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Service Cats: Pet Food Ingredients Part 3

MeOW-llo  Welcome to our furst Service Cats and Everything Feline Friday of 2019. As promised, we’ll be pickin’ up where we left off, talking about pet feeds/food and propurr nutrition for the little Obligate Carnivore in your house. Ifin you missed any of the posts in this mini series, you can check them out here and here. You can see all the posts in our Service Cats series by checking out the links on our Training Tips and Everything Feline page. Ifin you have any questions or topics you’d like to see posted, purrlease ask in the comments section below or send us a message via the contact form on our Contact page. 

 

 ,Dezi lays on tree with harness and Service Cat logo

 

The following post will be written in human English for reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Training Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy A thru her many years of animal training, cats in purr-ticular. And to offer insight into your questions about Everything Feline. Always remember, successful Training is all about Repetition and Rewards.

We would like to remind everyone to consult your VET or Pet Nutritionist when making food choices for any kitty whose health is compromised. That being said, remember, their opinions can be biased based on kickbacks and/or other benefits provided by Big Pet Food companies. The truth is that most “Prescription Diets” are formulated based on one study performed by one company on Canine Nutrition and not actually the needs of Felines. As for the AAFCO whose job is to regulate and enforce pet food regulations, they are not looking out for your pet’s best interest. So it’s up to each pet owner to educate themselves and decide what is best for your little furries.  

 

 

Dezi walks

 

 

 

Minimum/Maximum Meat Proteins in Pet Feed/Food:

     We did discuss Proteins in part 1, but we received an email asking about the amount of meat proteins pet foods contain. Since a lot of pet food companies now list meat, meat meals, etc. in the first 3 ingredients on the packaging a lot of pet owners are led to believe a particular food contains mostly whatever protein is listed. However, ingredients are required to be listed in order by weight. Obviously, meat weighs far more than rice, corm or most other ingredients. Most meats contain a lot of water (almost 75%) which makes them heavier.

 

     So, what do the pet feed regulations say? Any feed that contains the word “with” in it’s name, such as with chicken or with beef, is required to contain only 3% to 9% (chicken/beef) of said meat to the total weight of feed. No more and no less, no exception. So the photo on the package of a pile of chicken breasts or steaks is misleading. The total amount of chicken in a 12 pound bag of kibble could be no more than 6 to 18 ounces. And trust us, it’s definitely not the choice cuts of that meat. For pet feeds that contain the words “Recipe”, “Formula” or “Dinner”, they must contain a minimum amount of 10% and may include a maximum amount of 70%. These numbers are based on raw weight. Once cooked, not only does the meat lose all of it’s nutrients, it also shrinks. Thus the need for all those added ingredients.

 

Raena sits pretty on cat tree profile

 

 

 

     So, if you buy a 12 pound bag of kibble, kitty/woofy is only getting a maximum of 1 pound of meat protein and often less for the duration of the bag (1 pound of meat a month). If you feed wet food, the maximum amount of meat for a 3 oz can would be 1/4 ounce but could be as low as  0.08  ounces. And we wonder why our little carnivores are plagued by health issues. The truth is that commercially prepared pet feed kibble and canned contains many inedible ingredients such as sawdust, styrofoam, plastics, animal feces, and more. It really isn’t balanced or healthy for kitties or woofies.

 

 

Dezi sits pretty on floor

 

 

 

Added Supplements/Nutrients:

     Due to the loss of nutrients during manufacturing, these companies are required to put them back in through supplements. Listed below are some of those supplements and what they’re for. Proteinates are more expensive than sulfates and easier for the animal’s body to break down and use. However, one might see an ingredient listed in both forms. It’s a way for the company to produce the feed cheaper, not what’s best for your pet. 

 

 

Zinc Proteinate (trace minerals): Protects against cell damage and stimulates the immune system. However, it indicates a lack of well rounded supplementation. 

Mixed Tocopherols: A source of Vitamin E  

Iron proteinate: Needed for red blood cell production  It’s cheaper form is iron sulfate or ferrous sulfate. The best choice is: Iron Amino Acid Chelate  

Manganese proteinate:  Needed to develop strong bones, and enzyme activators. Enhances the immune system  May see cheaper form Manganese sulfate 

Mangonous proteinate:  Nourishes nerve and brain function. May see cheaper form Mangonous sulfate 

Flax Seed:  Best source of omega – 3 fatty acids and nutritive fiber 

Fish oil: Source of fatty acids 

Alpha-lipoic Acid:  Added for healthy skin and coat 

Copper Amino Acid Chelate: Best form of copper, needed for iron absorption and blood clotting. May see in cheaper forms, copper proteinate or sulfate. The latter may be dangerous. 

