For both dry and wet food, what criteria can I use to determine on my own if it is a high quality food for my cats (normal, healthy cats)?
In the past I've had experiences where, when I told the vet what food I was using, they would say "Don't use that, it's not good food, use this other brand instead." How does the vet know? I would like be able to make those kinds of decisions on my own because the brand my vet explicitly recommends isn't always available.
However, it's problematic because price ("it's more expensive, it must be better"), packaging ("that design looks professional, it must be better"), and labeling ("the words 'healthy' and 'recommended' are on the package, it must be better") are very distracting. I don't actually know what I'm looking for. The only thing I'm somewhat confident about is choosing the appropriate target cat age based on labeling.
What should I look for in a good food?