From my reading of the book: Your Cat: Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger Life by Elizabeth M. Hodgkins, D.V.M., and from checking online websites and forums, I put together a list of criteria for wet (canned) cat food that would be healthy for our plump Raja:
Healthy Canned Cat Food Criteria:
- First two ingredients must be some form of meat, and NOT meat or fish by-products. (by-products are poor sources of protein and should not be the main ingredients in any quality cat food.)
- No corn or corn meal in the list of ingredients. Corn has a high-glycemic index which means it is too readily converted to sugar in the body... VERY high in unnecessary and dangerous carbohydrates.
- No rice, or other grains in the first 5 ingredients. (Same problem... too easily converted to sugar & too high in carbohydrates.)
- No bone meal or bone phosphorous in list of ingredients. (Bone meal and bone phosphorous may contain harmful and poisonous chemicals.)
- Actual dry-matter carbohydrates 10% or less. (To determine dry matter amounts for all important nutrients, please refer to: How to Read Cat Food Labels to Find Healthy Lo-Carb Cat Foods in this blog.)
- Ideal Guaranteed Analysis protein: 8.8% or higher; ideal Guaranteed Analysis fat: 5.5% or higher.
Note: It is almost impossible to get protein and fat in these exact percentages in the same canned food. That's why it's important to mix brands or flavors to be sure your cat gets adequate protein and fat in the long run.
- Limit feeding of canned food with fish ingredients to no more than 3 days per week. (Most fish contains mercury which is poisonous to your cat.)
NOTE: Be vigilant when reading cat food labels. I was surprised to find that some non-fish flavors of canned food contained fish somewhere in the ingredient list. This is ok, but just be sure to limit feeding of fish-containing foods to 3 times per week to be safe.