Greeting my friends, in this article “What’s In Our Cat’s Food? You Won’t Believe What I Discovered“ I will be discussing what ingredients are printed on the label of our cat’s food and what those foreign words mean.
While companies should include nutritious ingredients when in fact it’s the opposite! Unless you have time to make all the food for your cat nevertheless we have to rely on pet food manufacturers to make the best food for our cats?
We always strive to feed our indoor cats nutritious/healthy foods! It got me to thinkin’ that maybe… just maybe there’s more to what manufacturers are putting in our furry child’s food than we know about. You will find out The Shocking Truth! What’s in Our Cats Food?
Let’s take a look at what I have found!
The big-dog-brands (well-known brands) have meat-by-products and meat meal-by-products as listed ingredients on their labels!
As I read further I ended up going down the rabbit hole of questionable health “benefits” or the lack thereof for this so-called-“meat” in our precious cat’s food!
What’s In Our Cat’s Food? You Won’t Believe What I Discovered!
Let’s Jump Down The Rabbit Hole Together! … ready? JUMP!
Did you know…
Pet food is a billion-dollar industry? Only 7 companies account for 86% of the market share of the pet food industry!
Sounds like a monopoly to me, don’t you?
From 1996 to 2002 pet food companies jumped on the “natural” and “organic” train! And it was moving fast down the track since the recall of the melamine pet food crisis!
Every manufacturer tried to steer clear of this recall scandal and make their cat food more enticing with……
The word game!
Companies started labeling their pet food as “organic”, “natural”, “vegan,” and now “holistic”
Soon consumers grew suspicious of the tactics of the big-dog-brands. Smaller companies joined in on the bandwagon, with a more trustworthy appearance,
Consumers Ate them up!!! Nothing Could Stop Them Now!
And they were not leary of the little guys as they were the big guys! They made a name for themselves in the pet food industry!
Who regulates the labeling of pet food you might ask?
The label is regulated by the FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration)
And get this…
Most states have supported the recommendations of AAFCO! More on AAFCO in a minute.
Wording on Labels
Such as “natural,” “holistic,” “gourmet,” and “fresh“! Disregard those 4 words, they are to distract and misinform you! Have you ever seen “gluten-free” or “grain-free” printed on labels for cat food? I’m sure you have as well as I have!
Unlike us humans, cats have not been identified as being intolerant to gluten/gluten-free or grain-free.
I’ve heard people have gluten allergies and heck, I’m one of them. But have you ever heard of cats being diagnosed with gluten/grain intolerance?
Call me silly, or not, it’s their game and we’re not playin’ it…
Now, does your cat have food allergies to grains, proteins or carbohydrates?
Once you cut the foods that bother your cat’s tummy then you will be able to pinpoint the culprit and remove it from their diet.
What’s in Our Cats Food? Hard to Believe!
The grains and gluten are not harmful to most cats (pets) and do not need to be cut out of your cat’s diet.
Go by the specific reactions of your cat’s body and how their particular body/chemistry reacts to a specific ingredient.
Sounds simple? Yes, it does!
For more information read this awesome article “How To Decide Which Pet Food to Purchase” written by Dr. Jennie Rubenstein (Veterinarian)
Dr. Rubenstein talks about the percentages of proteins and the nutrients and the water percentages you need to look for in your cats (pets) food.
Let’s move forward to AAFCO.
Association of American Feed Control Officials
AAFCO Definitions of “Meat”
AAFCO is a “voluntary membership association of local, state and federal agencies charged by law to regulate the sale and distribution of animal feeds and (animal drug remedies).”
You can read more on their website here
This voluntary association does not regulate pet food or inspect anything and I repeat- They can not inspect or regulate anything!
Why? Because they are not a government agency, they are a group.
Subsequently, their members are government agencies representing the 50 states and Canada and (US Food and Drug Administration, Center of Veterinary Medicine, FDA CVM) the federal government?
Confusing Isn’t It?
And they don’t regulate or inspect anything because they’re not a government agency yet, the members of this group are all part of the government agencies they represent…
And this agency does have a say in things because manufacturers follow their guidelines!
Is your head spinning yet? Mine are! Well… that’s kind of normal for me… but I digress…
Here are the 3 agencies that will work together:
• AAFCO • FDA CVM and • your state government
Go this way to get the complete article, Here
- This post may contain affiliate links, which means I will make a commission at no extra cost to you should you click through and make a purchase
The Truth Will Shock You!
Yeah, that kind of shock!
