How my cat came to eat better than I do.

We've had, Koal (our cat) for more than a year now and I thought I'd write a little bit about how his diet has evolved since he adopted us. As a new cat owner, I had no idea what to feed him. How hard could it be? You go to Wal-Mart and look for the cat food section and buy a bag of cat food. Just out of curiousity, I thought I'd look at the ingrediant list of that colorful bag of cat food that promised all this wholesome goodness for the development of my growing kitten and it read something like this ......okay, it read exactly like this:

Ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal, meat and bone meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), corn germ meal, soybean meal, turkey by-product meal, brewers dried yeast, phosphoric acid, animal digest, tetra sodium pyrophosphate, potassium chloride, salt, dried chicken liver, added color (Red 40, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Blue 2 and other color), choline chloride, taurine, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, niacin, manganese sulfate, calcium carbonate, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), copper sulfate, riboflavin supplement (Vitamin B-2), Vitamin B-12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), sodium selenite. D-5005.

I spend a good part of my day consulting and advising patients about their health problems and how to prevent them with nutrition in addition to my other duties as a primary care provider so I know a bit about nutrition, but I'm certainly not an animal dietitician. I do know from all my viewing of the animal planet, I've never seen a tiger stalk and bring down a fiesty ear of corn. Really, the number one ingrediant is yellow corn meal and then corn gluten meal. This stuff is crap in a bag, I thought. I picked up another brand and it read pretty much the same and then another and another. Meanwhile, other customers are putting Special Kitty and Friskies in their cart and going on their merry way like nothing is wrong. Not one of those bags on the shelf had an acceptable first ingrediant except for a brand called Maxximum which is the Wal-Mart brand. Some had Chicken byproduct as a first ingrediant, but that is not even meat or innards. It's all the other bits that don't qualify as meat.

Maxximum lists chicken, chicken meal and then brewers rice (which is a waste product/filler with no nutritional content). Chicken is the #1 ingrediant! That's great, I'll buy that. Things gain priority on the ingrediant list by wieght. I found out later that with the water content, Chicken is the first ingrediant by wieght, but after the water is taken out after processing, It falls to a lower place on the ingrediant list. So, it's actually not #1 but probably 3, 4 or who knows what. Chicken meal is the ingrediant to look for as a #1 ingrediant. Chicken meal is the #2 ingrediant after chicken which actually makes it #1 in Maxximum cat food. Chicken meal has a higher chicken content than just chicken when it come to looking at ingrediants.  In general, any meat that has the word "meal" after it is a better bet than a product that just list the meat itself. Maxximum cat food is head and shoulders above any other cat food that Wal-Mart sells. All the others are almost quite literally crap in a bag. So, if in a bind, buy Maxximum. It's about the same price as the others, I can't believe anyone would buy anything else if they only shop at Wal-Mart.

So, I thought I'd cut out all the second guessing and just by Eukanuba at $17:00 a bag and get it over with. After all it's the best and cost $5:00 more. Eukanuba's ingrediants are:

Chicken, Chicken By-Product Meal, Chicken Liver, Corn Grits, Corn Meal, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Fish Meal (source of fish oil), Dried Beet Pulp (sugar removed), Powdered Cellulose, Natural Chicken Flavor, Dried Egg Product, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E, and Citric Acid), Brewers Dried Yeast, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, DL-Methionine, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin A Acetate, Niacin, Ascorbic Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (source of vitamin B2), Inositol, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Salt, Choline Chloride, Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Carbonate), L-Carnitine, Rosemary Extract

Would you look at that, Chicken is not the #1 ingrediant! Chicken by-product meal is and then chicken liver. Hardly worth the money. I think, Koal would be just better off with Maxximum at least chicken meal is the #1 ingrediant.

After an argument with the Science Diet guy (the things I do for this cat, and I know he doesn't even appreciate it) at our local Petco store about the premium quality of Science diet pet food, it spurred me on to even more research. The only thing I have to say about Science Diet is, the number #1 ingrediant is Brewers rice which is almost literally garbage and then Chicken by-products. 

Brewers Rice:
AAFCO - Brewer's Rice is the small milled fragments of rice kernels that have been separated from the larger kernels of milled rice.
Natura will not use it because they state it is a "lower quality rice product that is missing many of the nutrients found in Ground Rice and Ground Brown Rice." Solid Gold says that it is the sweepings from the floor of the mill.

another definition:
the dried extracted residue of rice resulting from the manufacture of wort (liquid portion of malted grain) or beer and may contain pulverized dried spent hops in an amount not to exceed 3 percent.


Chicken By-Products
AAFCO - Chicken By-Products consist of the rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered chicken, such as necks, beaks, feet, undeveloped eggs, and intestines -- exclusive of feathers except in such amounts as might occur unavoidably in good processing practices.
Natura states that they do not use it because it is an inconsistent ingredient because of the multiple organs used and their constantly changing proportions. Chicken By-Products are much less expensive and less digestible than Chicken Meal. 

