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If you’re like most cat owners, then you’re lost when it comes to shopping for cat food. The truth is: most of us don’t know what to look for in cat food. We just trust that big brands have chosen the right mix of ingredients.

It’s time to be smarter about your cat food. Today, we’re giving you 5 easy ways to shop smarter when buying cat food.
Look for Foods That Emphasize Meats In Favor of Grains

Your cat is a carnivore. It’s evolved for thousands of years to eat meat. Why would you choose a cat food that has grains in it? 
The best cat foods have more meat and less grain in their top five ingredients. Ideally, you’ll purchase grain-free food for your cat. But if grain-free food is too expensive, then look for food with minimal amounts of grain in the top five most common ingredients.
And, if you’re buying cat foods with grain inside, make sure you choose a cat food with no corn, wheat, or soy. These three foods can trigger allergies in cats, according to WebMD.

Avoid Artificial Preservatives 

BHT, BHA, and ethoxyquin are all common cat food preservatives. These artificial ingredients can harm your cat and cause an unnecessary buildup of chemicals in your cat’s body.
Cats have evolved for thousands of years eating natural foods. Try to focus on foods with no artificial preservatives and whole, natural ingredients. 
Avoid Animal Byproducts
After looking for preservatives on your cat food, consider avoiding foods with byproducts. 
Now, there’s some debate over byproducts in cat food. Some people say they’re harmless. Others say that there’s no quality assurance when a cat food manufacturer labels something as “byproducts”. If you don’t want your cat to eat bones, fur, internal organs, and other byproducts, then look for foods that are byproduct-free. 

Pick Foods from Brands with a Good Safety Record

When shopping for cat food, it’s tempting to judge food based on its price. It’s true: higher-quality cat food is typically more expensive than lower-quality cat food. But among higher-quality brands, there still may be major differences in safety records.
Do a quick Google search for a pet food company before you make a purchase. Some companies have had multiple recalls over the years, indicating some problem with quality assurance. Other companies have had one scare, only to have improved their manufacturing quality afterwards. Avoid companies with recent food safety scares – like the deadly melamine cat food recalls from 2007 or some of the salmonella outbreaks that have occurred over the years. 

Dry Food Versus Canned Food

There’s a big debate among cat owners whether you should buy dry food or canned food for your cat. Those who favor canned food say cats have evolved to get moisture from their food, so they need moisture in their food today. Otherwise, they won’t drink enough water. Others claim that dry food just forces a cat to drink more water. 
Some people also believe that dry cat food helps a cat’s mouth stay cleaner, while others believe the opposite is true. 
Ultimately, the jury is still out on dry food versus canned food. Talk to your vet for additional information.