Understanding Common Ingredients and Nutrients in Cat Food
Understanding Common Ingredients and Nutrients in Cat Food

adp_description_block201
Understanding Common Ingredients and Nutrients in Cat Food

Do you know what’s in your cat’s food? And more importantly, do you know how those nutrients affect your cat’s health, including their muscles, skin, coat and nails, digestion, bone growth and so much more?
 

As the old adage goes, “You are what you eat,” so it stands to reason that by feeding your cat high-quality ingredients, their overall health will be positively impacted.
 

So, what’s in your cat’s food? Simply put, cat food nutrients are divided into four subcategories: protein, carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins and minerals. Learn more about each of these — and how they can affect your cat’s health.

 

 

Protein in Cat Food

Protein is best known for supplying amino acids, or protein subunits, to build hair, skin, nails, muscles, tendons, ligaments and cartilage.
 

Common cat food protein sources include meat, chicken, fish and some plant ingredients like corn gluten and soybean meal.
 

Cats and kittens are true carnivores and need essential amino acids. One of these, taurine, is not found in plant protein sources such as soybean meal — which means your cat needs a protein source from meat to stay healthy.
 

Nutrition tip: Feed your cat IAMS™ PROACTIVE HEALTH™ Healthy Adult with Chicken, which has chicken as the No. 1 ingredient, to keep them ready to pounce.

 

 

Carbohydrates in Cat Food

Carbohydrates (also known as starches [sugars]) and fibers provide energy and bulk, respectively. Plants and grains like wheat and corn are common carbohydrate sources.
 

Starches are made up of various types of sugar, such as glucose or fructose. Through digestion, cats can easily convert sugar into usable energy.
 

Fiber provides bulk to move food through your cat’s gastrointestinal tract, aiding in healthy digestion. Some types of fiber, such as vegetable gums and beet pulp, are fermented by bacteria in your cat’s intestines, creating short-chain fatty acids that serve as an important source of energy for the cells lining your cat’s intestinal tract.
 

Nutrition tip: The beet pulp and cellulose found in IAMS™ PROACTIVE HEALTH™ Hairball Care have been shown to reduce hairballs in cats.

 

 

Fat in Cat Food

Though it sometimes gets a bad rap, fat fulfills many vital bodily functions. Fat helps your cat maintain their body temperature, control inflammation and more. It is the primary form of stored energy in the body, providing twice as much energy as carbohydrates or proteins.
 

Fats are found in meats, fish and plant oils, such as flax and vegetable oils.
 

Fats also provide omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which are important fat subunits. Omega-6 fatty acids are essential for skin and coat maintenance and proper membrane structure. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to affect coat quality and skin health.
 

Nutrition tip: All IAMS™ wet and dry foods contain an optimal ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids to help support a healthy skin and coat.

 

 

Vitamins and Minerals in Cat Food

Vitamins are responsible for promoting bone growth, blood clotting, energy production and oxidant protection in your cat.
 

Vitamins A, D, E and K require fat for absorption into the body, while vitamins such as the B-complex vitamins and vitamin C need water to be absorbed into the body.
 

Minerals provide skeletal support and aid in nerve transmission and muscle contractions.
 

Nutrition tip: Learn more about why antioxidants are good for your cat.
 

Feeding your cat a high-quality, nutritionally complete diet is crucial. When choosing a cat food, make sure to read the label and look for optimal sources of protein, carbohydrates, fat, and vitamins and minerals. These building blocks will help ensure your cat lives a long and healthy life.

Understanding Common Ingredients and Nutrients in Cat Food
  • orange cat in hands of pet parent
    orange cat in hands of pet parent

    adp_description_block236
    Are You Ready to Adopt a Cat? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

    Introducing a new cat into your home and life is a rewarding and fulfilling decision, one that requires some thought before you head to the shelter. So what should you consider before adopting a cat? Follow our tips to prepare for the best.

     

    What to Consider before Adopting a Cat 

    First, let’s explore some of the commitments you’ll need to make to ensure your new cat is content (and that you are, too!).

     

    Cat-proofing Your Home 

    Make sure your home is cat-safe by eliminating or hiding away anything that could harm or poison your newbie. This includes:

    • Household cleaners and chemicals
    • Medications
    • Toxic plants, including aloe vera, azalea, rhododendron, lilies, chrysanthemum, mistletoe, philodendron, poinsettias and tulips
    • Toxic foods, including chocolate, coffee and tea, dairy, raw meat, grapes and raisins, carrots, onions, garlic and alcohol

     

    Cat Supplies You’ll Need 

    You’ll need a cat bed or hideout, toys, scratching mats, a cat tree or climbing tower, food and water bowls, litter and boxes, and, of course, well-balanced, nutritious cat food. IAMS™ provides a wide range of tailored, nutritional cat food to promote the health of your new cat.

     

    Cost of Cat Care 

    Plan to budget for an annual exam (older cats or those with special conditions may need more frequent visits), medication and parasite preventives. It’s smart to save for emergency care, too.

     

    Cat Exercise and Playtime 

    Providing daily play and exercise opportunities can keep your cat physically and psychologically healthy, and help strengthen your bond. Toys, feather wands and cat trees should be part of your regular rotation! And believe it or not, many cats can be trained to walk on a leash.

     

    Cat Socialization 

    Not all cats are solitary or antisocial; however, they can become this way if they aren’t introduced properly to new experiences. Strange sounds, smells and even appliances in your home might make a new cat anxious, as can other family members and pets (more on this later). So be sure to help your new cat get accustomed to unfamiliar people, places and things, and reward and praise them when doing so.

