Ordinary cat food contains meat
Cat food with a high meat content for a healthy diet
Why should I look for a high meat content in cat food?
Cats are carnivores - most people realize that. But what that really means often falls by the wayside. Because many ingredients in cheap industrial food, which is mainly offered in the supermarket, are harmful to cats. Too much grain, sugar, preservatives, or waste products are just a few examples. When buying the right feed, keepers should therefore not save. After all, a diet high in meat is the basis for a long and healthy cat life.
Laboratory values: how important are they really?
Most producers in the feed industry do not like to talk about where the meat in their cans comes from and what quality it is. Instead they name "analytical laboratory values". That seems competent and also distracts from the meat content, which would actually have been important.
But the chemicals added to cat food are far less important than the industry has led buyers to believe. Nobody would ask the butcher how much calcium or magnesium is in meat. Instead, it is much more important which meat is contained in cat food. Laboratory values can be influenced with artificial additives, but not the quality of meat.
Analysis values are therefore not required to distinguish good cat food from bad. A percentage of the meat content and where it comes from makes a lot more sense. Before buying the food, every owner should find out how much meat it should contain, what other substances should be in cat food and what the small print on the label means.
Why is meat so important to cats?
Meat is a typical source of protein. This protein is one of the most important basic building blocks for the muscles and the body cells. Some parts of the body, such as hair and skin, are made almost entirely of proteins. For this reason, it is imperative for cats to eat as much meat as possible.
In addition, cats have a higher need for protein than, for example, dogs or even us humans. In addition to its filling effect and high tolerance, meat also contains the amino acid taurine, which is vital for the heart and eyesight of cats. Unlike dogs, however, they cannot produce the taurine themselves and must therefore ingest it with high-quality food.
How to recognize good cat food
A good cat food has a meat content of at least 70-80 percent. If no percentage is given or if it is declared as “meat and animal by-products” without further breakdown, this is an indication of inferior feed.
The tempting phrase “100 percent fresh meat” is also a delusion. It does not mean that the feed itself consists entirely of meat, only that the meat it contains is completely fresh. Even if that were only two percent.
Owners can also obtain information about the quality of cat food from its color and consistency. A light pink shade is positive, while a brown color indicates that the sugar content is too high. Compact, solid feed mostly consists of meat, while soft pieces in a sauce are a sign of poor quality feed.
Only four percent meat: what's that all about?
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture has issued a “Guide to labeling straight feed and compound feed”. Of course, this also applies to cat food. In point 126.96.36.199c it is explained here:
"If a feed material is particularly emphasized by words, pictures or graphics, the percentage by weight must be stated."
That means: If a manufacturer prints a picture of a duck on their label and identifies the product as duck meat, they must also state the duck meat content. However, he does not have to declare the proportion of other types of meat that were not advertised. That is, duck cat food can contain four percent duck and sixty percent other meats. However, it will always be more than four percent.
Even though cheap feed can have a high meat content, manufacturers still save on quality. A high meat content is very important, but does not necessarily mean that high-quality meat has also been used. For example, single-origin cat food is better than food that contains multiple types of meat. And the by-products must not be neglected either.
Not all meat is the same
Usually, the following rule of thumb applies: high-quality cat food is okay at least two-thirds from meat. But meat is not always the same as meat. Because cheap cat food contains more “meat and animal by-products” instead of valuable and nutritious meat. In most cases, these by-products are nothing more than waste.
What is left over from the slaughter of an animal and cannot be used further is often mixed into a pulp in the industry and boiled under sterile conditions. This can be skin and fat, for example, but also feathers, bones or claws. This pulp is called “animal meal”.
Under no circumstances can this meat-and-bone meal be included in the meat content. Because it no longer contains enzymes, proteins or vitamins that would be good for the cat. Manufacturers of high-quality cat food do without animal meal and use real meat instead. This applies to muscle meat, but also to tendon tissue and innards such as the heart, lungs and stomach.
Do grains and vegetables belong in cat food?
The answer is as short as it is simple: no. Naturally, cats in the wild also ingest grain and vegetables with their food, for example through the stomach contents of a hunted mouse. However, this proportion corresponds to a maximum of five percent and is therefore minimal. In the feed industry, on the other hand, much more grain is used because it is cheaper to buy than meat.
However, the cat's organism is not designed to digest substances such as grain, soy and vegetable proteins. Cats are carnivores whose intestines can process the food better the more protein it contains. So for the different types of meat it says “absolutely”, while wheat or rice would just be unnatural.
What about dry food?
Finding a really high quality dry cat food is almost impossible. This is due to the nutritional physiology of the animals and the production of dry food. As already explained, high proportions of meat make the most sense. But with dry feed, it is technically not possible to use 90 or 100 percent meat. Instead, fillers and binders must always be used, which will ultimately harm the cat.
In addition, dry food is often stored in the supermarket for weeks or months and then on the kitchen shelf until the cat actually eats it. This means that preservatives must be added to it. Otherwise it would spoil. However, the preservatives put a strain on the cat's organism.
And finally, dry food can only really be digested with the help of large amounts of water. In contrast to humans, cats do not have a pronounced feeling of thirst. Therefore, the necessary water is withdrawn from the cat's body, so that dehydration can quickly develop. It not only leads to an exhausted cat, but in the worst case also to diseases of the kidneys or ureters.
The camouflage on the label
The feed industry does not always use the words that we recognize. For example, sugar in cat food is often described as glycogen, sorbitol or maltodextrin - but it is always sugar. This is used to give poor quality food a nicer color and to hide bad smells. However, it is harmful to cats and can cause diabetes or tooth decay.
It is similar with “dairy products”. In the rarest of cases it is milk - which is also not necessary - instead it is more like waste from large dairies. The term “yeast” is used to hide glutamates, which are supposed to improve the taste of the cat. None of this really belongs in high quality cat food.
Letting the cat choose what food it is: a difficult business
Many owners believe that it makes sense to let the cat decide what food to eat. You then assume the following fallacy: “What my cat likes, must be good food”. This is not true, however, because the feed industry is prepared for it and often spikes its products with artificial enzymes and flavorings. As in the human diet, cats are misled by it.
Ultimately, a pet's diet is the same as that of a child. The owners or parents determine what goes on the plate or in the bowl and thus ensure a healthy, balanced diet. Because cats eat what they are used to, and the owner is responsible for this adaptation. If there wasn't such an education, people would probably only eat cheeseburgers all day.
Last but not least: The argument with the money
... is in truth quickly undone. of course is high quality cat food more expensive than cheaply made. But the cat benefits so much that the money comes back into the house quickly. On the one hand, she only needs half of the ration of protein-rich feed with a high meat content that she would eat from low-quality feed. This means that the food you bought lasts twice as long. And on the other hand, an animal that eats healthily stays healthy longer itself: That saves veterinary costs.
A small selection of recommended cat food
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