If you’re on the hunt for a healthy food for your cat, you will probably be looking for a natural product. Natural cat food should contain only ingredients from natural sources. But what does “natural” really mean?
What should be in natural cat food
All the ingredients in natural foods should come from natural meat or plant sources.
What shouldn’t be in natural cat food
Natural foods shouldn’t contain any artificial additives—that’s no artificial flavours, colours, preservatives, binders or fillers—and products describing themselves as “natural” will often guarantee they contain no GMO ingredients (genetically-modified organisms) either.
“Natural” doesn’t always mean…
Most natural cat food is healthy, but bear in mind that most salt, and many sugars and fats, are completely natural. This doesn’t mean they’re healthy ingredients in a cat food, particularly if there’s too much of them or they’ve been added to the recipe! Always check the ingredients, as too much fat, sugar and salt are bad for your cat and can lead to obesity and other health issues.
While a lack of artificial ingredients is a good thing, especially if your cat has any sensitivities or allergies, artificial ingredients aren’t the only allergy or intolerance culprits. Natural foods, food groups or ingredients, such as soya, lactose, dairy, grains (particularly wheat and corn), gluten, eggs or specific meats or fish, are just as likely to cause a problem for cats.
Responsibly or ethically-sourced.
Natural ingredients aren’t always sustainably or ethically-sourced, so always check packaging carefully if this is a concern for you. Natural pet food ingredients can come from intensively-farmed or unsustainable sources, and the resulting food may not always be prepared or packaged in a sustainable manner.