Which food is best for your kitty? Everyone has their own opinion on that. Personally, I get dry food all day and canned food at dinner. Ask your vet to prescribe the proper menu for your cat's individual needs. Here is some information on the different types.
Premium food, sold by pet stores and veterinarians are by far the best. These brands, also called professional or alternative foods, have much more nutrition than supermarket brands. Would you believe that in a recent study of different cat foods, a whopping 85% failed to meet the NRC (National Research Council) standards for the minimum levels of essential nutrients?! Another 50% failed to meet what their own labels promised! It's definitely worth the extra few cents to buy your cat the best available food. In the long run you will have a healthier pet. And a healthy pet save lots of vet bills! There are 4 types of cat food: canned, semi-moist, dry, and homemade (which we will discuss on the next page). Most experts agree that a mixture of dry and canned food at alternate meals is best.
Canned food is higher in fat but is more palatable than dry, making it an excellent choice for finicky kitties. Also, for cats with urinary problems - a condition that affects a lot of neutered males - canned food is better because of it's higher water content. From a storage point of view, of course, canned food does have a higher shelf life than dry or semi-moist food.
Semi-moist food comes in easy to open pouches that are also easy to store. It doesn't spoil if left out, as canned food does, and generally contains more nutrients than canned food. Semi-moist food does have it's disadvantages though. These foods often contain coloring agents that may be carcinogenic. It is also generally more expensive than equivalent measure in canned food.
Dry food is low in moisture and has a high concentration of nutrients. It's much cheaper than canned food and doesn't require refrigeration. It can be left out all day, which is an advantage for pet owners who like to free feed their cats instead of only at regularly scheduled meal times. Dry food also helps promote dental health because it helps remove tartar on the kitty's teeth. Also, it has more vitamins and minerals than canned or semi-moist food. The disadvantages are that dry food contains preservatives which can pose health problems for allergy-prone cats. They are also high in microorganisms (molds, insects, and fungi) which promote disease. Some cats simply do not like the taste of dry food and others can not digest the high fiber content. With the exception of a few specialized brands - the labels will tell you which - most dry cat foods are high in minerals, especially magnesium and salt, which in some cats may lead to urinary tract infection.