Cobalt Amino Acid Chelate: Needed for B12 synthesis. May see cheaper forms listed as proteinate or sulfate. 

Citric Acid: Source of Vitamin C and may be harsh on the digestive tract 

Chicken Fat: Source of energy for cats, dogs do better with oils 

Beta Carotene: Source of Vitamin A 

Potassium Amino Acid Complex/Potassium Citrate: Source of potassium, Not to be confused with Potassium Sorbate which is a preservative and mold inhibitor. 

Gelatin: No nutritious value. Only used as a binder for ingredients 

Potassium Chloride: Source of potassium 

Pantothenate: Vitamin B-complex  

DL-Methionine: Found naturally in meats before processing. Needed for skin, nails, and immune system 

Maganese Oxide:  Aids in fat and sugar metabolism 

All “Gums”:  No nutrition, used as fillers and binders 

Lactobacillus Acidophilos (including all other pre and pro biotics): Generally not enough added to be beneficial

A & D3 Supplements:  Needed for immune function, eye sight, and calcium absorption  

Niacin:  Aids in digestion

Inositol: Non vit. B complex metabolizes blood fats

Mineral Supplements: aka: Zinc Sulfate, sub par source of minerals 

Thiamine Mononitrate/Thiamine:  Source of B-1 

Taurine: found naturally in muscle meats, Required for nervous system function, thyroid, cardiovascular, and eye sight health  

Calcium Pantothenate: Source of B-complex and Vit. B-5 Supports adrenal activity  

Glucosamine Hydrochloride: Not enough to be effective. Cooking may also alter it’s efficacy 

Calcium Iodate:  Promotes Strong Bones, teeth, skeletal strength and cardiovascular health 

Tricalcium Phosphate: Anti caking agent, also supplies phosphate for the body

Biotin:  Promotes healthy skin and coat  

Riboflavin:  Source of Vitamin B-2 

Pyridoxine Hydrochloride: Source of Vitamin B-6  

Vitamin K: Found mostly in foods made up predominantly of fish. Can be very dangerous causing blood clotting issues in cats 

 

Raena sits pretty on cat tree with head tucked coyly

 

 

 

Well, there’s a list of the most commonly used supplements. Most of which can be found naturally in meat proteins, the foods us kitties were meant to eat naturally. We’re gonna wrap it up fur today, as this is a lot of infurmation to digest. “Member, you can see any of the posts in our Service Cat series or this mini series on our Training tips and Everything Feline page from our menu above. And we’d luv to hear from you. What questions do you have about your kitty or kitties in general? What topics would you like to see us cover? Just let us know in the comments below or by sendin’ us a purrivate message via our Contact page, also in the menu above.

 

          We’re also linkin’ up with Comedy Plus fur Feline Furiday sissy. You didn’t think I’s was gonna let you have the posty all to yourself, did you? 

 

One can dream Raena, one can dream.  

 

Till the next time…………………………………………………Be Blest!!!  

 

 

 

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses  

 

Deztinee and RaenaBelle

Service Cats: Why Cats Shouldn’t Eat Grains And Vegetables

Pet Food Ingredients Pt. 2

MeOW  Welcome to another installment of Service Cats and Everything Feline on Furidays. We return today to our mini-series on Pet Food ingredients. It is our intention to present this in a way that everyone can understand it and to reveal the lies and misinformation pet pawrents are being “fed” by the pet food/feed industry, including the AAFCO. We intend to list as many ingredients as possible so that you will be better equipped to read labels and make the best choice fur your pets. It’s a shame that this topic has been so confusing fur so long. We hope to be able to shed a little light on all that confusion. Please remember, not all foods/feeds will contain every ingredient we will be listing. Ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in our Service Cat series, you can find them on our Training Tips and Everything Feline page. And remember to submit your questions and topic suggestions in the comments below or by sendin’ us an email via our Contact page. 

 

Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

 

 

 

The following post will be written in human English for reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Training Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy A thru her many years of animal training, cats in purr-ticular. And to offer insight into your questions about Everything Feline. Always remember, successful Training is all about Repetition and Rewards.

