Is Organic Cat Food Better For My Cat?
Keeping your cat in the best of health is an important responsibility as a pet owner, and one of the best ways of doing this is ensuring that they enjoy a good diet. And while there is plenty of healthy pet food out there, you may be wondering whether organic is the best choice for your kitty. Well, the organic food trend is certainly gaining more and more traction, so there is bound to be more research in the future. At the moment, more pet parents are introducing their cat to an organic diet. This may be recommended by the vet or you may decide to make the switch yourself. But before you do, you want to ensure that you have as much information as possible about organic cat food.
Here, you will find an extensive guide to help you make up your mind. We will start by talking about what can be classified as organic cat food in the first place. We will then discuss some of the different types of organic cat food out there, as they are not all exactly the same. Next, we will look at some of the main benefits of making the switch to organic cat food. And then we will look at the main features that you should be looking out for in a good-quality cat food.
What Is Organic Cat Food?
Before we go any further, we need to clearly define what organic cat food is in the first place. According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the term ‘organic’ refers specifically to the way that a crop or animal is grown, raised, or handled. The crops need to be on land without pesticide for a period of three years. As for organic livestock, it should be given organic feed and have access to the outdoors. No antibiotics or hormones should be given to them. The FDA say that nothing artificial or synthetic should be added to a food that would not be expected of it.
Different Types of Organic Cat Food
You may think that once you have picked up an organic cat food, all the other bags will be very similar. Well, there are actually different levels of organic which you need to consider. The highest level is 100% organic food, which means that all the ingredients used should have been made with a high level of commitment to the organic cause. Some food which has the label ‘organic’ can be 95% organic, so this is worth bearing in mind when you are comparing and contrasting your different choices.
Some food may be labelled ‘made with organic’, which is much more of a vague label and difficult to clarify exactly what it means. It could be 95% of organic ingredient or it could drop down to 70%. And then we have the foods that contain less than 70%, which should be clearly written on the label. Essentially, you need to decide whether you want a food that is entirely organic or one which is just partly organic.
Why Choose Organic Cat Food?
Now, you need to know a little bit more about why you would choose organic cat food for your furry friend. Perhaps you are concerned about the environment in which the food is grown. Or you may want to provide a food that has not been ‘interfered with’ in any way such as genetic modification, radiation, fertilizer etc. As for the specific health benefits, research has not yet been fully conclusive. But your vet may recommend organic as being the best course of action or you believe that this is the route that you want to go down.
Though there is no specific evidence pointing to organic cat food being better for your kitty, there is also nothing to say that it will be harmful to them. The benefits should be that there are fewer pesticides or any genetically modified ingredients for your cat to ingest. Or your concerns may be environmental, and you want your cat’s food to be created with the same care as your own. Many people are willing to pay more for this type of food, which generally does come with a higher price tag.
Another major reason why you may choose an organic cat food is because it contains limited ingredients. If your pet suffers from a food allergy or some sort of dietary intolerances, some owners report benefits from switching to an organic brand instead.
While we are not saying that all organic cat food is healthy, if you choose the right brand, your cat should experience some benefits. A healthy cat food should help to balance out your cat’s weight. On the other hand, unhealthy food can cause your kitty to become overweight, which is one of the most serious problems in domesticated felines these days. Again, organic food tends to contain fewer ingredients and is less likely to be packed with fillers and other things that your cat doesn’t really need in their diet.
The other main reason to mention why organic cat food is the better choice is environmental. One of the central issues is that pesticides are bad for the local biodiversity. If you buy organic, you know that you are not contributing to any destruction of the environment through encouraging these toxic chemicals to be used. Another ethical concern is the treatment of animals in the production of pet food. Organically reared animals are often better treated with more access to the fresh air and exercise of the great outdoors.
Organic Cat Food Features to Consider
Once you have decided to invest in organic cat food, you then need to think about which type or brand to choose. After all, no two are the same. Whichever organic cat food you choose, it should contain the type of premium ingredients that provide your pet with complete and balanced nutrition. Look at the ingredients as your first port of all. Just because you see the word ‘organic’, don’t automatically assume that the food contains everything that your cat needs. Look for real ingredients – especially good protein sources rather than by-products. Added vitamins and minerals are always good for keeping your cat in tiptop condition.
Think about the life stage that your cat is in. Cats have varying nutritional needs depending on their age. For example, young kittens need diets that feature higher levels of proteins and fats. As older cats slow down and become less active, they can deal better with diets that don’t feature so many calories. The food should make it very clear the age of the cat that they are suitable for.
Next, you have the issue of flavor. Cats are fussy eaters and switching up their diet can present a bit of a problem if you are not careful. Look for a flavor option that you know your cat is going to enjoy. If you are struggling to make the transition, you can smooth things over a bit but mixing the new food in with the old food and gradually adjusting the rations until you can make the switch comfortably.
Finally, we have to talk about availability and price point. Since organic cat food is a speciality item, you need to know how easy it is to keep getting your hands on it. You can check both your local pet store and any online retailers as well. You don’t want to keep changing brand all the time as this can end up upsetting your cat’s stomach. Also, you should check the price as you want to ensure that you can comfortably keep restocking your shelf. As we already mentioned, organic cat food can get quite expensive.
The decision of whether or not you want to switch to an organic cat food is entirely up to you. It may be that your cat experiences some benefits, but we can’t conclusively say that organic is the best path to go down. If you are feeling unsure, it is always worth consulting with your vet or a cat nutritionist for more information. Remember, just because something has that ‘organic’ label, it doesn’t mean that it is going to be better than what your cat is enjoying currently.
If your cat suffers from some sort of allergy or food intolerance, organic may prove to be a great choice as they tend to contain fewer ingredients which could irritate them. If you are unsure, you could make the transition slowly to see if you can notice any immediate positive effects. Or it may simply be the case that you have environmental concerns and want a food that is produced in a way that it more responsible.
Ultimately, the choice is yours. We have presented some of the pros and cons in the most clear way possible, but you can decide which way you want to go.
- Is Organic Better? – PetMD