Thursday, July 9, 2015

3 key things to look for when you're shopping for dry cat food

Blind long haired cat in her cat bed

Recently, Lucy has been eating Solid Gold dry cat food, as part of a month-long pet food challenge (more on that here). So far, she's had an enthusiastic response to the food, and I think it all comes down to the ingredients in each bag the company produces.

Before I started her on the challenge, I did a little digging on the ingredients in each bag of food, and here's what I looked for:

1.  Grain free. 

Cats like Lucy can, in theory, digest grains like corn and wheat. But, many cat foods use these ingredients to help a cat feel full. In other words, they're used like filler. Buying a food stuffed with grains means buying a bag of things that might end up in the litter box in no time at all.

Grain-free foods, like the Indigo Moon food Lucy is eating now, are more meat than filler. That means there's less bulky waste to deal with, and more value in each meal I serve. To me, that's worthwhile.

2. No ingredients from China. 

We've all read about the very terrible recalls stemming from chickens either raised or processed in China. Every one of these reports is terrifying, and I don't know about you, but it's made me all the more concerned about where the food I feed my cats actually comes from.

Before I buy any product my pets might eat, I make sure that the ingredients aren't sourced from China. Sometimes, that's information I can see right on the packaging. Other times, I need to visit the manufacturer's website before I buy in order to get the reassurances I need.

Solid Gold doesn't contain any China ingredients, so it fits the requirements for me.

3. An understandable ingredient list. 

Some labels are filled with words I just don't understand. I know that foods prepared for cats must be massaged and processed in some way in order to keep those foods stable on a store shelf. But I don't want those foods to be packed with artificial ingredients that I know nothing about.

When I scan through food, I just read through the ingredients and make sure I know what most of those elements are. If I see a number of weird or foreign words, I walk away. The vast majority of things in Lucy's food are things I know about, so that makes me happy.

Ready to shop?

Of course, there are all sorts of other things to look for, especially for medically fragile cats. Knowing the protein content of the food might help, for example, as might knowing the specific protein source. But, this little cheat sheet helps me make good decisions on the fly, and it could help you, too!

And, if you are in the market for cat food, consider Solid Gold. Lucy has really been enjoying her month-long challenge, and I've seen no digestive distress, picky eating, itchy skin or other red flags with this food. She likes it and it agrees with her. Pretty good, right?

If you have specific things you peek for in a food label, please leave a note and let me know. I'm curious to hear what others look for as they shop!

Note: I was not sponsored for this review. Instead, I got several weeks' worth of cat food to try, at no charge, for Lucy, and I agreed to provide my honest opinion about the products and my experience. No monetary compensation was involved.


  1. My pets seem to do much better on grain free. I look for all natural food with meat as the first ingredient. Thanks for your tips and for joining the Pet Parade time and again!