     

    Litter and Litterboxes 

    Make sure you have the necessary box, scoop and other supplies to keep things tidy. If you have a multiple-cat household, provide one box per cat, plus one additional box, to help quell territorial issues.

     

    A Lifetime Commitment 

    Keep in mind that cats often live into their teens and maybe even a second decade if you’re lucky. Know that you’re adopting a true family member for the extent of their lifetime.

     

    orange cat in hands of pet parent

     

    Choosing the Right Cat for You 

    A cat match made in heaven starts by asking some questions about yourself.

     

    What Is Your Lifestyle Like? 

    If you are not home regularly or gone for extended amounts of time, a cat’s independent nature can be a great fit. If your life includes other people or pets, make sure their behaviors, personalities and lifestyles suit having a cat family member — both for their sake and the cat’s. Allergies can be a dealbreaker, so take note of anyone in your home with cat allergies and their or your willingness to take allergy medication, vacuum constantly and groom the cat regularly to alleviate symptoms. 

    Your home should also have the space for play and exercise and shouldn’t harbor anything dangerous to your cat.

     

    What Cat Personality Suits You? 

    Cats offer a variety of distinctive personality types, ranging from puppy-like cuddliness to feigned disinterest. Some cats are constantly on the go, exploring and poking into this and that, while others are certified nap ninjas. Vocally, they can be chatty catties or more taciturn souls. In short, you have a wide spectrum of personality types to choose from — which is what makes cats such fascinating and easy-to-love pets.

     

    Do You Want to Adopt a Kitten or an Adult Cat? 

    Kittens will need a lot of attention, direction and a fair amount of patience. Their size, energy and inquisitive nature means you’ll need to supervise them closely.

    Adult cats often will settle more quickly into a routine once introduced to their new home. An older or senior adult cat may be even more comfortable interacting with children and furniture. And providing a real home for a cat in their golden years is a rewarding and noble gesture you can feel good about.

     

    Fur Better or Fur Worse 

    All cats shed. This will affect anyone with allergies and could also cause health issues for your cat, like hairballs or matting. Long-haired cats need to be brushed more regularly, and not all cats love this, so you may have to train yours to sit through this daily ritual.

     

    orange cat in hands of pet parent

     

    Where to Adopt a Cat 

    There are several reasons adopting a cat from a shelter or rescue organization is preferable to buying. More effort goes into matchmaking when you adopt, because shelters and rescues generally have more information about their cats. Plus, adopting your cat from a shelter or a rescue actually helps two cats: the one you adopt and the homeless cat who takes your cat’s place.

    In contrast, buying can be much more expensive than adopting, and the practice encourages cat mills and increases the number of pets who need homes.

     

    Adopting a Cat from a Shelter 

    At shelters you can often visit with more than one cat and breed. The screening process can be easier (many shelters allow you to take a cat home that day), and adoption fees can be lower than at a rescue. However, the vet services might not cover all that your cat needs.

     

    Adopting a Cat from a Rescue 

    Rescues have some advantages over shelters. They often know more about candidate cats because they may be placed in foster homes and even trained for a home. So you could adopt a cat that is already litterbox trained, socialized with other pets and with kids, trained to keep off furniture, etc.

    Depending on the rescue’s screening process, you might have to make an appointment to see one cat at a time. While the screening might take longer, it’s designed to match you to the right cat. Adoption fees might be a little higher with a rescue, but they often cover more vet care, too.

     

    orange cat in hands of pet parent

     

    The Cat Adoption Process 

    While rescues and shelters have similar adoption processes, they do vary depending on the organization. But you can count on these basic steps:

     

    1. Application

    Make sure to have a valid ID to verify age (most organizations require adopters be adults) and address. You might also need references, so it’s a good idea to email or call ahead of time and ask about the application and overall adoption process.

    Some of the cat adoption questions you might be asked include:

    • Do you own or rent?
    • Have you had a cat before?
    • Do you currently have pets? Are they spayed or neutered? How are they with other animals?
    • Do you have children at home? Are they good with pets?
    • Does everyone residing in your home approve of adopting a cat?
    • Where will your cat be kept during the day and in the evening?
    • What are your care plans for when you have to leave home for an extended period of time, such as for a work trip or vacation?

     

    They might also ask questions about your health, occupation and personal life to help match the right cat to the right parent.

     

    2. Home Inspection 

    A home and family meet-and-greet might be required to see how everyone, including other pets, gets along with your prospective new cat. And the organization will want to ensure your residence will be a comfortable and safe home.

     

    3. Adoption Fees 

    As we mentioned, cat adoption costs can vary, with rescues often being higher than shelters. Fortunately, the adoption fee will take care of basic veterinary services you will need anyway, including vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and microchipping.

    Adopting a new cat isn’t just rewarding — it can be life-changing. Taking stock of the commitments of cat ownership, and taking the time to find your perfect feline match, will help set you both up for years of joy.

    orange cat in hands of pet parent
    orange cat in hands of pet parent
    orange cat in hands of pet parent
both email signup

WANT MORE IAMS™?

Get pet care advice, product updates, event information and more when you sign up for the IAMS™ newsletter made with your pet in mind.

SIGN UP

Shop Dogs

Shop Cats

Why IAMS™

© 2022 Mars or Affiliates. US Patents Pending. Other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

Hi! 👋

Need to chat? 💬

We’re here to help. 🐶🐱

👋 Hi, I'm your Pet Expert!

pet Logo
pet Logo