The Ultimate Guide to Cat Food

You may already be a God or Goddess to your furry friend, but how much do you really know about what they should and shouldn’t be eating?

Learn everything you possibly can about kitten food, adult cat food, and senior cat food with this Cat Food Bible, to help you make the purr-fect choice for your cat.

Introduction

No longer do our kitty-cats hunt for their prey in the wild, sneakily stalking them before they pounce and deliver a deadly bite. Our feline friends now rely solely on you, their hooman caregiver to provide them with a delicious and health-conscious diet to allow them to thrive.

That’s why it’s so impawtent to know what your cat should eat, what cat food is available on the market, and which type of cat food is the right one for your furry bestie.

There’s a whole lot of choice out there for cat food, from dry food to wet food, raw diets to gluten-free diets and an entirely new vocabulary to describe them all. But, the challenge really comes when trying to figure out which one is best for your cat.

That’s why we’ve created this Cat Food Bible, to help make choosing your cat’s food a more informed and easier process.

This guide is designed to cover every aspect of cat food, from the different types of cat food, to how to read a cat food label like a pro, to when to graduate your kitten from kitten food to adult cat food and everything in between. Recent studies have shown that pets fed to an optimum nutritional standard and kept in a lean condition can enjoy up to two more years of life! So if that means that all we have to do is feed our cats properly to get a whole 730 days of extra cuddles and kitty-cat kisses we’re in!

So, whether a new floof has just been added to your fur fam, or you’re dreaming of having a kitty-cat in the future, or even if you simply think your old tom could do with a diet change, this guide is for you.

Explore the chapters:

  1.   The Different Types of Cat Food
  2.   Deciphering Dietary Cat Food
  3.   Cat Food Storage
  4.   Cats are Obligate Carnivores: What Does This Mean?
  5.   Essential Nutrients for Cats
  6.   How To Read A Cat Food Label
  7.   Ingredients Cats Should Never Eat
  8.   Kitten Food
  9. Adult Cat Food
  10. Senior Cat Food
  11. Cat Treats
  12. Fussy Cat Food
  13. Food For Cats With Health Issues
  14. Eco-Friendly Cat Food

Chapter 1: The Different Types of Cat Food

With so many different types of cat food options out there and an array of differing opinions on which one is best, it can be overwhelming as to which type you should choose. Each type of cat food is made differently, stored differently, digested differently, and contains differing levels of macronutrients. That’s why we’re kicking off this bible by deep-diving into the 6 main types of cat food to start you off with your best paw forward on your learning journey.

dry cat food wet cat food scrumbles

As always, if your cat suffers from a disease or illness, consult your vet first before picking a particular type of cat food.

Here are the main types of cat food:

1. Dry Cat Food (cooked)

Also known as cat biscuits, kibble, or in my family home cat nuts (I’m not really sure why…) dry cat food is undoubtedly the most popular form of cat food due to its convenience and low cost. As it is a dry form of cat food, it has a low water content, which gives it its crunchy texture. With this, make sure you keep your cat’s water bowl full if it's only eating this type of cat food (it should always be kept full anyway of course).  

dry cat food bowl

To hold its shape, the dough requires a certain level of carbohydrates. Cats are obligate carnivores which means they require a diet high in animal protein to thrive. Although still an essential nutrient, cats require far less carbs than us humans, so they should make up roughly 10-15% of their diet. Make sure to look for a dry cat food with at least 70% animal protein and a low level of easy-to-digest carbohydrates such as white rice to best support your kitty’s digestion.

Pros: Dry food is undeniably the most convenient form of cat food, as it can be stored at room temperature, tends to have a good shelf life, and is generally the best value. It’s also a perfect option for grazers as you can leave it out for them during the day to snack on at their own pace.

Cons: Many mainstream dry cat food brands add unhealthy ingredients to their dry cat food recipes, such as added salt and sugar, artificial preservatives or high levels of carbohydrates which are hard for your cat to digest. These kinds of dry cat food can also be addictive for your kitty particularly if they are sprayed with palatability/flavour enhancers, which can lead to health issues such as obesity and diabetes. Look for a natural dry cat food to avoid these nasties.

Some dry cat food brands can also sneakily scrimp on the quality of protein in their food by using things like animal derivatives or pea protein. These forms of protein are generally low-quality or in the case of pea protein very difficult for your cat to digest due to it being derived from vegetables. This ultimately provides little nutritional benefit for your kitty cat. It’s therefore always important to read the label of your cat food to know exactly what’s in your kibble so you can steer away from the “junk food” of cat food.

Myth-buster: The jury is out on whether dry cat food really is better for your cat’s teeth. It’s thought that the crunchy texture of dry cat food can help rub plaque off your cat’s teeth but in reality, dry cat food usually is so small that your cat swallows most of it whole. This can also be a good thing though, as small kibble such as our 8mm x 8mm dry cat food biscuits can be a perfect choice even for cats that are missing a few teeth! If you are looking to improve your cat’s dental hygiene, try using a dental cat treat instead, and say goodbye to kitty-cat halitosis!

Storage: dry cat food can generally be stored in a cool dry place. Ensure that the dry cat food is sealed in a container or bag to prevent food spoilage and critters like mites from invading. Air-tight containers are also great to prevent the smell of dry cat food from attracting unwanted rodent attention.

Explore Scrumbles Probiotic-Packed Dry Cat Food

2. Wet Cat Food (cooked)

Wet cat food has a higher water content and a lot more moisture than dry cat food giving it a wet…(duh) or pate-like consistency. Generally, it’s cooked by steaming the food inside the tray or can that it is served in, giving it its luxurious consistency fit for royal kitties. Many cats prefer wet food due to the more potent smell and soft texture making it a purr-fect option for even the fussiest of felines.

scrumbles wet cat food

As many of our domesticated kitties have lost their instinctual desire to keep their water levels high, wet cat food is a great way to keep your cat hydrated and often vets will suggest feeding your cat wet food if they think your cat isn’t drinking enough or if they have kidney issues.  

Pros: Wet food is generally less processed than dry cat food and doesn’t need binding agents such as the carbs in dry cat food to keep it all together. This means that wet cat food often contains higher levels of protein or fat – perfect for keeping your cat healthy and purring. High water content also makes it great for keeping your cat hydrated, reducing the risk of developing kidney diseases and UTIs. Wet cat food can also be an effective way to hide worming tablets or other treatments rather than battling with your feisty feline.

 

Cons: Wet food can spoil if left out and should be consumed by your kitty within 30 minutes so if your cat is a grazer, wet food may not be the best option. Wet food isn’t as calorically dense as dry food due to its higher water content, so you often have to feed more of it to your cat making it a more expensive option than dry cat food.

