What’s in the cat food?
The health of our domestic tigers is crucial. And of that, there is no doubt. However, it is not as easy to choose, in a forest of opportunity, the right food and brand for the individual and specific feline. That’s why we at GcomeGatto have been reading and trying to understand what’s in cat food and have compiled a guide to reading the ingredients. 1040 form 2020 year is available already.
First of all, what is allowed to be found in cat food?
On a simplified level, cat food tends to consist of meat, fish, other proteins such as eggs or cheese, vegetables and cereals. To this are added preservatives and additives of various kinds, which we will discuss in detail later.
A good analysis of what might end up in our shopping cart starts with the ability to interpret the list of ingredients.
The list of ingredients: elements and percentages
The first detail to remember, when trying to evaluate a pet food, is that the ingredients are arranged in order of quantity, from most to least present in the feed. In some cases, specific percentages are also present.
For example, if the list reads “meat, corn, spinach”, it means that it is the meat that is present in greater quantities. Which is a good sign, as our felines are carnivores by nature.
However, this brief analysis should not be enough to make a decision.
Water and… logic, and because they are fundamental
It may sound like a joke, but logic must never fail to evaluate what we encounter in life. In this specific case, let’s take for example a list of ingredients like the one below: “meat, wheat, corn.” Certainly meat is the first ingredient, but if there is a string of completely foreign elements to follow, in proportion to the total, meat is unlikely to be predominant. Nor should the role of water be underestimated.
It is a little more difficult to explain the importance of water, but we try.
Meat contains about 75% water, wheat between 8% and 18%. This means that when these two foods are cooked, the meat will lose much more water, since it contains more water, and the percentage of meat in the finished food will be drastically reduced. Wheat, on the other hand, containing a smaller percentage of water, will remain almost unchanged.
Ultimately, even if the term “Meat” is indicated first, the actual amount of meat present in the finished food will be less than the amount of wheat.
Water is also relevant in the difference between dry and wet food. Dry and wet food are produced in different ways. The dry food is made from a dough, then cut into the desired shapes and finally dried. The wet dough, on the other hand, does not undergo drying, is sealed and only after it has been cooked in water. In both cases, there is no raw food inside, the food is cooked, although in a different way.
This means that, in the dry, the meat tends to reduce and, without water, also various nutrients are lost. This is not the case with wet food, which retains a certain percentage of water.
This guide to reading the ingredients of cat food cannot but go on to provide information about the specific wording of the ingredients.
Before going into the specifications, it is worth explaining the difference between ‘fresh’ and ‘dehydrated’, which is crucial when it comes to meat and fish. Fresh’ is the element introduced into the mash as it is; the problem, as explained above, is that during cooking water makes other ingredients take up more space. The dehydrated element is defined as such because the water has been removed (by drying, for example) before it was put into the mixture and therefore the percentage of meat declared is the actual one. It tends to be preferred to fresh meat. Meat’, whether of meat or fish, is a product derived from mammalian tissue, including organs, deprived of blood, hair, feathers, hooves, horns, beaks, skin and digestive tract contents, which are ground and dried.
Meat or fish?
Meat, as all readers will be aware, is essential to the cat’s diet as it provides taurine and arginine, two essential amino acids found only in animal tissue. Having said this, the meat used is in general either mammal or bird meat; the wording “meat” includes muscle, fat and tendons, whilst only in the latter are the bones present, which makes it less nourishing. Speaking of wording, to the “fresh meat” is to be preferred the “dehydrated meat”, as explained before. A specific mention deserves the “meat meal”. Here the schools of thought are different: there are those who consider it a complete argument, and those who accuse it of being too rich in minerals by taking away space for proteins.
Fish is a little fatter than meat, but is otherwise equivalent on a nutritional level. Where the wording is “fish” (naturally declined in the specific type), we are talking about the muscle of the fish. Also in this case there is “dried fish” as in “fresh”. Specific to the topic is the so-called “fish oil”. If properly treated, it contains lipids and beneficial fatty acids. It is worth avoiding feed in which ‘fish derivatives’ and ‘fish meal’ are present in high quantities. Fish derivatives’ refers to bones, fins, entrails and heads, i.e. waste. Fish meal’ is derived from muscle, bones and fins and is deprived of the valuable ‘fish oil’.
On the next page: animal derivatives, plant elements, additives and preservatives.