Meat-by-products: Slaughterhouse Mammals, limited to:
- Brain, blood, bone, lungs, partially defatted low-temperature fatty tissue, stomachs and intestines freed from their contents. meaning wash and clean and disinfect before this “meat” is used in your cat’s (pets) foods. (cleaned and disinfected with what?)
- What is NOT allowed: Hair, horns, teeth, and hoofs.
Meat By-Products Meal: The meat meal is cooked (rendered) to kill the bacteria contaminants and dried from slaughterhouse mammals. Includes:
- Not limited to: lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, liver, blood, bone, partially defatted low-temperature fatty tissue, and stomach & intestines freed of their contents.
- What is NOT allowed: Hair, horns, teeth, and hoofs.
Now for the AAFCO definition of “Meat” get ready for this one!
- Meat- is the clean flesh of slaughterhouse mammals: but limited to the striated muscle, with or without the accompanying and overlying fat & portions of the skin, sinew, nerve and blood vessels which accompany the flesh!
Here is a quote from the article What is in Pet food? AAFCO website:
“In addition to using the term “meat,” the pet food manufacturer may also identify the species from which the meat is derived, such as “beef” or “pork.” However, to use the generic term “meat” on the label, it can only be from cattle, pigs, sheep or goats. If it comes from any other mammal, the species must be identified (for example, “buffalo” or “venison”), so you can rest easy that if any other species were used, it would have to be declared. Also, if the muscle is from non-mammalian species, such as poultry or fish, it cannot be declared as “meat” but must use the appropriate identifying terms.”
Let’s Put It Another Way
“To put it another way, it is most of the parts of the animal other than the muscle tissue, including the internal organs and bones. It includes some of the parts people eat (such as livers, kidneys, and tripe), but also parts that are not typically consumed by humans in the US. Some by-products, like udders and lungs, are not deemed “edible” by USDA for human consumption, but they can be perfectly safe and nutritious for animals not inclined to be swayed by the unappealing nature of these parts of animals. As with “meat,” unless the by-products are derived from cattle, pigs, sheep or goats, the species must be identified.”
The report also states that poultry and fish cannot be declared “meat.”
What is it really saying? That the AAFCO is not able to do what?
And what exactly does “rendered” mean anyway?
“The rendering process is made to destroy disease-causing bacteria, where the “meat-by-products” are subject to heat and pressure, removing most of the fat and water and leaving primarily minerals and protein and the rendered product is from mammal tissues and is exclusive to any added blood, hair, horn, hidden trimmings, manure (what? possible manure that may contaminate the pet food during this process?) stomach and rumen content, except in such amounts as to may occur unavoidably in good processing practices”
All this time we were thinking we were feeding our cats good food. We have learned to trust well-known brands. I wonder if they feed their pets the food they make for the public?
What do you think?
How Do I Feed My Cat Healthy Foods?
Well, as cat parents, eat pretty healthy and watch what we put in our bodies and it’s not any different for our cats.
So now we can make educated food choices for our fur babies and we can make sure to feed them healthy foods moreover, there are several brands that are healthy and organic for our pets.
For instance, you can make your fur baby’s food recipes here
I certainly feel more educated now than I did going into this article. Don’t you and oh my gosh there is so much more to learn.
Now my head is spinning!
See, I told you it happens all the time! 🙂
Meanwhile, when the big cats in the wild and feral cats hunt for food they eat the organs first because the organs are a richer source of nutrients that a cat needs to survive in the wild.
And they instinctively know what they need to eat such as the cats don’t eat fur or manure. At least I don’t think they do.
They just know what they need to survive and they just do it!
Our little felines have this instinct in their genes and they will tell you what’s good and what’s not!
Are We Listening?
Do you accept what the pet food industry deems as nutritious food for our cats (pets)?
Some have made them sick and some cats just turn their noses up at some of that nasty food that is out there! I know my fur babies have!
What are your thoughts thus far? I know I will be extra careful in selecting food for my baby girl! What about you?
Undoubtedly, read that label and find out what the words mean and if you don’t recognize them. Look them up and do your research because it’s always rewarding to learn new things, isn’t it?.
Well, I hope you found this article helpful and if you have any information you would like to share, leave it in the comments section. What other ingredients have you found on pet food labels?
Take care and we’ll talk to you soon!
Meowz to you!
Donna Rayne & Sammie Mae
Copyright © 2019 Donna Rayne’s Blog, All rights reserved.
Founder of mrsparrowshealthycat.com
Writer and member of the partnership program at Quora.com