat should have access to clean, fresh water at all times. Proteins give cats the energy they need, and help to maintain healthy hearts and vision. Fats allow cats to absorb the vitamins they need to fight of disease. Carbohydrates can provide energy, but should only be present in small amounts. Additionally, vitamins and minerals are necessary components of a balanced diet, but they do not need to be present in large quantities.
Many commercial cat foods claim to be ‘complete and balanced’. A good way to check the validity of this claim is to look for a label that states that the food meets the requirements of the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). In general, a high-quality cat food should contain large amounts of animal protein, and only small amounts of fats and carbohydrates. In addition, the food should not use cheap fillers, preservatives, or artificial colors or flavors. It is also important to remember that a cat’s dietary needs will vary depending on the age, weight, activity level, and body condition of the cat. Many commercial cat food producers make different formulas for kittens, adult cats, overweight felines, and active cats.