The best Maine Coon food: What is the difference between a natural, organic, holistic, even raw and homemade cat diet? Let's dive in!
It can seem like a daunting task, finding the best nutrition for your cat. Every brand claims to be the healthiest, best Maine Coon food on the market.
This sounds totally counter-intuitive! But researchers University of Guelph in Ontario conducted a study on how a vegan diet affects the health of pet cats.
The survey took place from June 2018 to March 2019 with 1,325 cat owners in Canada and the U.S. Just over 18% feeding cats a plant-based diet. Owners filled out an online questionnaire.
This contradicts conventional wisdom which points to cats' requiring key nutrients from meat, and without them can suffer heart, liver, skin and eye health problems.
It's important to note that the survey, which was published in BMC Veterinary Research was based on the owners’ perceptions of their cats’ health.
Cat owners are notoriously bad at evaluating their own cats health, so caution is advised. Also, health problems can take time, even years to surface.
Researchers consider this an interesting beginning, with more objective studies needed. It's definitely not recommended, just something interesting. 
Wheat gluten should be avoided especially if your cat is diabetic. The carbs consumed turn to sugar upon digestion, just like in people.
The Maine Coon food for diabetic kitties is high in protein, and low in carbohydrates. You can prepare meat yourself, or buy high-quality wet food. (Regular dry kibble tends to have a high carbohydrate content.)
This can really help, and in some cases eliminate, their symptoms.
Many have heard, sometimes from their veterinarian, that a diet of dry cat food helps protect against gingivitis. The action of chewing and crunching the dry kibbles helps to clean the teeth.
Studies have shown that feline's who have been fed a dry kibble diet, and especially those fed a dental-health specific kibble have developed significantly less tartar and gingivitis.
For many pet parents, a combination of dry and wet food gives them the best of both worlds. For others, the solution is to brush their kitty's teeth.
Fans of a raw diet point out that in the wild, when a cat tears and chews raw meat, the grinding and scraping action keeps teeth clean and healthy.
What does this really mean? There actually is a definition for natural cat food, according to The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO):
"A feed or ingredient derived solely from plant, animal or mined sources, either in its unprocessed state or having been subject to physical processing, heat processing, rendering, purification, extraction, hydrolysis, enzymolysis or fermentation, but not having been produced by or subject to a chemically synthetic process and not containing any additives or processing aids that are chemically synthetic except in amounts as might occur unavoidably in good manufacturing practices."
It's a mouthful. All the ingredients have to come from nature, and no man-made ingredients can be added, such as chemically synthetic additives.
So, this means that since meat by-products are natural, as are corn and wheat, these ingredients can be included.
It's not the USDA, but the AAFCO that oversees the manufacture of pet food. There is currently no official definition of "organic" by the AAFCO.
So there isn't really an industry standard when it comes to organic pet nutrition. It may differ by company. Some products are actually marked as being "USDA certified organic".
So, these companies have taken it upon themselves to produce organic cat food that meets the USDA specifications to be organic.
In this case, USDA organic would mean that the fruit, vegetable and grain ingredients are clear of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.
No synthetic preservatives, artificial color or flavor has been added. And, the livestock that was used was fed a natural diet and not given growth hormones or antibiotics.
This is another term not clearly defined by the AAFCO. But, there are guidelines that the companies who produce holisitic cat nutrition follow.
The term "holistic", with it's root word of "whole" has come to mean many things. In pet diets, it means that whenever possible, minimally processed whole-food ingredients are used.
So, this type of diet is made with ingredients containing the vitamins and minerals needed.
Also, the whole-body health of the animal is taken into consideration. Healthy skin and coat, hairball control, and weight management for example.
Where many brands of dry kibble will contain ingredients and additives we might not be able to pronounce, the list of ingredients on a bag of holistic cat food will read more like fresh items found at a supermarket or grocer.
The ultimate, the best Maine Coon food is a homemade or raw diet. Many pet owners make this commitment, and reap the benefits of having a pet who is absolutely in top condition.
There's no denying the fact that a diet of homemade, or raw cat food, prepared by an owner is the best Maine Coon food around.
It's also true that many folks simply aren't able to go that route. For many pet parents, these options are too expensive and/or too time-consuming. If so, buying a high-quality pet food is a great choice for a healthy pet!
Choosing the best Maine Coon food for your furry friend is the first step to providing a beloved pet with the longest, healthiest life possible. Not to mention fewer visits to the vet!
 Stevenson, J. (2021, March 14). Cats appear to be OK with vegan diets: Study. Torontosun. https://torontosun.com/news/cats-appear-to-be-ok-with-vegan-diets-study