The Best Food for the Best Cat
Brought to you by petMD in partnership with Hill’s® Science Diet Ideal Balance®
When petMD and Hill’s Science Diet partnered last year to develop MyBowl for dogs, one of the first questions we were asked was “What about cats?” Well, we listened, and here it is, a new way to learn more about your cat's food – MyBowl for Cats.
People understand the important role that good nutrition plays in their own lives. The same holds true for cats, but an information gap has prevented many owners from doing what is best for their pets. Numerous guides and tools are available to teach us about human nutrition, but nothing similar existed for cats.
In developing MyBowl, our goal is to teach owners what they might not know about feeding their pets. In particular, we want to highlight the important role that balanced nutrition plays in health maintenance. Our hope is that by using the MyBowl tool, cat owners will learn how specific amounts and types of proteins, carbohydrates, fiber, fats, oils, vitamins, and minerals all combine to promote good health.
Important Nutrients in Cat Food
MyBowl is interactive. As you roll your mouse over the various sections of the cat food bowl, important information about feline nutrition is highlighted on the panel to the right. Let’s take a quick tour.
Cats use animal-based sources of protein to provide them with the 11 essential amino acids they cannot make themselves but need to stay healthy. These proteins provide the building blocks for strong muscles and are essential for your cat's growth, maintenance, and energy. If a cat has kidney disease too much protein in the diet can worsen the condition. Protein should make up about one-third of a cat’s diet.
Carbohydrates give cats energy to play and pounce. Healthy carbohydrates, including whole grains and potatoes, also contain nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, phytonutrients and fiber to maintain digestive health and help regulate weight.
The most concentrated sources of energy in a cat’s food are the fats and oils. Too much can lead to obesity, but appropriate amounts and a balanced ratio of different types provide important benefits like immune system support, control of inflammation, proper brain and eye development, and a healthy skin and coat.
The sections of the bowl that represent vitamins and minerals are quite small, but these ingredients are critical nonetheless. Vitamins and minerals play vital roles in tissue growth and maintenance; the immune system cannot function normally without them. Fruits, vegetables, grains and meats are all natural food sources of vitamins and minerals and provide the precise balance that is necessary for good health.
Last but not least, a fresh bowl of water sits next to the food to help us remember the importance of this often neglected nutrient. Cats are at risk for urinary tract disease if they become dehydrated, so keep a bowl of clean water available at all times.
Put It Together
Now that you know the important role that each nutrient category plays in promoting good feline health you can use that information to look at and compare cat food labels. A food made from high-quality ingredients combined in just the right proportions is an ideal choice to help cats lead long and healthy lives.