Debunking Cat Nutrition Myths
There are many different kinds of cat food on the market and an abundance of information circulating about them. A lot of the information regarding protein sources, grains, fillers, gluten or by-products can be conflicting, confusing, or incorrect altogether. Here’s what you need to know:
Meal or By-product?
Chicken meal by definition is "chicken with water and fat removed", as an ingredient it weighs less than chicken but can actually be higher in protein. The AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control) defines chicken by-products as "the ground, clean parts of the chicken, which include internal organs, bone/cartilage, and other parts". When processed properly, by-products provide valuable nutrients for your cat. They are excellent sources of quality protein, vitamins and minerals, and can help contribute to a balanced nutritional profile.
Should chicken be the first ingredient?
Just because chicken is listed first in the ingredient list doesn’t mean it’s a high protein diet. On the label, ingredients must be listed in order of descending weight. The total weight of the ingredient includes the water content. Since chicken meal is chicken with water and fat removed it will weigh less, but have a higher protein content.
The Importance of Grains
Grain doesn’t cause disease, and only an exceedingly small percentage of the cat population has a true dietary issue with it. In fact, properly processed corn can contain far more nutrients than ingredients commonly used as replacements in grain free diets. Corn gluten meal and wheat gluten are great sources of highly digestible protein, and wheat gluten contains amino acids that support gastrointestinal health.