Storage: Like dry cat food, unopened wet cat food can be stored in a cool, dry place. Once opened, it must be covered and stored in the fridge, making sure to use it up within a few days as directed by the specific cat food label.

Nutritional Tip: Due to the higher water content in wet food, when comparing the protein content of dry and wet cat foods, you need to remember to first remove the percentage of water content of the wet food, to get an accurate representation of the protein density.

Explore Scrumbles Wet Cat Food

3. Raw Cat Food (uncooked)

Raw cat food or uncooked cat food, tends to come in wet form, however, there are some brands offering it as dry cat food by freeze-drying or air-drying it. Raw cat food recipes are usually high in animal meat, bones and offal which mimic what cats would hunt in the wild. As good as this sounds, there has been quite a lot of controversy surrounding raw feeding due to its high risk of salmonella outbreaks and cross-contamination with human food.

Pros: We can’t suggest any benefits of feeding your cat a raw diet as vets recommend against it. If you’re keen to try raw feeding, ensure that you opt for a FEDIAF-approved recipe rather than preparing the food yourself, and make sure to sterilise your prep area so as to not cross-contaminate.

Cons: The PDSA, along with leading vets do not recommend raw cat food because harmful parasites and bacteria such as E-Coli and even TB aren't killed by a cooking process. If your cat is fed this diet, they ingest these harmful pathogens and bacteria. Although this may not always be an issue for your kitty, these bacteria continue to live in your cat’s saliva and poops which pose a high risk of infecting you. Therefore you need to wash your hands after touching your cat as they clean themselves regularly by licking their own fur.

Your risk of infection also increases if the raw food is prepared at home in your kitchen, as cross-contamination is more likely. Raw food is typically more expensive as cats require more raw food to meet the same nutritional requirements as a cooked option. Cats also need to have good oral health and strong teeth to be able to rip and chew tough meat chunks that are often served in raw cat food.

Storage: Raw cat food must be stored frozen and defrosted before feeding. Freeze-dried raw cat food will also need to be rehydrated prior to serving either in water or a bone broth. The temperature of raw cat food should never be higher than 4°C as this increases the risk of the food becoming contaminated and toxic. Raw cat food must be consumed by your cat within 24 hours and should never be re-frozen after being served.  

4. Fresh Cat Food (cooked)

Fresh cat food is similar to wet cat food, however, it is usually requires frozen storage. Due to its storage requirements, most fresh cat food companies operate on a D2C subscription principal, transporting the fresh cat food usually in single-serve containers or sachets straight to the consumer’s door in refrigerated vehicles. Fresh cat food is usually more expensive than dry or wet cat food due to its transportation and packaging requirements.

Pros: Obesity and cat diabetes are on the rise with more than 50,000 British cats suffering from diabetes – that’s twice the capacity of the O2 in diabetic kitties! Fresh cat food helps make portion control simple with most fresh cat food being pre-packed into individual serving sizes and portioned appropriately for your cat’s caloric requirements.

Cons: Feeding your kitty fresh cat food can be inconvenient for the busy professional due to the need to defrost your cat’s single-serve meals prior to serving. Fresh cat food also tends to have a higher water content and therefore lower caloric density, so care should be made if feeding this to a kitten due to their specific energy demands. It can also be more difficult to maintain your cat’s ideal weight if its meals aren’t high enough in calories.

As we said before, due to the transportation costs of fresh cat food, it can be super pricy with many fresh cat food companies charging around triple that of other high-quality wet and dry cat foods. If you’re like us and also love the environment, fresh cat food may not align with your values as the higher transportation needs take more of a toll on the environment with the added carbon emissions.

Storage: Fresh cat food must be stored frozen, and defrosted in the fridge prior to serving. Once defrosted it needs to be licked up by your cat within 24-48 hours. Always check the storage directions on the fresh cat food label as each provider is different.

5. Homemade Cat Food

Can you guess this one? Homemade cat food is anything you make for your cat at home. If you got that right give yourself a kitty-pat on the back!

Homemade cat food can be raw, cooked, dry, wet, or a mixture of them all, it’s whatever you decide. With this, homemade cat food is very vague and can vary hugely from household to household. The majority of vets recommend against home feeding as a cat’s nutritional needs are super complicated and getting the correct combination of nutrients in each bowl is extremely challenging.

If you’re feeding a kitten or a pregnant/nursing cat, you should definitely steer well away from homemade cat food as they have even more specific requirements. If you do choose to make your cat’s food yourself, always speak to a vet first so they can help you develop a plan and direct you to approved complete and balanced recipes that meet FEDIAF requirements.

Pros: Again, we can’t suggest any benefits of feeding your cat homemade cat food as vets recommend against it.

Cons: It’s very difficult to prepare a nutritionally balanced and complete diet for your cat yourself at home making it hard to keep your kitty-cat purring. If you’re like most people and don’t have a spare meat grinder floating around your home, buying the tools alone to safely prepare homemade cat food is expensive, not to mention the cost of essential ingredients for homemade cat food. All of this makes homemade cat food the least cost-effective form of food for your fur friend.

Storage: This depends on the type of food your feeding your cat, be it dry, wet, raw, or cooked.

6. Complete/Complementary Cat Food

Complete and complementary cat foods are umbrella terms that can include any of the types of cat food described above.

Complete means the cat food is nutritionally balanced with everything your cat needs to live a pawesome life. You won’t need to supplement a complete cat food with anything else and you can feed it to your cat every day on its own.

On the other hand, complementary cat food doesn’t have sufficient nutrients in it to be fed to your cat on its own and can’t be used as a single food source.

Examples of complementary foods include cat treats and “toppers”, which are biscuits that can be sprinkled over cat food to increase the nutritional content of your cat’s meal. The PFMA always recommend feeding your cat a complete diet, so they get what they need to live a happy and healthy life.

To summarise we’ve created this handy table to show all the different types of cat food:

Chapter 2: Deciphering Dietary Cat Food

Congratulations! You made it through the first chapter of the bible. Some of that may have been slightly complicated so take a deep breath, give your floof a quick cuddle and then come back as we now explore the different types of cat diets which the above cat foods may fall into.

Like hooman diets, new cat diets are constantly emerging, and whilst some are strictly necessary for some kitties, particularly those with health conditions or allergies, others come in and out of fashion like the 1980s cabbage soup diet…yes, that really was a thing!

Here are some of the most common cat diets you will see on the market today:

Gluten Free Cat Food: 

Some cats have more sensitive tummies than others, and whilst very rare, this can be down to a gluten intolerance. Gluten free cat food is an excellent option for cats that are allergic or sensitive to gluten to soothe sensitive kitty-cat stomachs, ease digestion and allow for an easier clean up at the kitty litter.