The ingrediants in Science Diet Advanced Protection Adult cat food are:

Brewers Rice, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Animal Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Dried Egg Product, Chicken Liver Flavor, Fish Oil, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Vitamin E Supplement, L-Lysine, Calcium Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Iodized Salt, Natural Flavor, Taurine, L-Cysteine, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid, L-Carnitine, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract.

Before this turns into a book, I'll just say after alot of study I wound up with Innova Evo cat and kitten dry food, some quality wetfoods (Merrick) and Nature's Variety Raw Frozen Diet organic chicken diet. I would encourage you to find a pet food that uses human grade ingrediants instead of pet grade ingrediants.  There's a world of differnece between the two.

Innova Evo cat and kitten dry food ingrediants:

Turkey
Turkey is the clean combination of flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from the parts or whole carcasses of turkey or a combination of thereof - exclusive of feathers, heads, feet, and entrails.

Turkey is an excellent source of highly digestible protein. Natura uses table-quality turkey in many of our formulations.

The turkey Natura uses is not only human-grade, but also tested to be free of hormones, antibiotics and pesticides, as well as chemical preservatives such as BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin. This is an important distinction because manufacturers are not required to list substances that are present in the ingredients when they go into the pet food. 

Chicken Meal

Chicken meal is the dry rendered (cooked down) product from a combination of clean flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from the parts of whole carcasses of chicken -- exclusive of feathers, heads, feet, or entrails.

Chicken meal is considered to be the single best source of protein in commercial pet foods. Natura uses high-quality, low ash chicken meal extensively. This ingredient is very digestible, very palatable, and very expensive. 

Chicken
Chicken is the clean combination of flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken - exclusive of feathers, heads, feet, and entrails.

Chicken is an excellent source of protein.

The chicken Natura uses is not only human-grade, but also tested to be free of hormones, antibiotics and pesticides, as well as chemical preservatives such as BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin. Natura does not add these harmful ingredients, and they are not present in the ingredients we use. This is an important distinction, because manufacturers are not required to list substances that are present in the ingredients when they go into the pet food. 

Herring Meal
Herring meal is the clean, rendered (cooked down), dried ground tissue of undecomposed whole herring or herring cuttings, either or both, with or without the extraction of part of the oil.

Herring meal is a good source of Omega 3 essential fatty acids. Natura uses the whole herring including the oil from this excellent food fish in our cat and dog food products.
Chicken Fat
Chicken fat is obtained from the tissues of chickens in the commercial process of rendering or extracting.

Chicken fat is the highest of all animal sources in linoleic acid (over 23%), an important element for skin and coat health. Because Natura uses such high-quality chicken, this is a high-quality source of fat. 

Potatoes 
Potatoes are whole, freshly cooked, Idaho russet potatoes, that include the skins.

Natura uses only whole, freshly steam cooked potatoes. They are not pre-processed, so they retain all of their important nutrients (including 'protector' antioxidants).

Potatoes provide B vitamins, carbohydrates, zinc, vitamin C, copper, iron, magnesium, niacin and potassium. Natura uses only fresh, whole fruits and vegetables, just like you would buy at the grocery store. 

Egg
Egg is the part or whole of the reproductive body produced by hens.

Eggs are an excellent source of protein, with naturally occurring complex combinations of amino acids. Natura uses only human-grade whole eggs in our products. 

Turkey Meal
Turkey meal is the dry rendered (cooked down) product from a combination of clean flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone derived from the parts of whole carcasses of turkey--exclusive of feathers, heads, feet, or entrails.

Turkey meal is an excellent source of protein in commercial pet foods. This ingredient is very digestible and very palatable. Natura uses this ingredient in combination with fresh chicken, fresh turkey and chicken meal in some of our dog food formulas.
Natural Flavors
Natural flavors are minimally processed flavor ingredients that do not contain synthetic or artificial components.

In the Natura products that include "natural flavor" in the formula, the exact composition is proprietary. However, it is always made from the same animal species on which the formula is based. For example, the "natural flavor" used in the original EVO formula contains a reduction of chicken meat - much the same process as is employed to create a chicken stock in your home kitchen.
 
Vitamins
Vitamins are organic compounds that function as parts of enzyme systems essential for the transmission of energy and the regulation of metabolisms of the body.

AAFCO regulates minimum standard quantities of vitamins in levels that pets need to survive. All pet food manufacturers supplement their products with vitamins. Beyond meeting these minimum requirements, all Natura products contain a complete vitamin and mineral supplement program that helps pets to thrive, not just survive.

