Putting together all those ingredients in a sanitary way on a regular basis is a lot of work—so, is it worth it?
How you answer that question probably depends in large part upon how you view today’s major pet food manufacturers. There has been no shortage of bad press surrounding store-bought pet food brands, from seemingly monthly food recalls to the widespread 2007 melamine contamination scandal, which led to 5,300 different products being recalled due to the presence of the toxic chemical.
As the melamine scandal showed, incorrectly produced pet foods can have large and lethal consequences. And, when three huge corporations (Nestlé, Mars, and J.M. Smucker) own nearly nine out of ten of all cat foods products on the shelves, an issue with ingredient quality or safety can have consequences that are difficult to avoid, without swearing off store-bought foods altogether.
But, it’s not all bad news for store-bought pet foods. Buying your cat’s dinner from a respected brand comes with the advantage of years of product testing and development. Most recipes are created by a team of experts according to AAFCO and state nutritional requirements. These steps ensure that every cat food product contains a minimum level of necessary nutrients, formulated in the correct ratio for your moggie.
Recreating the nutritional profile of branded cat food with home ingredients is definitely possible, but as we’ve said, it requires a large amount of work, and the right knowledge of where to source fresh, good quality ingredients. If you don’t have the time or resources for homemade foods, feeding your cat a store-brought brand is unlikely to put them at a disadvantage—as long as you make informed shopping decisions.
When selecting food products for your cat, always carefully read the ingredients label to make sure that the recipe includes a good source of protein as at least the primary (but ideally the top three) ingredients. Also look for the presence of good fats, and minor levels of carbohydrates, if any. Finally, ensure that a product fits your cat’s life stage and activity needs (e.g. active cat, kitten, senior.)