Grain Free Cat Food:

Gluten free cat food doesn’t contain glutinous grains such as wheat, barley, and rye, but it can contain wholesome good grains like rice and oats which are essential to bind everything together in dry cat food.

Grain free cat food, on the other hand, doesn’t contain any grains which are fine for wet food but when it comes to dry cat food some type of carb or starch is needed to bind the kibble together. To get around this many manufacturers often add other legumes or veg proteins to bind the dry cat food together and bulk up the protein level, however these are poorly digested by cats, providing little protein benefit to them.

A gluten free diet can be great for your cat’s digestive health if they need it, however there is a misconception that diets void of all grains are essential for cats. Unless your cat has a specific intolerance to all grains (which is next to impossible), a grain free diet isn’t a must. Look at the full composition of a cat food to ensure it is nutritionally complete, high in animal protein and low in carbs to provide the optimum nutrition for your cat.

Hypoallergenic Cat Food:

This means the recipe is free from common allergens such as gluten, soy, dairy and egg. There is no officially recognised list of common allergens that must be excluded to be deemed “hypoallergenic”, so excluded ingredients will vary between brands. This is why it’s so important to read the ingredients listed on your cat food label, especially if you’re trying to figure out what specific foods your cat is allergic to with an elimination diet guided by your veterinarian.

Siamese cats are often referenced as being more susceptible to allergies, with the most common allergens for cats surprisingly being beef, chicken, and fish. Chances are your “hypoallergenic cat food” will contain one of those, so if your cat is truly allergic to an ingredient, which is very rare, do not simply watch out for this phrase but check the ingredients list to ensure it’s not included.

Again, cat allergies are very rare and often symptoms of cat allergies are very similar to other, more common environmental triggers such as fleas, pollen, grass or mites. If you think your cat may have a dietary allergy, have this assessed by your vet to make sure there isn’t another underlying cause of their symptoms.

Featured Resource:

Probiotic Cat Food: 

There’s been a lot of scientific chatter in recent years about just how important our gut is not only for digestion but our overall health and longevity, and this is no different to our kitty cats. Your cat’s gut is home to billions of microorganisms, most of them bacteria, which form their gut microbiome. These bacteria support the gut by helping with food digestion and absorbing important nutrients into the bloodstream.

However, not all bacteria are good bacteria, and balancing the good and the bad is key to a healthy gut micro-biome and a happy cat tummy. If your cat’s experiencing digestive issues like loose stools, frequent infections and low energy, this may be a sign that their gut micro-biome is out of whack. If this is the case, they may benefit from eating probiotic cat food.

Scrumbles dry cat food probiotics

Probiotics, not to be confused with prebiotics, are live “good bacteria” which help to maintain the balance of microflora in the gut. Therefore, feeding your cat a probiotic cat food can help balance your cat’s gut micro-biome, soothing their tummies and aiding digestion to allow for pretty poops.

Quick Tip: Enteroccocus faecium is the probiotic strain that has been tested to demonstrate the above benefits in cats (and dogs). Probiotics must be “live” to get any benefit, so steer clear from wet cat foods that claim to have probiotics as these will have likely been killed during the necessary cooking process. We load a billion probiotics per kg into all of our dry cat food to best support your cat’s gut microbiome, and prebiotics in all of our wet cat food which are the fuel source of probiotic bacteria. 

Sensitive Stomach Cat Food: 

If your kitty has an upset tummy, dry or irritated skin, their tums may be more sensitive than other floofs and may benefit from eating a sensitive stomach cat food which is designed to be easier to digest.

The type of protein that is in certain cat food can greatly affect how digestible it is. Digestibility can be graded using a digestibility score, so try feeding your sensitive kitty food with a protein source that has a digestibility above 87% like chicken which is said to be around 92% digestible. Ensure that legumes like peas and pea protein aren’t listed on your cat food ingredients as these are difficult for your floof to digest and are often used by brands to sneakily bulk up the protein content of their food.

If you’re reading a cat food label and the ingredients list goes on and on and resembles something out of your high school chemistry book, it’s likely not going to sit well with your sensitive kitty’s tummy. Lots of ingredients in a recipe make it harder to digest, so for sensitive cats, the ingredients list should have a small amount of recognisable, named ingredients or be single-source protein for optimal digestion.

Prebiotics and probiotics will also help to support your cat’s digestive system, so if you see these added to your cat’s food you know you’re on to a winner.

Chapter 3: Cat Food Storage

Where and how you store your cat food is impawtent in maintaining its freshness and quality. Be sure to check the manufacturers’ advice printed on the package for the specific guidelines for the food you buy as each brand’s recommendation may differ slightly.

Here are some of our top tips on storing cat food:

Dry Cat Food

Store in a cool dry area in an airtight container to prevent bacteria build-up and defend against annoying critters like ants and mites from infesting. Although your cat wouldn’t mind a few mice around to hunt, keeping your cat food in a secure container will also keep the smell locked away, preventing mice and rats from being attracted. Tupperware or metal tins are good options for storing dry cat food.

Wet Cat Food

Once opened wet cat food should be stored in the fridge to prevent it from going off. Securing your wet food in an airtight container, or wrapping it in cling film or a specially-designed pet food lid is an effective way of locking in the moisture of wet cat food and storing it in the fridge. If you’re thrifty, something like the lid of a tube of tennis balls can even be used to secure the top of tinned wet cat food!

If you love the planet like us, eco-friendly beeswax wraps are also great for securely covering the top of wet cat food. Once you’ve finished using them you can simply give them a quick wash and re-use.

The main things to remember with storing cat food in the fridge is to use something that will secure the opening tightly to prevent too much air from getting in and to reduce the risk of cross-contamination with your own food.

Chapter 4: Cats are Obligate Carnivores: What Does This Mean?

There are three main types of animals. Herbivores, who survive off eating plants such as elephants, giraffes, and cows. Omnivores, who survive off eating a mixture of plants and meat such as hoomans and dogs. Carnivores, who survive off eating meat such as lions, tigers and your household kitty-cat.

Some carnivores can digest and do eat a small amount of plants however your kitty-cat is a special type of carnivore called an obligate carnivore. Obligate carnivores primarily only eat animal meat as they can’t digest and synthesise plant proteins into the amino acids their bodies need. Their bodies aren’t adapted to eat large quantities of plants and need to eat animal protein to live happy and floofy lives. 

Therefore you must ensure that their food is packed with a high percentage (>70%) of high-quality animal protein to best support them.

Interesting Reads: 

Chapter 5: Essential Nutrients for Cats

It’s always recommended to feed your cat a complete food so that you can be confident that each of your cat’s meals are nutritionally balanced, containing all they need to live meow-some lives.

But we think it’s important to know a little bit about what key macronutrients your cat needs so that you’re more confident in choosing the best option for your fur-friend.

