Does a high price mean the commercial food is more nutritious than a lesser-priced brand?

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Not necessarily. A lower cost often means that the company just doesn’t have the money to market or advertise aggressively—and, alternatively, some very expensive brands are from very small companies that still do not have large enough margins to conduct thorough research and development. The best way is to read labels thoroughly; understanding your cat’s nutritional needs can help prevent health, skin and allergy problems.

First, know the daily caloric allotment: The rule is about 30 calories for every pound, so a seven pound cat should consume 270 calories per day. No more than 10 percent of those calories should be from snacks. Of course, you will adjust this up or down, based upon your cat’s activity level, age, gender and whether she’s spayed or neutered. Some suggest feeding far less, and a pregnant/lactating cat will need more.

Try to think about a mouse, as that was the cat’s ancestor’s primary food source. A mouse is around three percent carbohydrate, 40 percent protein and 50 percent fat. Domesticated felines shouldn’t eat mice, of course, but the nutrient profile is similar. Today’s cat’s food servings should include 20 to 30 percent of calories from meat, poultry or fish and 15 to 20 percent from fat.

• A named meat or fish, such as chicken, lamb or salmon as the primary source of protein. It should be the first ingredient listed, not wheat or grain and not a by-product.
• Taurine, an essential amino acid.
• Vitamins
• Minerals, especially calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium and sodium, essential fatty acids, essential amino acids.
• Amino Acids, the building blocks of protein. Taurine is also an essential amino acid, and she can’t manufacture that in her body, so it must come from diet.
• Fats, the most concentrated form of energy for your pet
• Antioxidants, fight disease and keep food from spoiling
• Fiber, for intestinal protection
• Carbohydrates. Cats can’t digest carbohydrates, so they aren’t really necessary. You might see fruits or vegetables listed to increase the nutrient content, and that’s fine.

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