Commonly Used Dry Cat Food Ingredients

Dry cat food plays a part in feline obesity and diabetes. While there are quality foods on the market, many pet owners don't realize that many common cat food ingredients are not beneficial to a cat's nutritional intake. Learn more about the ingredients used in cat food and which should be avoided.

Corn, Soy and Wheat in Dry Cat Food

Corn, soy and wheat products are simply fillers. By adding this ingredient to cat food, a company is able to save money on the more expensive protein. Because corn is naturally full of sugar, it can add unnecessary weight to a cat. Don't be fooled by a label if it doesn't list corn, soy or wheat and instead lists maize. Maize is corn.

Soy and wheat are also fillers that provide little in the way of nutrients. Typically, the grains are left over from processing for human consumption.

Soy contains a form of estrogen and is linked to impaired thyroid function. Avoid any cat food with soy added.

Many pets develop dry, itchy skin or throw up shortly after eating low quality pet foods because of food allergies. Avoiding all of these common food allergens helps eliminating bothersome allergies to the ingredients.

Brewers Rice

Brewers rice is used in making beer. After making wort, the first stage in brewing beer, the rice is strained away, dried and ground up for use in pet foods. It's high in carbs and offers no nutritional value. If anything, it is similar to white rice and simply adds starch to your diet.

What Are Meat and Poultry By-products

By-products of meat or poultry are parts of an animal not used for human consumption. This includes skin, organs, intestines, hooves or feet. In addition, the meat from diseased animals is often used by low-quality pet food manufacturers. If the by-product is labeled as crude protein, items like the animal's hide, beaks and feathers are included.

Choose dry cat foods that list pure protein sources such as:

  • Chicken/poultry meal

  • Deboned chicken or turkey

  • Fish

  • Fishmeal

  • Lamb

In addition to having a pure protein source in the cat food, it should always be the first ingredient listed. If a food's ingredient list state corn meal, wheat gluten and chicken meal at the top of the list, there's not much protein there. Cats need protein to thrive.

Why Put Glutens in Cat Food

Wheat and corn gluten serve one purpose in dry cat food. They are there to bind the mixture. The help the mixture stick together making it easier to extrude into the kibble that is baked dry and packaged. While humans use egg as a binder in many baked foods, eggs remain expensive. Pet food companies save money using the lower quality glutens.

Chemicals Used as Preservatives

Preservatives help keep foods shelf stable for months rather than days or weeks. Most pet food manufacturers add some form of preservative to their dry cat foods so that it can sit on store shelves for longer without becoming rancid. BHA, BHT and Ethoxyquin are linked to certain forms of cancer. Avoid foods that use these chemical preservatives.

Instead, look for pet foods that use natural preservatives like Vitamin C or E.