Here is some important info on each of the main nutrients your kitty’s diet should contain:

Protein

Protein is essential to build all forms of cat body tissue, such as muscles, tendons and ligaments to allow them to run, jump and play. They also provide your cat with the energy it needs to chase that laser pointer around the room or pesky rat out of the house. 

Protein is made up of small building blocks called amino acids. Your cat requires 22 amino acids, however, their body can only create 11 of these on its own (that’s one less than dogs and two less than us hoomans). This leaves 11 “essential amino acids” that they must get from their diet.

Like you just found out, cats are obligate carnivores and require a high protein cat food to best support their health and digestion. The FEDIAF recommends 25g of protein per 100kcal of dry food for cats, so be sure to check the protein content on the nutritional info of your cat food label to ensure their protein needs are met.

Taurine

One of the most important essential amino acids that your cat needs to get from its diet is Taurine. Taurine is important for optimal nerve function, digestion, vision and heart function. Cats get all of their Taurine from animal meat so legally all commercially sold cat food must have Taurine added.

Arginine

Arginine is another essential amino acid that cats must get from their food. Arginine is found in high levels in white animal meat such as chicken and helps to detoxify ammonia so that it can be excreted by your cat as urea in their urine. If even one of your cat's meals is totally free from arginine, issues can occur, and if arginine is missing from your kitty’s diet over a long period of time, health problems and even death by ammonia toxicity can happen. Chicken cat food and turkey cat food are great options for kitties due to their naturally high levels of arginine.

Fats / Oil

Fats and oils found in animal flesh are the main sources of energy for your furball. Fatty acids such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 which are found in animal and fish meat such as tuna cat food, are important for brain and heart health and also help your cat to absorb essential vitamins.

Carbohydrates

Carbs are harder to digest for your kitty-cat and should only make up 10-15% of your cat’s diet. Herbivores and omnivores like us hoomans are better at breaking down carbohydrates by using the enzyme amylase. Amylase is found in our saliva, pancreas, and gut, and helps convert carbs into energy. Cats do not produce amylase in their saliva, and levels of amylase in their digestive tract are much lower compared to us humans. Therefore, feeding your cat too many carbs isn’t just bad for their slender figures but also for their digestion and overall health as they’re not adapted to living off such a diet.

This isn’t to say that cats can’t eat any carbs at all though. Some carbs are necessary to bind together dry cat food and carry with them essential nutrients and fibre to keep your cat’s tummy happy. White rice is an example of a wholegrain/carb that is naturally gluten free and easily digested by even the most sensitive kitty-cat tums.

Vitamins

Your cat needs a whole host of vitamins to keep them purring. Cats cannot produce most vitamins themselves and must get them from their diet. If you’re feeding them a complete diet rich in high levels of animal protein you should be assured that their meals will include adequate levels of necessary vitamins and minerals.

Vitamin D is an example of an important vitamin essential for strong bones, muscles and a healthy immune system that your cat must get from animal meat. Unlike us, cats cannot get their Vitamin D hit from the sun and therefore rely solely on their food for this. Vitamin A which supports your cat’s super-human vision is another example of a dietary vitamin that is rich in animal meat.

Minerals/ash

Ash is not an added ingredient, but rather the inorganic matter that’s left behind when the organic matter (proteins, fat and carbs) are burnt away. This is mainly used as a measurement representing the amount of minerals in your cat’s food. These minerals include phosphorus, calcium and zinc. Normal ash levels in cat food are generally between 5-8%.

Water

Water is essential for every single metabolic process in your kitty’s body from transporting nutrients in the bloodstream, to elimination of toxins and temperature regulation. In the wild, cats often lived in habitats that were low in fresh drinking water such as deserts. With this, they adapted to get most of their water through the foods they eat. 

Most domesticated kitties don’t drink enough water as they’ve lost their instinctual desire to keep their water levels high.Therefore, it’s important to keep some water out for your kitty to sip on at all times. If you don’t think your cat is drinking enough water try feeding them a wet cat food which will have higher levels of moisture to keep your cat hydrated.

Chapter 6: How to Read a Cat Food Label

I’m sure everyone is well versed in reading labels of human foods at the supermarket, but what about for your fur friend?

Now that we know what essential nutrients your cat needs to be purr-fect, let’s deep dive into exactly how to read a cat food label.

Being able to read a cat food label and decipher exactly what is in your kitty-cat’s meal is the best way to choose the most appropriate and nutritious food for your cat, and weed out the ones that aren’t so great.

This can be difficult as many manufacturers inadvertently confuse consumers with vague wording or misleading packaging!

But fear not, we’re here to help. The following steps will show you how to not judge a book by its cover and make an informed decision. Simply ask yourself each of these questions about the food you’re considering, and the answer in bold is the correct response.

Step One: Do you recognise all the ingredients?

Yes/No. You shouldn’t need a chemistry degree to read a cat food label! If the ingredients list is full of long, hard-to-pronounce words that resemble a chemical formula it’s not going to be good for your cat’s digestion and general health. Look for named ingredients that you recognise, this way you’ll know exactly what your cat is eating.

Step Two: Are multiple ingredients grouped together?

Yes/No. Sneaky cat food brands with poorer quality food, often try to hide their real ingredients by grouping them into umbrella terms such as “meat and animal derivatives”. This is a very broad term and a cat food with this listed as its number one ingredient could really have anything in it. With this, your cat could be eating chicken one day and beef the next.

This isn’t great for kitties with sensitive stomachs or allergies, so always look for a cat food that has the exact ingredients listed so you’re confident knowing precisely what you’re feeding your feline bestie.

Step Three: Are there more than 10 ingredients?

Yes/No. This is an easy tip to weed out the cat foods that won’t be the best for your furball. Generally speaking, the more ingredients in a cat food, the harder it is to digest, leading to upset tums and messy kitty-litters. Try going for a cat food that has less than 10 ingredients to best help your kitty’s digestive system.

Step Four: Is a named high-quality animal meat the first ingredient on the list?

Yes/No. The ingredients list on a cat food label is written in descending order, meaning the first ingredient listed holds the majority of the nutritional content of the food. As obligate carnivores, a cat’s diet should primarily consist of meat, so it’s a no-brainer that the number one ingredient listed on a cat food label should be some kind of meat!

This is uber-important to check rather than just checking the amount of protein in the food as some companies try to bulk up the protein content by using plant-based proteins such as pea protein which holds little nutritional benefit for cats.

Again, some brands will list “meat and animal derivatives” as their number one ingredient, but don’t be fooled as this is a way they can manipulate the order of ingredients by grouping them together, when in reality the food may contain less than a few percent of single source animal protein and the rest…who knows what!

Accreditations such as ASC or MSC are also ways you can tell the meat is high quality, responsibly sourced and meets animal welfare standards.

