As awareness in health and nutrition grows, so too grow the clever marketing schemes from big business pet foods. What we or our veterinarian thinks is a “fully balanced” diet for our cats – is often not so. So, what’s really in cat food? Well, let’s start by watching this video – and then continue reading as we examine some harsh truths…
The average cat parents likely knows that the ingredient list on our cat food (can or bag) is important and it lists the ingredients by quantity, from highest to lowest. What most don’t know, however, is that the meat is allowed to be weighed BEFORE it’s processed. This means that if the first ingredient is meat and the second ingredient is a carbohydrate – your cat is eating a high carb / low protein diet – and is at risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The video above did a fantastic job at explaining how the process works.
Now check out this ingredient list below and see if you can better decipher what’s in this popular (and fairly expensive) cat food:
Just so you know: This food is called “Healthy Metabolism Formula” – which is very deceiving to us cat parents who are looking for a good food for our babies.
It has been established that our cats, who are carnivores, should have meat as the first 3-4 ingredients of their food – at least. But now we have another question. Where do they get their meat? What about the quality of pet food ingredients?
Just because the label says ‘wholesome’, ‘natural’, ‘balanced’ or ‘healthy’ doesn’t mean that it is good enough for human consumption. If you run over a opossum in your car, do you think to stop and pick it up to feed your cat? Probably not. But the big brand pet food companies do. Whenever you see the term “meal” in your cat food ingredients, it means that the meat has been rendered. Rendering is the process in which various meats and by-products are emptied into a large machine and cooked for several hours. It kills the diseases that may lurk in the ingredients – and it also kills the natural enzymes. In addition to food animal scraps, rendering, by law, can include grocery store expired meat, road kill, diseased and disabled cattle, and even euthanized pets. The president of the AAFCO (the Association of American Feed Control Officials) admitted to the ‘possibility’ of euthanized pets being added as protein into pet food a few years back, and we still cannot find any regulations against allowing this type of meat into commercial pet foods. So THAT’S the quality of meat that you’ll get from most any pet food company that can afford huge advertisements, like the ones you see on TV.
Aside from the meat source, most cat foods also contains fillers, such as corn, wheat, rice or soy – and it absolutely should not. Cats can’t digest these grains and feeding them these ingredients can create major inflammation in their digestive system. This can lead to serious illnesses and diseases that your fur-baby should not have to battle. If these ingredients are at the top of your cat food list, please do your cat a favor and switch foods.
I always say that there’s a big difference between a pet owner and a pet parent. For those of you cat parents who only want the best for your kitties, we recommend either making your own balanced raw or cooked diet or purchasing canned cat food (moisture rich) that states “safe for human consumption”. In order to ensure that your homemade recipes are fully balanced, you MUST follow a recipe. There are cookbooks that can give you guidance to ensure you are not harming your cats instead of helping them.what’s really in cat food
It’s not easy to keep up with the pet food industry. Many of the high quality pet food companies will even end up selling out to the larger conglomerates because of an offer they couldn’t resist. The best way to know that your cat is getting a fully balanced diet is to be in control of it yourself.
So, as always, when it comes to cat food – we recommend a moisture-rich, species-specific diet with human-grade supplementation. All processed foods, whether canned or dry, are missing key enzymes that every cat body needs to function correctly. Following these guidelines will give your cat the best chance at having a long, happy and healthy life with you.