Cat Food Ingredients
It’s important to feed your cat a diet that contains high-quality cat food ingredients, just like it’s essential to eat a diet with high-quality ingredients for your health. Unfortunately, many pet owners don’t know which ingredients are good and which are harmful. We hope to clear this up today by talking about common cat food ingredients, as well as which to avoid and which to look for in your cat’s food.
Cat Food Common Ingredients
There are different types of cat food available, including grain free cat food, dry cat food, wet cat food, raw cat food, and more. However, many main ingredients are the same across these different kinds of diets. The basic components of most cat foods are:
- Protein source (meat or meat meal).
- Carbs (grains and vegetables).
- Fats (from meat or oil).
- Vitamins and minerals (from produce or supplement).
The most important cat food ingredient by far is the protein source, because cats are carnivores. This means that, unlike humans and other omnivores, they have to eat meat in order to survive, and they could survive on a diet of only meat. Choose a cat food with high-quality meat ingredients to provide your cat with the best care. Any meat source that they enjoy and are not sensitive to can be a good choice.
Cats are also able to eat plant matter, although it is not as important as meat and they are not always able to get the full nutrients out of it. For this reason, plant matter is sometimes used for nutritional value in cat food, but it can also be used as filler.
Cat Food Ingredients to Avoid
Some ingredients commonly included in cat food are not good for your cat’s health. By learning what ingredients to avoid in cat food, you can make healthier choices for your pet.
Preservatives like BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin are often used in animal feed, including cat food, because they extend the shelf life of the product. However, these chemicals are known to damage the liver, increase the risk of cancer, and cause other health issues in pets. If you see these ingredients on a cat food label, it’s best to avoid that food.
Artificial food dyes should also be avoided in cat food. Dyes like Blue 2, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and Red 40 have been linked to everything from allergies to cancer in humans as well as animals. Unlike humans, cats aren’t concerned with the color of their food, so the artificial dyes don’t even serve the purpose of making cat food more appetizing. Artificially dyed food isn’t any more appealing to your cat than non-dyed food, and it is often worse for their health, so try to avoid artificial dyes in cat food.
High-Quality Cat Food Ingredients
While the primary ingredients of cat food are the same across the board, there can be a significant difference in quality. For the healthiest cat food, look for these ingredients:
- Specific meat source.
- Cat-safe carbs.
- Specific fat source.
Cat food made with high-quality meat will name the source of the protein; for example, you may see “turkey”, “lamb”, or “chicken” on the label. Generic “meat” on a label often indicates low-quality cuts and meat scraps, which should be avoided.
Although carbs are often considered “filler” in cat food, they can be important for maintaining the texture or binding the cat food’s other ingredients together. It’s best to look for carbs like peas or potatoes, as cheaper and more common carbs like corn and wheat are common allergens for cats.
Fat sources, like protein sources, will be named when they are from high-quality ingredients. Chicken fat, sunflower oil, and flaxseed oil are a few options you might see in healthy cat food.
Finally, healthy cat food should contain a sufficient amount of taurine, an amino acid that is critical for the health of cats and dogs. Cat food that is deficient in taurine can lead to serious health problems over time.
We hope that this article has made you a better-informed shopper when it comes to cat food ingredients. Check out our product reviews to find specific items within your budget to fit your cat’s dietary and other needs.
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