What quality proteins should be listed up high in a commercial cat food label?

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The first ingredient on the cat food label should be a named meat source, such as chicken, beef, lamb or a fish. It should not be a grain, gluten or any other plant-based food.

It’s important to know that not all protein is the same. While plant-based foods do contain protein, it’s just not good enough for the cat, because cats do not have the enzymes needed to digest carbohydrates (of which plants, grains and gluten are.)

Furthermore, everything nutritionally revolves around the cat’s need for taurine to survive; a deficiency can result in immune, heart, eye and neurological problems. Taurine is an essential amino acid, which cannot be manufactured the cat’s body. It is only found in meat and fish.
Twenty-five to 30 percent of the cat’s daily calories should come from meat. (Daily caloric allotment is about 30 calories for every pound.) A diet rich in animal proteins increase a cat’s energy levels, improves the texture and quality of its coat and helps prevent constipation and diabetes; in fact, vets sometimes recommend a high-protein low-carbohydrate wet food diet for cats suffering from diabetes, because proteins help stabilize blood sugar
This diet also resembles more closely the meals of cats who live in the wild. Canned food contains more animal protein than dried food; the latter has a higher carbohydrate content because it usually contains grains. Cats in the wild naturally consume a high-moisture meat-based diet, like mice, birds or some other prey; in fact, that’s where they get most of their water.

NOTE: If your cat has been diagnosed with kidney problems she may be prescribed a low-protein diet because too much protein can put added stress on the kidneys. Such cats might be placed on a dry food diet with a higher content of grains, fruit and vegetables.

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