Honestly, we could just say "yes" and leave it that. But okay, let's dive into this a bit more.
Commercial cat food is specifically formulated to meet your feline friend's nutritional needs, providing them with the vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy. Most cat foods contain high-quality protein sources – such as chicken, fish, or beef – that cats need to maintain muscle mass and overall body function. (Remember, cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need a diet rich in animal protein to thrive.)
Commercial cat foods also contain specific nutrients that are essential for feline health, like taurine (yes, the stuff that's in Red Bull). Taurine plays an important role in maintaining good vision, heart health, and reproductive function in cats. By eating the right cat food regularly, your cat can get all the nourishment they need even if you don't supplement their diet with anything else.
Remember, feeding your cat homemade meals or human food may not always provide the complete balance of nutrients required for their well-being. Some human foods, like chocolate or onions, can even be toxic to cats. Even foods that are merely SEASONED with ingredients like onion or garlic powder can be extremely dangerous; it's easier to accidentally poison a cat than many pet parents realize. So now we've arrived at another major benefit of sticking with commercial cat food: You can rest assured it won't contain any toxic ingredients.
Admittedly, not all commercial cat foods are created equal. To pick the healthiest option, look for foods that list a high-quality protein source as the first ingredient, and avoid those with artificial colors or preservatives. The AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) seal can also be a reliable sign that the food meets basic nutritional standards.
If you're undecided between hard or wet cat foods, there are various factors you can consider. Hard food can be a dental hygiene boost for your cat, helping to scrape off plaque and tartar as they chew. Wet food, on the other hand, is easier to eat and can be better for hydration; it's especially useful for kitties who don't drink enough water.
As always, consult your veterinarian before introducing a new food into your pet's diet! If your cat eats a new type of cat food and is showing signs of illness such as lethargy, diarrhea, or vomiting, reach out to your veterinarian immediately. If they require veterinary care due to anything they ate, pet insurance can help cover the cost of treatment.