Included in our foods are some of the following vitamins and minerals: Ascorbic Acid, Beta Carotene, Biotin, Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Iodate, Choline Chloride, Cobalt Carbonate, Cobalt Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Dicalcium Pantothenate, dl-Methionine, Folic Acid, Iron Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Niacin, Potassium Chloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin C Supplement (Sodium Ascorbate), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement (Alpha Tocopherol), Zinc Proteinate

Natura adds these important vitamins and minerals, in proper balance to its foods to ensure that your pet gets all the necessary nutrients for life and good health every day. 

Apples
A member of the rose family, the apple has a compartmented core and is thus classified as a pome fruit.

Apples are an excellent source of dietary fiber. About 81% of the fiber is soluble; most of it is of a type called pectin. Apples provide both soluble and insoluble fiber, some vitamin C and beta carotene, and potassium and boron.

Natura uses this nutritious fruit in its whole form to obtain all of its wholesome nutrients. 

Potassium Chloride
A chemical compound, KCl, a colorless or white, cubic, crystalline compound that closely resembles common salt (sodium chloride). It is soluble in water, alcohol, and alkalies.

Potassium plays various roles in metabolism and body functions. It assists in the regulation of the acid-base balance and water balance in the blood and the body tissue. It assists in protein synthesis from amino acids and in carbohydrate metabolism. 

Carrots
Carrots are the roots of the carrot plant, and a member of the parsley family.

Innova dog and cat foods contain whole steamed, carrots which are free of pesticides.

When ingredients are fresh and not pre-processed, they retain the flavors and important nutrients (including 'protector' antioxidants) of the foods you serve at your own table. Natura uses only fresh, whole fruits and vegetables in our foods. 

Cranberries 
Cranberries grow on a low, creeping shrub with slender, wiry stems. The fruit is a berry that is larger than the leaves of the plant. It is initially white, but turns a deep red when fully ripe.

Regular consumption of cranberry juice is supposed to reduce the rate of urinary tract infections.

Alfalfa Sprouts
 
Alfalfa sprouts are a member of the pea family.

Alfalfa sprouts are rich sources of antioxidants, anti-carcinogens, phytochemicals, enzymes, trace minerals and numerous other living nutrients which work against toxins, resist cell mutation and invigorate the body's immune system. One of the phytochemicals contained in alfalfa sprouts is 'saponins'. Saponins lower the "bad" cholesterol and fat but not the "good" HDL fats. Sprouts are good sources of vitamin C, folate, beta carotene and niacin. 

Minerals
Minerals are inorganic substances essential for a host of vital processes within the body.

AAFCO regulates minimum standard quantities of minerals in levels that pets need to survive. All pet food manufacturers supplement their products with minerals. Beyond meeting these minimum requirements, all Natura products contain a complete vitamin and mineral supplement program that helps pets to thrive, not just survive. The minerals Natura uses are chelated, providing three to ten times greater assimilation than common minerals.

Included in our foods are some of the following vitamins and minerals: Ascorbic Acid, Beta Carotene, Biotin, Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Iodate, Choline Chloride, Cobalt Carbonate, Cobalt Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Dicalcium Pantothenate, dl-Methionine, Folic Acid, Iron Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Niacin, Potassium Chloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin C Supplement (Sodium Ascorbate), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement (Alpha Tocopherol), Zinc Proteinate

Natura adds these important vitamins and minerals, in proper balance to its foods to ensure that your pet gets all the necessary nutrients for life and good health every day. 

Tomatoes 
Tomatoes are the edible berry of the tomato plant of the nightshade family.

Aside from their high Vitamin C content, recent research suggests that cooked tomatoes contain nutritional factors that are necessary for prostate health in human males. Like other recent health discoveries, these benefits may also apply to cats and dogs.

Natura uses only fresh, whole, human-grade fruits and vegetables such as you would find in the supermarket produce section. Fresh ingredients are mixed together in small batches and cooked by a special process to ensure the natural flavors and nutritional values are preserved. 

Herring Oil
 
Herring oil is the oil extracted from whole herring.

Herring oil provides a rich source of Omega 3 essential fatty acids. Because the herring that Natura uses is of such high quality, the herring oil helps produce healthy skin and lustrous coats. 

Cottage Cheese 
Cottage cheese is the result of separating milk or cream into curds and whey. The curds are drained and pressed to form the soft, white, spoonable cheese.

Cottage cheese is an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, protein and vitamins. Natura uses table-quality cottage cheese, straight from its retail container. The cottage cheese has only trace amounts of lactose and because of its limited inclusion in the formula, the ultimate amount of lactose in the finished product is insignificant and would not be in sufficient supply to cause an intolerance problem.

Ascorbic Acid 
Ascorbic acid is a white, crystalline, water-soluble vitamin, occurring naturally in citrus fruits, green vegetables, etc.