Step Five: Is the meat fresh, frozen or dried?

This one is basically up to your preference as to which is more convenient, accessible and affordable as there are high-quality forms of each of these cat foods on the market. When reading a cat food label always remember that cat foods with fresh and frozen meat will have a higher water and moisture content than that in dried cat food, so when comparing the nutrient levels of these foods you should first remove the water content (about 75%) to get a better grasp of its true volume in the ingredients list.

Step Six: Does the ingredients list include lots of ingredients from the same food group?

Yes/No. Some sneaky brands split their ingredients up on the recipe list to manipulate the ingredients ranking. Remember we said that the ingredients list is written in descending order with number one being the highest-density ingredient in the food? By listing different forms of the same grain e.g. maize gluten, maize starch, maize flour, the ingredients would be further down in the list but if you added them all together Maize may have one of the highest nutrient densities in the recipe – not what you want for your carnivorous kitty!

Step Seven: Are whole grains used?

Yes/No. Easily digested whole grains such as white rice are much more nutritionally beneficial for your cat versus rice flour which can be difficult to digest.

Step Eight: Does the recipe contain artificial preservatives, flavours, or colours?

Yes/No. These nasties are a recipe for unhappy cat poops. Names like sodium benzoate or butylated hydroxyanisole are examples of these which is where the importance of Step One comes back into play! Look for a natural cat food that contains natural preservatives such as tocopherols or antioxidants, which are much nicer on kitty-cat tums and keep cat food fresh and lasting longer.

Chapter 7: Ingredients Your Cat Should Never Eat

It’s impawtent to make sure there are no toxic ingredients in your cat’s food. FEDIAF and PFMA-approved recipes are safest and won’t contain these ingredients but it’s always helpful to know what not to feed your cat. Some obvious examples of these are chocolate, onions, garlic, alcohol, grapes, and raisins, but did you know that dairy products are also harmful for your kitty?

Why Cats Shouldn’t Eat Dairy

We’re accustomed to seeing cats on TV slurp up a bowl of milk and lick their lips in delight, but you may be surprised to find out that our kitties are actually lactose intolerant!

Now, I’m sure if you put some milk out for them they’d be licking the bowl clean due to its high fat and protein content and delicious taste, but most likely you’ll find a dirty mess at the kitty-litter later on that day.

This intolerance boils down to older cats’ inability to break down lactose as they lack the necessary enzyme to do this called lactase. Cats are born with lactase as they need it to digest their mother’s milk, but as they age they naturally lose this ability. Some cat foods contain dairy so be careful not to feed your fur-friend these products as it can upset their digestive system.

food bad for cats 2

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The Proof Will Be At The Kitty-Litter

Okay, if you’re reading this during your lunch break maybe skip this part and come back to it once you’ve finished eating because we’re going to take some time to talk about cat doo-doo. I promise we’re not just weirdos who love talking about your cat’s toilet habits! Having a look at your cat’s poop before scooping it up into a cat poop bag every now and then is a great way to judge the overall health of your kitty.

A healthy cat should use the kitty litter 1-2x per day and squeeze out a solid, smooth brown sausage (ew). This is what we at Scrumbles would deem a “pretty poop” and is a good sign that the inner workings of your cat are in tip-top shape.

Cats eating less nutritious food with low levels of animal protein and higher levels of carbs and grains may have a more watery, sloppy poop. Whilst soft small blobs may indicate that your cat needs more fibre or probiotic-rich food in their diet.

If your cat’s poop ever looks black or green, take them to the vet for a check-up. Dark black poop may indicate some internal bleeding and a green colour may be sign of a bacterial infection or liver disease.

When transitioning your cat from one food to another or one brand to another it’s not uncommon to see some changes in their poopies. However, if this lasts longer than a few days, again, it’s best to get this checked out by your vet.

CAT-POO_chart

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So, What Should You Feed Your Cat?

Okay, we’ve just gone over every possible cat food under the sun, but you’re probably still wondering which cat food is going to be the purr-fect choice for your cat.

In truth, all cats are different with differing needs, preferences and health conditions. Just look at a Persian Cat and a Sphynx Cat, they couldn’t be more different, so there’s no “one-size-fits-all” answer.

What matters is the quality of the food. Cats and kittens are obligate carnivores and require a diet high in animal meat and low in carbohydrates to thrive, so using your newfound cat food label reading skills you should be able to assess which cat food is the best choice for your floof. The right choice will also depend on what you can afford, what you have access to, what your cat purrs for, and what company’s values align with your own.

We’ve broken the next few chapters up into the life stages of your cat, some impawtent information on cat treats, as well as tips on feeding fussy felines, cats with health conditions and eco-cat food. So, keep reading to find out more.

Chapter 8: Kitten Food

(8 weeks to 1 year)

Most cats reach adulthood at around 12 months of age, however larger cat breeds such as the Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cat can take up to 2 years to develop. During this stage, your kitty goes through a process of rapid growth where they’ll increase in size forty to fifty-fold as they develop their teeth, organs, muscles and cuddly coat. This period is also where you’ll experience the most kitten hyperactivity, with zoomies around your living room being a regular sight. 

All this means they require higher levels of calories, fat, protein, vitamins and minerals compared to adult cat food to best support their growth. The specific nutritional requirements can be found in this Kitten Nutrients Table by the NRC.

What is kitten food?

Kitten food is specifically designed to meet all the needs of your growing kitty. It should also contain Arachidonic Acid (AA), and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which is an Omega-3 fatty acid that is essential for brain and eye development. DHA is found in kitten mothers’ milk but is important and recommended by the FEDIAF for it to also be within kitten food. Salmon oil is an excellent source of DHA, whilst animal fat will provide all the AA your kitten needs to blossom.

When Do I Start Feeding My Kitten Solid Food?

At 4 weeks old kittens will start to wean off their mother’s milk onto solid foods. Like humans, cats have two sets of teeth and their baby teeth don’t come through until 3-5 weeks of age, so until they have a smile full of pearly whites, mix their kitten food with some warm water to soften it. As you found out earlier, cats and cow’s milk don’t go together all that well so avoid softening their food with milk, water will do just fine!

kitten dry cat food scrumbles

Usually, if you get your new fur baby from a breeder they will give you some kitten food or recommend the food that they have already been feeding them to continue with. As your kitten’s immune system doesn’t fully develop until around 16 weeks of age it's best to stick with what they’ve already been eating particularly in the first few days after adoption. If, after you’ve read the label of the kitten food using your new cat-focused skills, you find that it’s not going to support your kitty the best, wait a few days for your kitten to settle into its new home before gradually introducing the new food (hint hint Scrumbles) over a period of 7-10 days.

