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The Mysteries of Cat Food

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hello Everyone!

I am sorry if this is a repeat post, but I read through many pages of previous posts and couldn't find anything that addressed this specifically...

What makes a quality cat food?? What ingredients should I look for? How do I know if one is better than another?

Right now Kiwi (10 weeks old) is eating dry food whenever she wants to (I wash and top up her dry food and water bowls every morning) and wet food for kittens usually every evening (1/3 of a can) but somtimes she isn't interested in it. Both foods are Iams kitten formula.

I only chose that brand because it was the only name-brand food my grocery store had (other than store-brand 'meal for cats', which seemed scary to me) As we live in a really small town, and the nearest pet store is 90 minutes away.

Any thoughts??
post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleCJ-7 View Post
What makes a quality cat food?? What ingredients should I look for? How do I know if one is better than another?
That is an excellent question. People, especially in these forums, tend to use the term "quality food" as if it has a precise definition that everyone agrees on. The truth there are many things to consider when deciding what you think is a quality cat food and not everyone puts the same level of importance to the same things.

My short answer for what I consider to be a "quality food" is one that is low carb ( <10% carbs on dry matter (DM) basis), moderate fat (at least 20-30% of DM) and high protein ( at least 45% DM). I don't object to the inclusion of byproducts as long as they aren't the main (first label ingredient) protein source. Others don't want to see byproducts included at all. I also don't consider any dry food to qualify as a "quality food" but others certainly disagree.

As far as specific ingredients, I don't like to see fruits and veggies included but as long as the above criteria are met I wouldn't pass on a food that has them. Other than that I only avoid ingredients that I know my kitties are sensitive to.

I'm sure the "others" will respond soon with their take on the question.
post #3 of 8
To me the lack of moisture in dry food makes any dry food unacceptable for cats regardless of the ingrediants

What makes top quality? To me a muscle meat like chicken as the first ingrediant, not organ meat or meal or anything else.
Nothing in the food that can cause problems. That means no grains.
The first key to understand cat food is being able to understand what things mean
What is meal? what are byproducts?

http://www.catinfo.org/#Learn_How_To...gredient_Label

http://www.api4animals.org/facts.php?p=359&more=1

http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/Spri...ngredients.htm
post #4 of 8
I would have to disagree on the organ meat. That is where many of the nutrients are. It has been said that the difference between us the Inuit is that they feed their dogs the muscle meat and eat the organ meat; we eat the muscle meat and feed the organ meat to our animals.
post #5 of 8
I thought "meal" as in Chicken Meal was better then just "Chicken"
post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by *Pepper* View Post
I thought "meal" as in Chicken Meal was better then just "Chicken"
In a dry matter it is ... ie dry food ...

Anything can Cause an issue ... many many cats are allergic to various proteins that are meat and not grain ..lol.. for those who have been researching this stuff for yrs it is still clear as mud

I okay organ meats in a raw form or in a canned food ... the analysis of dry foods with organ meats included are often off and a third party often find the % to be off... By products of a meat are NOT just organs ... and thus I prefer to exclude them .. now I often give things like tripe or visera if fresh and source is known to me

In your case I suggest reading the label .... in a canned food aim for minimal to no grains.. to hold down carbs look for foods that have meat or organs as the first five or more ingrediants ( this usually = carbs under 10%)
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by *Pepper* View Post
I thought "meal" as in Chicken Meal was better then just "Chicken"
I think the reasoning behind that is that when you see "chicken" as the first ingredient, it's only there because of weight with water content and that the true place on the ingredient list is usually much further down. So it's not that chicken is better than chicken meal, it's just that when you see ingredients that say "chicken, chicken meal, rice, etc." that chicken is not actually the main ingredient and instead it's chicken meal.

To the original poster: can you order food online from somewhere like petfooddirect.com? If you do a google search for petfooddirect coupons, there are usually 20% off ones. If not, do you live by any feed stores? I never thought to look for cat food at a feed store but they usually have excellent choices. What brands does your grocery store carry?
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by optionken View Post
To me the lack of moisture in dry food makes any dry food unacceptable for cats regardless of the ingrediants

What makes top quality? To me a muscle meat like chicken as the first ingrediant, not organ meat or meal or anything else.
Nothing in the food that can cause problems. That means no grains.
The first key to understand cat food is being able to understand what things mean
What is meal? what are byproducts?

http://www.catinfo.org/#Learn_How_To...gredient_Label

http://www.api4animals.org/facts.php?p=359&more=1

http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/Spri...ngredients.htm
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
I would have to disagree on the organ meat. That is where many of the nutrients are. It has been said that the difference between us the Inuit is that they feed their dogs the muscle meat and eat the organ meat; we eat the muscle meat and feed the organ meat to our animals.
We seem to each interpret this statement differently. I understood OptionKen's response to mean that organ meat should not be first on the list of ingredients not that it shouldn't be there at all. One of us is likely wrong.
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