Cat Food Explained: Kibbles vs Fresh Food

As pet owners, we all want to make sure that our feline friends get the nutrition that they deserve, while hopefully not burning a hole through our wallets. However, which cat food type is better?

Today we examine two types of foods available for our cats: Kibble and Fresh Food. 

What is Kibble?

Kibble is essentially dry, processed cat food that is typically made of highly processed, dried ground animal parts (usually beef or chicken), cereals and additives. But they are mostly cereals. 

Dry cat food was developed to use up by products of the food chain and supply your cat’s minimum nutrient requirements. Common chemical compounds found in the ingredients list consist mainly of vitamins and minerals needed since these ingredients used are mostly devoid of micronutrients.

The way that kibble is made is more or less similar to how cereals are made for human consumption. First, ingredients are pulverised and mixed into a dough – this is also where any sort of vegetable, meat or grain is crushed and mixed together with bulking materials (e.g. flour or starch). The moist paste-like substance is then put through a high heating process to cook the ingredients. Once fully cooked, the dough is then pushed through holes to form the pellet shapes that expand when in contact with air.

At this stage, the pellets still have moisture in them and are then placed in an oven to remove any form of moisture. Only then, makers add a topcoat to the pellets which contain necessary vitamins lost during the cooking process along with any flavouring (e.g. to taste like chicken). Once this is all done, the pellets are then poured into bags and shipped to stores for purchase.

Considering the way that kibble is processed, it is no surprise that it often does not contain enough nutrition that your cat may need, which is why many cat owners tend to stay away from a kibble-only diet.

That being said, many pet owners see kibble as an efficient and cost friendly way to provide calories for their felines (especially for thin cats). They are also seen as easier to handle compared to their wet food counterparts.

What is fresh food?

Fresh cat food refers to food that is made with fewer to no preservatives. Be it made at home or produced at a facility, the main point is that they do not contain preservatives and require the need to be refrigerated or frozen. Compared to kibble which is highly processed, fresh cat food contains natural sources of vitamins, fatty acids and minerals which are more easily digestible for your feline. This also helps to maintain a healthy body weight as opposed to stuffing your pet with carbohydrates that it doesn’t need.

Another big reason as to why fresh food is beneficial to cats is that they are great for supplementing hydration compared to their kibble counterparts. This is good news as our cats are known to have a naturally lower thirst drive which may put them at risk of developing urinary tract or kidney problems in the long run.

Fresh food is also popular among the picky eaters in the feline community considering they replicate the type of meat-based protein that they would consume as obligate carnivores.

By mimicing the type of food that our cats would eat in the wild through fresh food, this allows for better digestion of the foods, less shedding and hairballs, less likelihood to be obese, increased energy and lower risks for urinary tract problems. An added benefit is also that of reduced volume and odour of your cat’s stools as their bodies will use most of the food they digest as opposed to expelling them out.

Strictly speaking there’s more to cat food than it being kibble or fresh. At the end of the day we have to consider the moisture content and nutritional value of the foods that are best suited to the needs of our feline friends. Each cat is unique and requires different things. For an obese cat (as many are in today’s modernised world) fresh food may serve as a better option considering that they are lower in carbohydrates and higher in necessary meat-based proteins that our cats need.

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