How to Choose The Right Food for Your Cat

Reading the Label isn’t just for Humans Anymore

Your cat is a beloved member of your family and you want to supply healthy, appealing

meals. However, the cat food industry has responded to the increased number of

homes with one or more cats as a reason to multiply the cat food formulas without

ensuring the quality. Recently a review of the cat food formulas found that although over

1700 different formulas from 100 different brands are on the market, only 152 formulas

of 36 brands are of high quality and recommended for your cat.


The primary issue considered in the review was quality ingredients. Numerous

interviews with veterinarians and cat owners, along with hundreds of hours spent

researching ingredients, resulted in four primary factors.


The First Ingredient

As with the food you select for the rest of your family, the first item listed on the label is

the one that weighs the most. Pure protein is vital to the health of carnivores like your

cat. Any formula that does not list a "whole protein" first was considered insufficient.

"Whole proteins" are specifically-named meat like chicken or salmon. These will retain

most of the original amino acids which are basic to the growth of the structural and

immune system. Over 505 cat food formulas were removed based on this factor alone.


Artificial or Controversial Ingredients

Chemically-based ingredients added for appearance or long shelf life were the next

issue. 311 formulas were disqualified for containing the following items.

  • Preservatives also dangerous for humans - BHA, BHT & Ethoxyquin have been found to cause cancer or tumors in laboratory animals.
  • Caramel Color – this artificial coloring does not contribute any nutritional value and some versions contain the carcinogenic chemical 4-Methylimidazole.
  • Sodium Nitrate – this chemical is viewed as controversial since when meats are cooked, they can form carcinogenic nitroso compounds.
  • Vitamin K3 – this water-soluble synthetic vitamin can damage liver function with prolonged consumption.


Questionable Ingredients

An additional number of ingredients are either unidentifiable or provide no benefits. Four

of the most notable concerns of this group that resulted in the removal of another 458

formulas are listed below.

  •  Ingredients also discouraged for humans – gluten, sugar and xanthan gum.These ingredients do not provide essential nutrients and can contribute toallergies, obesity, diabetes and diarrhea.
  •  Meat meal / meat byproduct – these "mystery meat" ingredients cannot be identified or evaluated.
  •  Rendered fat – another unknown ingredient, this item can also be made from diseased or disabled animals, or even roadkill.
  •  Garlic – garlic is considered controversial because it is linked to hemolytic anemia which causes red blood cells to burst.


Evaluation of the source of the ingredients resulted in the final 323 disqualifications.

Manufacturers from countries with lax food-quality laws or with significant recalls over

the past five years were eliminated. Similarly, any product for which the manufacturer

could not be clearly identified or which received high customer complaints was also



One of the best ways to keep your cat healthy and happy for many years is to ensure

their meals provide the essentials like whole proteins and natural preservatives like

vitamin C or vitamin E. Avoid undesirable ingredients like meat meal/byproduct,

rendered fat, sugar, thickening agents and chemicals. The first step is the simplest –

always read the label!


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