The pet food industry seems to constantly ebb and flow to meet the needs of our furry, scaly, and feathery friends. Cat food is no exception. There are so many advancements in dietary research thanks to constant nutritional studies being conducted to keep our cats healthy and increase their lifespans. If you’re trying to keep up on all the happenings to see if a new diet trend might work for your feline, we’re here to give you the 411. Keep reading for all the details on the trends in cat food.
The 10 Cat Food Trends to Watch for in 2023
1. Reduction in High Heat
Many dry and wet dog foods undergo high heat during production. While this is necessary for some recipes, it destroys a lot of the nutritional value in the meantime. To combat killing these otherwise beneficial components, companies are starting to reduce heat to preserve these nutrients. By not overheating, these ingredients keep their potency, delivering valuable nutrients to the body.
2. Raw and Homemade
We’ve seen the fad of raw and homemade cat foods rising in popularity through the passing years. These foods have a lot of what pet owners try to gain from cat nutrition. Raw diets are much more based on the natural ingredients your cat would enjoy in the wild. It’s a healthier way for your cat to reap all the benefits of animal contents—fully indulging in whole proteins and correct levels of naturally occurring amino acids. Homemade diets are a truly amazing option for you to try for your feline this year since you can control all of the ingredients put into their bowls. This meal style is perfect for everyday wellness, but it’s also a really good option if you have a cat with certain dietary restrictions. Sometimes hidden ingredients in commercial food can trigger reactions even when you have limited ingredient diets. Many owners find it easier to control symptoms by making the food themselves. We recommend checking any recipe you plan to use with your veterinarian. They can make any necessary tweaks while making sure the formula meets nutrient profile criteria.
3. Steam Sterilization
With the reduction in heat in many recipes, there still needs to be a way to ensure all ingredients are safe. If certain things are undercooked, it can carry harmful bacteria. Rather than using high heat to finish the packaging process, companies are adapting human-grade steam sterilization processes to keep recipes as fresh as possible while also keeping them safe for consumption. This process is still in the making, so they haven’t mastered it quite yet—and many companies are still not using this method. It will take revamping some old ways of production, which requires planning and money. But hopefully, it will be more common practice as time goes on.
4. Short Ingredient Lists
Many pet owners would agree that the fewer ingredients there are in cat food—the better. If you can pronounce all the ingredients on the bag without pulling up Google for a look, you might have a good cat food to try. However, with anything else, you should research to see if the food meets all the nutritional profiles necessary for feline development and maintenance. It can be a lot easier to weed out poor-quality ingredients or irritants in your cat’s diet. Limited ingredient diets have been on the market for a while, but the options are expanded to now cater to all sorts of different dietary needs.
5. Whole Ingredients
Whole ingredients can be a very important thing when you consider pet food of any kind. Whole ingredients point to healthier digestion, reaping the benefits of all the additives therein. When your cat food has whole ingredients, everything is in a much purer form, which means your cat is getting the correct nutrients from the additives used in the recipe.
6. Filler & Grain-Free Foods
Over time, more nutritionists have proven that cats don’t need grain in their diets. In fact, they typically thrive much better without them. Unlike dogs, cats are obligate carnivores. So having fillers like corn, wheat, soy, barley, oatmeal, and other grains aren’t really necessary. There has been some recent controversy over the safety of grain-free recipes for pets. Many studies began linking grain-free recipes with heart problems. Luckily for cats, and not so lucky for dogs, these issues only seem present in canines. Cats very much benefit from grain-free options, particularly if they have a grain allergy. However, this issue is very rare in terms of what triggers allergic reactions in cats. So, the verdict is out that there is no extreme benefit or negative impact on cats eating grain or grain-free formulas. Also, many companies are really phasing out artificial and synthetic ingredients for a healthier dining experience.
7. Novel & Hydrolyzed Proteins
Some cats have trouble breaking down common proteins found in commercial cat food. Proteins like chicken, fish, and beef can often have a negative impact on the digestive system, causing allergies. Novel proteins are proteins that have never been introduced into your cat’s diet—so, put simply, they are new proteins. Since these proteins have never entered your cat’s digestive system, they are less likely to spark an issue in your cat’s system. Hydrolyzed proteins can be common proteins, but they are broken down into microscopic bits to bypass the digestive system essentially. Since the cat doesn’t recognize them, it doesn’t attack these proteins.
Organic foods are increasingly growing. Many owners want their cats to have only beneficial meals to offer their feline with the hope of lessening health issues and generating a longer lifespan. Everyone is better off without synthetic hormones, artificial dyes, chemicals, and preservatives in our diets, and our cats are no exception. The cleaner the recipe, the better off your cat will be. Most organic foods come with totally transparent and traceable ingredients. Get to know your cat food labels.
There are tons of supplements on the cat food market that can really improve your feline’s overall health. Supplements are fantastic in the sense that they give your cat a boost they could desperately need. The type of supplement you buy for your cat will vary depending on individual needs. Some are comparable to a multivitamin in humans, giving your kitty an extra dose of needed nutrition. Others are very specialized in treating a particular issue. Your vet might recommend specific supplements if your cat develops any health issues. If they don’t, it might be a good idea to check with them before you offer any supplement to your cat that you might be unfamiliar with.
10. Online Purchases
There’s no mistaking it, there is an ever-increasing trend in online shopping. An influx of pet sites like Chewy make it easier than ever. You can even sign up for auto-ship options, where your card is automatically debited and items are shipped to you on a timed schedule. Online purchases make shopping convenient, taking out any extra trips to pet shops while you’re out and about. There are tons of perks—plus, you get lots of added options and variety that might not be local to your area.
As cat food trends grow, develop, and change, it’s best to know what your options are. After all, the more time goes on, the more science understands the unique needs of our feline friends—and the more we can accommodate accordingly. Plus, there are also options to make our buying experiences better these days, too. Again, make sure to ask your vet before adding any supplements or making any drastic changes to your cat’s diet.
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