What Makes Indoor Cat Food Different?

Most cat food brands offer an indoor cat food formula that they claim will make your cat healthier and leaner. Their theories are based on the animal's indoor environment, somewhat limited as it is, compared to outdoor cats who exercise more frequently and in many cases, chase their meal. Cats are natural born hunters and when they live outdoors, their meals are consistently what they can catch. Therefore, store bought cat food is meant to supplement that diet for when they come back to the house periodically.

Less Exercise, Fewer Calories

An indoor cat food formula has been designed for cats who don't have the freedom to roam the great outdoors, living the life of adventure. This type of formula, first and foremost, has been created with an eye towards fewer calories per serving. To do this, the companies substitute meat products in favor of high fiber vegetable components, thus lowering the protein and fat content in the food while adding the nutrients your cat would get from eating outdoor greens, such as grass. However, a cat needs protein and, in the wild, its diet would be rich with it from all of the prey it would stalk and eat. These proteins would be worked off through the amount of exercise the cat would get from chasing its food. By substituting fiber for protein, the indoor cat isn't necessarily getting a healthier meal. Cats who are gaining weight because of their limited indoor routine don't necessarily need to have their protein taken from them in their food, but instead should have multiple opportunities to exercise in and around the home.


Considering the substitutions made by the food companies, there is a concern that these indoor formulas rely too heavily on sub-par ingredients in order to back up the claims made on the label. Since proteins are eschewed in favor of fiber elements to keep the cat more fit, the indoor dry foods contain a whole list of ingredients that some cat owners don't feel comfortable feeding their pet. Heavy gluten meals, poultry byproducts, cellulose, salts, flours and other various additives and extracts are all items found on the labels of these types of dry indoor foods.

Help or Hype?

Some consumers also feel that the indoor cat food formula is simply a marketing gimmick, used to confuse pet owners into buying the company's product, thinking that there really isn't a major difference. They believe that these formulas are rich in carbohydrates and aren't really best for a cat's nutrition after all. Many believe that the only way to keep your cat healthy and happy is to keep the animal active. If your pet is gaining weight, feeding him a high quality food at fewer intervals is really the best way to approach the problem.