Your furry friend is not only a companion but a member of your family too. As a pet owner, you’re prepared to go to great lengths to ensure your fur baby is well-fed, exercised, and vaccinated against fatal illnesses.
The right diet allows your furry pet to achieve significant milestones and stay with a healthy weight . While it’s easy to get cat food in pet stores, you must ensure that the food is nutritious and has the right ingredients to keep your pet in tip top position. Here we are going to examine the current trends as far as cat food is concerned. As a pet owner, this information will help you understand the best options for your furry four-legged friend.
1. Fruit and vegetables
Not so long ago, incorporating fruits into a cat diet was utterly unheard of. It didn’t make sense to feed a naturally carnivorous animal fruits and vegetables.
However, times have changed, and processors have realized that fruits rich in fiber increase the nutrition intake in pets. Fruit’s ingredients also improve food color, texture, and help in the control of product moisture. Other fruit additions also help to control some pet illnesses.
Today, you are likely to find cat foods rich in fruits in your local pet store. For instance, blueberries are now prevalent in pet foods as they contain antioxidant components. The use of citrus fruits in pet food formulation also rose by 437% in 2019 due to their high-fiber benefits.
Vegetables are now also being incorporated in cat foods. Broccoli, for instance, is a source of phytonutrients, while green leafy vegetables contain nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium. When mixed with other products, vegetables and fruits offer a full nutrition package for your cat.
2. Grain-based cat foods
Today, most cat foods contain labels such as ‘whole grain formulation’ and ‘contain grains.’
Many pet brands acknowledge the importance of grains in a cat’s diet. For instance, some brands offer grain-free and grain-inclusive foods in the same product line giving pet owners a variety to choose from.
This trend is an upturn in fortune for pet food manufacturers considering grain pet foods suffered a hit in 2019 following an FDA investigation on dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and its link to a grain-based diet.
3. Organic cat food
Many pet owners are turning to organic and self-grown food because most processed foods are believed to contain chemicals that are harmful to their pets.
Although it takes time and prior knowledge for pet owners to prepare and formulate organic food for their pets, many pet parents are willing to go the extra mile to ensure their pets get a healthy diet.
This trend is likely to result in an upsurge in the sale of organic cat foods by processors to meet the demand of their consumers.
4. Use of alternative sources of protein
While animal products are a major protein source for pets such as cats and dogs, manufacturers are exploring other options.
For instance, many pet food processors are exploring the use of insects as a source of protein. Insects form part of the human diet in various parts of the world due to their high protein value.
It’s no wonder that insects such as larvae and crickets are now being processed and incorporated in cat food as an alternative to animal-based protein. It’s also important to note that kittens have a higher requirement for protein and essential amino acids than older cats, so ensuring your kitten has very high levels of protein is paramount.
5. Meat by-product foods
While humans don’t consume all animal products, it doesn’t mean these products are low in nutrients. On the contrary, most of the animal parts we dispose of are usually very nutritious. For instance, chicken fat is rich in calories, and eggshells are a good source of calcium. Such animal parts are now becoming healthy additions to pet food.
Using animal by-products in pet food ensures sustainability as these parts are cheaper to source. The use of these by-products will also lower the cost of your cat food. Such products also reduce wastage and promote environmental conservation as most of these products often end up being disposed of.
6. Hygiene in food preparation and other safety concerns
Most cat owners are very particular on the conditions under which their feline foods are manufactured. Pets are members of our family, so we must be aware of what they eat and the conditions under which these foods are processed.
Many pet owners are taking time to research the manufacturing process of different pet foods before settling on a particular brand.
Undoubtedly, pet food processors are now emphasizing hygiene during the preparation of these foods to win their customers’ trust.
7. A rise in online purchases
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to stay indoors. This has limited many pet owners’ ability to shop in local pet stores physically. There has been a rapid rise in online shopping by pet owners, cat parents included.
Traditional food processors and sellers have had to move with the current online craze, and many have set up online shops to meet their customers’ needs. Many new sites have also been set up to give nutritional insights into pet food, as well as update owners on the latest recalls.
In conclusion, cat owners have become keener when sourcing for their animal’s food. Many are also open to new trends when it comes to their pet preferences. With the COVID-19 pandemic and the loss of jobs, the issue of sustainability continues to take center stage for many pet owners. Most products’ nutritional value is also a great concern for many feline owners, which has seen many manufacturers incorporate vegetable and fruit products into most cat foods.
This guest contribution was written by Jackie Brown.
Jackie is a pet writing expert with 20 years of experience in this field. Her main specialization is health, care, grooming and nutrition of cats and dogs. Jackie is a contributing writer for Catster and Dogster online magazines; she is a co-author of National Geographic’s Complete Guide to Pet Health, Behavior, and Happiness author of the book It’s Raining Cats and Dogs: Making Sense of Animal Phrases.
You can reach out to Jackie at jackiebrownwriter.wordpress.com.