Ascorbic acid is a form of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant good for normal metabolism.

Natura uses the sodium ascorbate form of vitamin C for a natural preservative too.
Dried Chicory Root Extract
Dried Chicory Root Extract is primarily composed of the polysaccharide inulin, which has been extracted from the root by a mechanical process. Chicory Root is a thick-rooted blue-flowered European perennial composite herb widely grown for its roots and as a salad plant.

Commonly known as a "prebiotic," the inulin derived from the Chicory Root is a fructooligosaccharide added to accomplish the same purpose as supplementing probiotics. The prebiotic feeds the "good bacteria" and hinders the growth of bad bacteria in the pet's digestive tract. 

Direct-Fed Microbials 

Vitamin E Supplement 

Taurine
Taurine is the 11th essential amino acid required by cats.

Insufficient levels of taurine can lead to blindness and cardiac problems in cats. Meat is naturally high in taurine, so Natura foods contain high levels of this important nutrient. Natural taurine is also added to our cat foods to ensure cats get enough of this essential amino acid.

Cats vs Dogs: While dogs can synthesize taurine in their systems, cats cannot and must have additional amounts added to their diet for proper health.

Recent university research has suggested, however, that like cats, some breeds of dogs may benefit from Taurine in the diet. While California Natural has always contained ample Taurine from natural sources such as lamb meal, we have decided to supplement Taurine to ensure that all puppies receive full nutritional benefit from our products. 

DL-Methionine
Methionine (dL-Methionine) is a sulfur-containing amino acid obtained by the hydrolysis of most common proteins.

Methionine is a principle supplier of sulfur which prevents disorders of the hair (promotes hair growth), skin and nails. It helps lower cholesterol levels by increasing the liver's production of lecithin, reduces liver fat, and protects the kidneys.

dl-methionine is a chelating agent for heavy metals. It regulates the formation of ammonia and creates ammonia-free urine which reduces bladder irritation.

dl-methionine is an essential amino acid which serves as a urinary acidifier.

Natura adds this supplement to cat foods to create acidic urine. In our dog foods, the meat supplies sufficient amounts. 

Lecithin

Lecithin is a specific phospholipid and the principal constituent of crude phosphatides derived from oil-bearing seeds.

Lecithin is essential for normal fatty acid transport within cells. It is obtained chiefly from soybeans, corn and egg yolk. Natura uses whole grains, fresh fruits and natural protein sources which provide all the essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals necessary for the life and health of our pets.
Rosemary Extract

* EVO Cat and Kitten Food is made WITHOUT GRAINS!

* EVO Cat and Kitten Food has the HIGHEST MEAT CONTENT of any dry cat food!

* EVO Cat and Kitten Food contains 50% PROTEIN, 22% FAT, and only 7% CARBOHYDRATES, the lowest in the industry!!

* EVO Cat and Kitten Food is made with the same ingredients as you might find in a typical ''wild'' feline diet - RAW, MEATY BONES & cartilage, veggies & fruit.

* EVO Cat and Kitten Food has ADDED PROBIOTICS & PREBIOTICS.





Nature's Variety Raw Frozen Diet / organic chicken diet:

Organic Chicken, Raw Ground Organic Chicken Bone, Organic Chicken Liver, Organic Chicken Heart, Organic Chicken Eggs, Organic Bok Choy, Organic Carrots, Organic Apples, Organic Pears, Organic Persimmons, Organic Flaxseed Oil, Organic Yogurt (Organic Grade A Pasteurized Milk, Organic Nonfat Milk, Fructan, Pectin, Live and Active Yogurt Cultures: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis, Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus,
Lactobacillus casei), Organic Alfalfa Sprouts, Organic Parsley, Organic Blueberries.
 

I'm told that that raw food like poultry digest quicker than cooked food.  Because of bacterial content you should feed them raw and let them digest it for a few hours before feeding them any cooked product so it can pass through thier system.  Unlike humans, cats have a short intestinal tract and can tolerate these products that contain bacteria that would make us humans deathly ill.  Why? because it passes through their system so quickly.  Consider it their one super power.

..........and that's how my cat came to eat a gourmet petfood diet. If he was a yellow lab I could never afford to feed him this well, but because he has a little appetite, it's pretty inexspensive. As with humans, good nutrition can prevent much more expensive medical bills down the road. It's a bargin compared expensive vet bills and health problems.

This is must reading if your interested in what your pet is eating:

What’s Really in Pet Food
www.api4animals.org/facts.php

This is good guide to pet food ingrediants:
iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/Spring04/Perhach/PetFood/Ingredients.htm
 
If you feed your kids Kraft Macaroni and Cheese as a staple along with other like foods, you might want to just just disregard this post altogether.  

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