With many different cat food sold on the market these days, choosing the right cat food for your cat becomes extremely difficult. How will a cat owner know which is the best one for his cat? Natural, holistic, grain free, breed specific, the list just goes on and on. In reality no cat food would claim to be the best, picking the right cat food for your cat isn’t about reading the label on the front, but understanding the ingredients listed on the back of the bag.
The first ingredients are the most vital as these are what the food will largely be made of. Association Of American Feed control officials (AAFCO) states that ingredients in a pet food should be labeled according to weight, from most to least, this means that regardless of how many ingredients listed on the bag of the cat food, the first three ingredients is what it is primarily made of. If they are good, then the rest are going to be inevitably good.
The first ingredient should always be meat, meat protein is the most costly part of any pet food.
Let’s talk about meat vs meat meal vs By-product meal, if the ingredient is chicken then that’s what it is, chicken meat. Another ingredient may be chicken meal, many people assume that meat meals are dangerous, but this isn’t true, once chicken is cooked, it looses 80% of its weight due to the evaporation of moisture in the meat.
A meat meal such as chicken, is the chicken meat that’s already dehydrated, so it then looses none of it’s weight in the manufacturing process, this creates a food with more meat protein.
By-product meal is an inferior source of protein, they’re the left over pieces of a meat, like, head, feathers, feet, e.t.c.
Many companies claim that, by-product meals are the same as chicken meat however they are not. That is why they’re labeled differently. Cats need a lot of proteins than dog, if you’ve noticed that cat food are costlier than dog food, that is because the meat protein in the food is usually the most expensive part. This is also why many pet food companies would attempt to substitute actual meat protein with whatever they can. Like corn, wheat or rice to cut down on their cost and make more money.
Here is where it gets tricky, if a food starts with meat but next ingredients are corn, rice and wheat collectively, there is actually more grain in the food than meat. The meat may weigh more than corn, rice or wheat separately, but it will not weigh more than all these ingredients together.
While choosing the right cat food for your cat, another thing to watch out for, is if a grain (wheat, rice, or corn) appears in a food more than once in several forms. For instance wheat, wheat middling, wheat gluten or rice, brewer’s rice and rice and rice hills. This is called ingredient splitting. Cat food manufacturers do that to make the cat food appear to be healthy and make it more grain than meat, this is done because grain is cheaper.
So when choosing the right cat food for your cat take a look at the first ingredients they’re the most important, they should comprise of meat, meat meal and carb.
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