How Much to Feed a Kitten

As every kitten food is different it’s best to follow the guidelines on the label. If you’re using Scrumbles we’ve made it easy by creating this feeding calculator to show you exactly how much you should be feeding your cat through all of its life stages. It’s crucial not to overfeed your kitten as this could predispose your kitty to obesity and other health issues such as diabetes later in life.

How Often to Feed a Kitten

Whilst your kitten was suckling from its mother it would nurse up to 6 times per day. Kittens have tiny tums so small frequent feeding times are better for their digestion and keep their meowing for mealtime at bay. Again, you mustn’t overfeed your kitten, so make sure you find the precise daily amount of kitten food you should be feeding them from a feeding calculator and divide it by the number of meals they have per day to get the correct meal size.

With time, the number of meals can gradually be reduced as most kittens become settled with two meals per day by the time they get to six months of age. If you prefer to free-fed this is usually okay for cats as they tend not to over-eat. Just make sure you’re putting out the correct daily food amount.

How to Choose The Best Kitten Food

Kittens are carnivorous critters and need high-quality animal protein to grow and mature into the purr-fect floofs that they are.

scrumbles dry kitten food

So, first things first read the label!

Say no to pea or potato protein, and hello to a kitten food with a high level of a named animal meat protein such as our chicken wet cat food. Avoid ones with “meat derivatives” or “animal derivates” so that you know exactly what you’re feeding your kitten. Optimum levels of protein for a growing kitten is between 30-36% and the majority of this being from meat, not vegetable protein.

Ensure your kitten food is a complete recipe so that you’re confident that it meets the nutritional requirements needed to support your growing fur baby.

Common FAQs About Kitten Food:

1. What makes the best kitten food for sensitive stomachs?

If your kitty is letting rip some smelly farts or regularly dropping off runny poops at the kitty litter you should get this checked out by your vet to make sure there aren’t any underlying health conditions that could be at play. If this has been cleared, then your kitty may have a more sensitive tum than others.

If this is the case, feeding your kitten a sensitive stomach cat food may be just what they need. These kitten foods should contain more easily digestible animal protein such as white meat (chicken or turkey), or fish, and low levels of vegetable matter that can be difficult for cats to digest. Some whole grains such as white rice can be helpful to add digestible fibre to your cat’s diet to improve their bowel motions.

Kitten foods that have added probiotics are great for sensitive tums as they increase the good bacteria levels in your kitten’s stomach. Prebiotics like slippery elm which is basically the food the probiotics need to power up are also amazing for soothing upset tummies.

2. Can kittens eat adult cat food?

If you compare a kitten to an adult cat, their activity levels couldn’t be more different. As kittens grow they’re constantly zooming, jumping, pouncing and climbing as this was how they learnt their hunting skills in the wild. 

scrumbles dry cat food kitten

On the other hand, adult cats can sleep for up to 20 hours per day. Kitten food is usually more calorically dense than adult cat food to support their growing bodies and high energy levels. Some cat foods are suitable for both adult cats and kittens though, so you need to verify if this is the case by looking for language like “suitable for all life stages”.

Find out more: Can kittens eat adult cat food?

3. When do you wean your kitten onto adult cat food?

“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear kitty, happy birthday to you!”

Your kitten’s first birthday is generally when you can start to transition your kitten onto adult cat food. This may be later (between 18 months – 2 years) if you have a large breed of cat so it’s best to check with your vet if you’re unsure. Transition your kitten over a period of 7-10 days like you would if you were changing any of their foods to prevent upset tummies. Don’t forget to recalculate the correct feeding amount as this will also change.

4. Should you give your kitten treats?

If you’re feeding your kitten a complete diet, most treats are unnecessary with many containing added nasties like sugar and salt which are yucky for your kitten’s health and digestion. If you do want to give your kitten a treat for instance if you’re training them or after grooming or brushing their teeth look for ones with no added sugar, salt, or artificial additives, and with lots of mouth-watering animal protein like these Gnasher’s Kitten Treats.

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Chapter 9: Adult Cat Food

(1 – 7 years)

What is Adult Cat Food?

Woo, your kitten has finally calmed down and grown up into a well-rounded adult cat, you must be so proud! 

Now it’s time to feed them a cat food that meets their needs as an adult cat. Cats are generally within this “adult” period of their life for 1 to 7 years depending on their breed and size and an adult cat food should contain all the essential nutrients to maintain their energy and keep them within a healthy weight range.

Whilst kitten food is high in calories to support a growing fur-baby, adult cat food is more catered towards maintaining a healthy weight for your adult cat as they require fewer calories per kg of body weight than kittens.

How Much Should I Feed My Cat?

Most paw-rents feed their adult cats twice per day and cats often adjust well to this schedule. The amount of food you put in their bowl will depend on your cat’s weight, activity level (i.e. whether they are an indoor princess or outdoor adventurer) and of course the brand of food that they eat.

To calculate this, start off by working out your cat’s specific daily calorie needs using a chart such as this one by WSAVA. 

Once you’ve figured out your cat’s daily calorie needs, you must then convert it into the weight of the cat food you chose. Most cat food companies will display their calorie content per 100g.

For example, if your cat needs 250 calories per day, and the cat food you’re feeding them contains 128 kcal/100g, the calculation should look something like this:

[128] / [100] = 1.28kcal (which is the calories in 1 gram of cat food)

[250] / [1.28] = 195g (the amount of cat food your cat needs to eat per day)

[195] / [2 – or the number of meals your cat has per day] = 98g of cat food at each mealtime

Or an easier option will be to simply look at the recommendations on the packaging or website of the particular cat food. Most brands will have their own guide to feeding your cat or helpful feeding calculator.

Cat Food Calculator

Check out our feeding calculator which you can use to calculate how much Scrumbles wet or dry recipes you’d need to feed your adult cat.

FEEDING CALCULATOR

How to Choose the Best Adult Cat Food for Your Cat?

Choosing the best adult cat food should be simples for you now, but just remember to choose something with a high level of named animal meat in it (hint: it should be labelled first in the ingredients list). 

At least 70% animal meat is a good indicator of a top-quality adult cat food and will provide your cat with a paw-fect source of proteins and amino acids. Steer away from foods with legumes or pea or potato protein as this is difficult for our feline friends to digest.

If you need to re-hash your skills in reading a cat food label, scroll back up to

Chapter 6: How To Read a Cat Food Label.

Adult Cat Food FAQs:

1. I want to switch the brand of my cat’s food, can I swap it straight away?

If after you start using your incredible cat food label reading skills you want to switch your cat’s food, it’s best to gradually do this over the course of 7-10 days. Cats are creatures of habit so abruptly changing their meals may result in them refusing their food and can also cause tummy upsets.

