Cat Treats With Deceptive Descriptions

Recent pet food recalls have alerted cat owners to the potentially harmful ingredients contained in some commercially prepared foods and cat treats. Dangerous and toxic ingredients aside, many pet foods and treats are labeled with enticing but somewhat deceptive claims-containing only trace amounts of the suggested ingredients. Combined with preservatives and artificial colorings, cat owners must use caution when choosing food and treats.

Deceptive Advertising

A lawsuit filed in 2007 claimed that pet foods and treats labeled as "Premium" and "Complete and Balanced" contained mostly carbohydrates, sugars, preservatives and very little actual meat. Many contained hair, hooves and slaughterhouse discards, although the packages showed choice cuts of meat and whole grains and vegetables.

Read Labels Carefully

To insure that your cat is getting the best possible food and treats, read labels carefully. Organic cat foods tend to have higher quality ingredients and fewer preservatives. When reading a cat food or treat label, be sure the ingredients are named. Avoid products that contain non-specific ingredients such as "meat" or "meat by-products".

Do not rely on the photographs on the label to determine quality or quantity of ingredients. Look at the food label carefully. Ingredients are listed in order of pre-cooked weight. Often, grain meals and by-products are listed as the first several ingredients. The bag would probably not be as appealing to careful shoppers if it showed dusty piles of ground-up cornmeal, so instead you're shown healthy, robust cats looking longingly at restaurant-quality salmon and beef fillets. There may be fish or meat in the food, but it's unlikely it is of the quality you would find on your own plate. It's possible that "tuna-flavored" cat food contains only trace amounts of tuna.

In some cases, foods containing high quantities of ash can cause cat food urinary tract infections. Avoid this by choosing non-fish based canned foods or wellness cat foods that are formulated for urinary tract health.

Catnip May Also Contain Filler

Catnip, an herb that many cats find irresistible, is often in limited supply in products labeled "catnip". Toys in particular may be stuffed with filler and just a new leaves of true catnip. Many cats are not affected by catnip, so do not be swayed by the images of blissed-out, crazy cats on the labels of catnip treats and toys. The easiest and surest way to provide a true catnip experience for your cat is to "grown your own". Catnip is easy to grow. If your cat doesn't find it appealing, it can be used as a relaxing tea for humans.

Be a skeptical consumer. Look beyond the glossy coats and bright eyes of the cats shown on the food and treat labels. Read the ingredients list carefully and make your choices based on facts, not advertising fiction.