Is the more expensive food the better one?


Q. I always feel a little guilty for feeding my cat plain old kibble from the supermarket. Some of my friends buy much more expensive brands from pet shops. Should I be rethinking my choice of cat food?

Kelly Delia
Bloomfield, Michigan

Dear Ms. Delia,

A. This is a common question. The short answer is that the cost of the food is not a good indicator of its quality or healthfulness for your pet. What counts is the statement that mentions AAFCO — the Association of American Feed Control Officials. It’s often found scrunched up in small print on the side of the bag. If it says that the food was formulated to meet the AAFCO nutrition profile for your cat or, better still, was actually tested and found to meet cats’ nutrition needs according to the AAFCO standards, you’re generally making a good choice. That’s an infinitely better indicator of the food’s value for your cat than how much it costs.

Just make sure you’re getting the food for the right stage of your cat’s life:

  • “For all life stages” means the food is fine for a cat of any age.
  • “Maintenance” means strictly adult cats.
  • “Growth and reproduction” means strictly kittens and pregnant or lactating cats.


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