Your 7-10 days of weaning might look something like this:

  • Day 1: Feed your cat their normal food as usual plus a scoop of the new food. The new food can either be mixed or put in a separate bowl to tempt them.
  • Day 2: If your kitty happily ate a scoop of the new food on Day 1, feed your cat ¾ of their old food and ¼ of the new food.
  • Days 3-4: Continue to increase the amount of new food with ½ old food and ½ new food.
  • Days 5-7: ¾ new food ¼ old food
  • Days 8-10: feed your cat solely their new and improved cat food

This is only a guide and each step can be dragged out a couple of days if your kitty is taking some extra time to adjust to the new food or if there’s any sign of digestive upset like runny poops.

2. Why is my cat not eating his/her food anymore?

Cats are known for being fussy eaters! The most common reason for your cat going off their food if they appear otherwise healthy, is simply disinterest or dislike of their food. Try changing the flavour of their food or if they’re eating dry food try swapping to a wet food to see if this peaks their picky palettes. If this doesn’t help and your cat continues to have a low appetite or shows any other signs that something might not be quite right with their health, get them checked out by their vet to exclude any worrying health conditions.

3. Can cats eat dog food?

If your cat gets into a small portion of their floofy sibling’s food it’s no cause for panic. But if this occurs regularly it can be harmful to your cat. Dogs are omnivores meaning they eat a mixture of meat and plants, and their food is no different, often combining large quantities of the two. On the other hand, cats are obligate carnivores and struggle to digest most plant matter. Feeding your cat dog food on the reg can both upset their tums as well as fail to provide them with the essential nutrients they need to thrive.

4. Can I feed my cat human food?

Avoid feeding your cat human foods as these tend to be higher in calories, fat, sugars, and salt. Some human foods such as chocolate, onions, garlic, alcohol, grapes, and raisins are toxic for kitties so should be avoided at all costs. Even dairy and raw eggs which are common in many human foods can be harmful to our feline friends so it’s best to avoid feeding your floof anything from the pantry.

5. Can cats eat any fruits and vegetables?

Cats can eat some fruits and vegetables in small quantities as healthy treats. Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins as well as fibre to your cat to help with their gut health. Safe fruits and vegetables as advised by the PDSA include cucumber, pumpkin, carrots, banana, strawberries, blueberries, and peeled apples (deseeded).

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Chapter 10: Senior Cat Food

(7+ years)

What is Senior Cat Food?

From 7 years of age, your cat is considered a senior citizen. They may have a few extra grey hairs and they may doze a little more during the day, but I’m sure they’re still as cuddly as ever. As cats age, their metabolic rate slows down, meaning they require fewer calories at meal times. Plenty of senior cat foods do exist but it’s not essential to switch to one. It’s just as effective to reduce the quantity of their adult cat food using a cat food calculator.

As your cat starts to live out their golden years, it’s even more important to monitor how much they’re eating and drinking each day. For instance, eating less and drinking more, could be a sign of kidney disease or diabetes and should be assessed by your vet.

When to Switch to Senior Cat Food

Cats don’t need to switch to a senior cat food and most cat foods are labelled as safe for adult and senior cats. However, if you do choose to switch your cat to a specialty senior cat food, this is generally around 7-10 years.

Senior Cat Dental Issues and Cat Food

As your kitty ages, they’re more likely to start struggling with dental issues. If your cat is missing several teeth or has a sore mouth, fear not. 

Cats' teeth aren’t designed for chewing, but rather ripping animal flesh into small pieces for them to swallow whole. Most dry cat food is so small that even cats with no teeth can eat it by simply swallowing the kibble down. If your senior cat starts to refuse their dry food though, this may be a sign that they’re struggling or in pain, and switching to a wet food may be easier for them to gobble down.

Equally, senior cats are more likely to suffer from illnesses like diabetes and kidney failure, so may require a specialised diet. It’s best to consult your vet if your cat has a particular health issue as to which senior cat food they would recommend.

Chapter 11: Cat Treats

If your floof has been extra good, you may be wanting to treat them every now and then, but there are some impawtent things to consider when feeding your kitty cat treats.

Cat treats are deemed complementary foods, remember that from Chapter 1?

Complementary foods do not hold enough nutrition to be fed by themselves to your cat all the time, and if you’re feeding your cat a complete nutritional diet, there really is no need to supplement them with treats. 

Be careful to read the label of cat food treats as many contain high levels of sugar, salt, and artificial additives which can upset floofy tums. Try opting for natural cat treats such as these Chillz Calming Cat Treats, which are high in animal protein, prebiotics, and relaxing valerian, and free from additives and dairy. Also, be mindful that treats will add calories to your cat’s daily intake, so if you’re feeding your cat treats regularly you will need to adjust how much food you give them at meal times to prevent kitty-cat obesity.

Chapter 12: Fussy Cat Food

Cats are known for being fussy feline princesses. A cat’s hierarchy of food choice starts with scent, then texture and finally taste. This explains why even the smallest of changes can throw your cat off its meal.

You may be surprised to find out that all pet food is graded on its deliciousness or “palatability” provided as a percentage from 0-100% and guess what, Scrumbles gets the 100% tick of kitty-cat licking approval.

Other than checking the palatability score, choosing a cat food with high levels of tasty animal meat is a surefire way of delighting your kitty. Wet cat foods usually have a higher palatability score than dry cat foods and more closely mimic the texture and smell of animals that cats would prey on in the wild making them a more popular choice. 

If your cat is super fussy, try changing the texture of your cat’s feed to see if that does the trick, for example, change from a smooth cat food to a pate or shredded form, or a mixture of dry and wet cat food.

Chapter 13: Food For Cats With Health Issues

Many kitties suffer from health conditions and need certain diets to best support them. We’ve covered how to feed cats with some of the most common health conditions including pancreatitis, diabetes, dental disease, and kidney disease.

How to feed a cat with pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is a common condition amongst our kitties and occurs when digestion-aiding enzymes activate too quickly, causing inflammation of the pancreas and surrounding tissues and organs. Exposure to fatty foods and poor diets is a major contributor to pancreatitis, with most diagnoses occurring around the festive period when floofs are usually treated the most with scraps from the Christmas dinner table!

Cats with pancreatitis usually show fewer symptoms than dogs, but if your cat is refusing to eat, vomiting, having bouts of diarrhoea or showing signs of pain you should visit your vet for an accurate diagnosis.

There is no cure for pancreatic kitties, so treatment requires ongoing management. Your vet will either prescribe a specially formulated food for pancreatic cats or advise you to feed them something simple at home like boiled chicken and white rice. Once initial symptoms have settled, your cat will need to follow a diet that is highly digestible and high in animal protein, with frequent smaller meals being preferable.

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How to feed a cat with diabetes?

Kitty-cat diabetes is an increasingly common health condition affecting British cats. Type 1 Diabetes is an auto-immune disease that kittens are born with. The prevalence of this is quite low and occurs when your cat can’t produce enough insulin, the hormone that helps to balance blood sugar levels. 

Type 2 Diabetes is much more common, affecting 80% of diabetic kitties. This disease is caused by cat lifestyle factors such as lack of exercise, poor diet and obesity, and is when the cells in your cat’s body become resistant to insulin leaving their blood sugar at high levels. High blood sugar levels can be dangerous, attributing to dehydration, depression and even death.

As Type 2 Diabetes is mainly caused by poor cat nutrition, it can be managed with diet and exercise. Once diagnosed, your vet will recommend a health program to follow including ways for your cat to shed a few pounds with exercise and diabetic cat food, as well as medication. However, the best way to stop your cat from getting diabetes is to always feed them a healthy, balanced, complete cat food in portion sizes that are appropriate for their age and weight.

What to feed a cat with dental disease?

If you smell bad cat breath when your kitty wakes you up in the morning, this may be a sign of dental disease. Dental disease is common in cats and more so as they get older. Cats can develop gum disease and gingivitis if they have a poor diet or if their teeth aren’t regularly brushed. This is where plaque along the gum line causes inflammation and if it goes untreated it can develop into periodontitis where teeth can become loose or fall out. If you notice any signs of dental disease, take your kitty to the vet to get this assessed and a treatment plan laid out. Treatment may consist of removing plaque much like our dentists do for us, or tooth extractions.

Once treated it’s all about the prevention of worsening oral hygiene, so ensure that your cat is fed a nutritious complete diet that is low in sugar, salt and artificial additives. If your cat still has a decent smile without too many lost teeth, a cat dental chew containing SHMP can be helpful to reduce tartar and plaque build-up.

On the other hand, if your cat’s smile is becoming more gapped, it may find dry cat food harder to eat, although this is not always the case as cats' teeth aren’t designed to chew, but rather to rip flesh into pieces to swallow whole. So, more often than not, cats can continue to eat dry cat food as they generally swallow most of the kibble whole. If your cat is refusing their usual dry food, however, switching to a wet cat food may be helpful as it is generally easier to eat. 

What to feed a cat with kidney disease?

Kitty-cat kidneys detoxify blood and remove waste products from your cat’s body through their wee. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is when the kidneys gradually stop doing this job properly and is most common in senior cats. With this, toxins can start to build up in your cat’s blood leading to an increased risk of infections, anaemia and heart attacks.

Symptoms of CKD include reduced appetite, drinking more water, more frequent urination, low energy, bad breath, weight loss, and vomiting. Nobody knows your furry friend like you do, so if you notice any of these symptoms seek attention from your vet for a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Treatment usually consists of medication including Vitamin B and C supplements, Phosphorus binders, blood pressure medication, and antibiotics. Changes to their diet are also important and can positively affect the lifespan of cats with kidney disease. Your vet will guide you on the exact diet to follow but generally, it will be low in phosphorus and higher in Vitamin B and C, and fatty acids. Wet cat food can also help the kidneys due to the higher moisture content, therefore enhancing their hydration to help the kidneys function better.

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Chapter 14: Eco-Friendly Cat Food

Sustainability is at the forefront of the Scrumbles psyche, and if you’re like us you’ll want to know that the cat food you’re buying is sourced, manufactured and delivered in an eco-friendly way. This can be what separates a good cat food from the purrfect choice! Below we’ve split up the different sections of the entire cycle of cat food manufacturing and how they can affect the environment differently. With an understanding of this, you can better judge which brands your values align with most.

The Carbon Footprint of Cat Food Ingredients

Cat food ingredients are responsible for the most emissions in the cycle of cat food manufacturing. Nevertheless, most cat foods are made from the unwanted bits of meat from the human food supply. All pet food in the UK is made from these unwanted bits and this is why you’ll see many cat food brands labelling their ingredients as “human-grade”. This is great news as it reduces food wastage.

There are some meats, however, that are more emission-intensive such as red meat or meat sourced unethically i.e. cage or battery farms. Look for credentials such as Organic, MSC, ASC and Cage-Free so you know the meat in your cat food has been sourced ethically.

In general, fish and white meat such as chicken and turkey are much less emission-intensive and have a much lower carbon pawprint. All of our cat foods are either fish or poultry-based to reduce the impact of our ingredients on the environment. All our poultry is also cage-free and the fish we source is either ASC or MSC certified.

Carbon Foot Print of The Different Types Of Cat Food

As wet cat food has a higher water and moisture content, cats need more of it to meet their caloric and nutritional needs. It is also heavier to transport than dry food, therefore producing more emissions.

Fresh cat food has the highest emissions cost in terms of transport. This is because the food must be kept refrigerated or frozen during transportation and most fresh cat food brands operate on a DTC subscription process, also increasing transport levels. Fresh cat food is also generally served in single-serve pouches which increases the packaging needs and therefore more waste.

Cat Food Transport Emissions

Transportation of ingredients makes up around 6% of emissions of the cat food manufacturing cycle. The best way to reduce the amount of emissions generated by transport is to choose a cat food brand that sources local ingredients. This can also give you peace of mind as to the standards of food/animal meat sourcing, particularly if the meat is from British or European farms.

All of Scrumbles poultry is British-reared, greatly reducing our food miles!

Environmental Impact of Cat Food Packaging

As always, reduce, reuse, and recycle. Opting for a cat food that’s served in recyclable or compostable packaging is a great way to reduce the impact of waste on the environment.

Cat Food Brand Certification

Certifications make it easier to trust a brand’s ethics or commitment to the planet without having to read pages of their brand ethos. One of the most well-known certifications in the UK is B Corporation. B Corporation assesses all the aspects of a company’s sustainability, from its social to environmental impact. Scrumbles is proud to have been the second-ever pet food company in the world to be a certified B Corp brand!

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Bow Down to the Master of Cat Food!

Congratulations! You’ve made it through the Cat Food Bible. It was long, and it was complicated, but hopefully, it’s given you the skills to go out there with confidence and feed your cat the best damn cat food they ever did have!

By making it this far, we officially award you with a Masters of Cat Food! I don’t think there are any universities out there that are offering this wonderful course so count yourself lucky!

 Cat food certificate

We hope we’ve explained everything there is to cat food but if you have any questions at all feel free to contact us and we’d be happy to clear anything up.

Share with us your best pics of you and your Masters of Cat Food Certificate with @Scrumbles on Instagram, or leave us a comment on one of our latest posts telling us you got this far.

Whilst You're Here, Why Not Read:

  1. 10 Facts About Cats Teeth

  2. How to Choose an Eco-Friendly Cat Food

  3. Can a Cat Be Vegan?




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