 

Raena sits and poses in her new tiger harness

 

 

 

 

     Our first post in this mini-series talked about a cat’s need for Protein. Cats are Obligate Carnivores/True Carnivores (Those whose survival depends on nutrients which are found only in animal flesh and organs/meat protein. While Obligate Carnivores may be able to ingest small amounts of plant matter, due to their evolution they lack the necessary physiology required to digest and use the nutrients in that plant matter.) We’re going to try to break down a little science for you now. Digestion requires enzymes created by the body:

 

  • Protease: Necessary to break down Proteins 

  • Lipase: Necessary to digest Fat 

  • Amylase: Necessary to process Carbohydrates (Usually found in the saliva and pancreas)

Dezi and Raena eat out of their new dishesDid you know your food is already bein’ digested, Raena?

 

 

 

 

Digestion:

     Digestion starts in the mouth with enzymes created by saliva (spit). However, cat and dog saliva lack the enzyme Amylase; it’s only found in their pancreas. That means the pancreas has to work overtime to process Carbohydrates present in most commercial pet foods/feeds. There is some evidence that points to this as being part of the cause for pancreatitis, diabetes, obesity and other chronic illnesses in cats. Humans and other mammals have flat top teeth meant for chewing. Cats however, have sharp fangs meant for ripping and tearing flesh. That’s a crude way to look at it, but think about it; when was the last time you saw kitty gnawing on a cob of corn? Everything about a cat says it’s meant to hunt, catch and rip it’s prey to shreds. And yet, most pet food companies lace their foods with corn, peas and carrots. I had a garden a few years back; and let me tell you, it wasn’t the neighborhood cats digging up my carrots and eating them.

 

     We mentioned in our earlier post that cats do much better when they don’t have food available all the time. Grains and veggies are ideal for grazing animals such as cows, goats, etc., but typically when a cat eats grass, it’s followed by hurling/horking/vomiting or whatever you want to call it. Cats were never meant to graze or eat veggies. But, what about the vitamins and nutrients those vegetables could offer? First of all, they’re often cooked so long they no longer contain any of the nutrients originally present. The reality is that a cat’s natural prey animal, the herbivore, provides those nutrients in the form of previously eaten and digested grains and vegetables. While it sounds really gross to us humans, a cat in the wild would consume the whole animal (excluding bones, fur, feathers, beaks, eyes, hooves), including it’s stomach and the contents therein.

 

 

Corn with mycotoxin

 

Mycotoxins:

     Let’s talk a minute about Grains and their toxicity. Mycotoxins are mold and a huge concern often found in foods like corn, corn meal, peas, millet, nuts, and other grains and types of food. There are 3 main mycotoxins that the FDA has established rules for the following 3, but they are not the only mycotoxins of concern:

  • Aflatoxins:

  • Fumonosin:   

  • Deoxynivalenol  

     Mycotoxins can cause lethargy, anorexia, jaundice, intravascular coagulation, liver damage, weight loss, dehydration, renal and hepatic damage, gastrointestinal dysfunction and death.

 

 

Ingredients:

     Most pet food/feed is formulated without oversight by the FDA or even the AAFCO. The laws that are supposed to protect our pets are often ignored, broken, unenforced or completely non existent. Don’t be fooled by “voluntary” recalls. Those recalls are an “after the fact” and often the result of an animal getting sick or dying due to something in their food. Let’s look at some of the ingredients found in pet foods.  

  • Wheat: One of the top allergens in pet food, may contain mycotoxins, can contribute to canine obesity  

  • Corn: Totally useless. As discussed above, neither cats or dogs have the ability to process it and covert it to useable energy in it’s raw state, and it has no nutrients after being cooked at high temps. May contain mycotoxins  

  • Corn Gluten Meal: Even worse than corn. Patented as a weed killer in 1991. May include mycotoxins  

  • By-Product-Meal: Bones, blood, intestines, lungs, ligaments, heads, feathers, beaks, feet, hooves, etc.. Can be anything left over from processing, Not fit for human consumption. Most of these are things a cat or dog in the wild wouldn’t eat. 

  • Soy: Considered a Protein. However it’s totally useless for the obligate carnivore and can cause allergies and cancer  

  • Brewers Rice: Broken rice shells containing no nutrients 

  • Egg Product: Eggshells (not easily digestible), may contain rancid or spoiled eggs not fit for human consumption, may contain salmonella,  

  • Sugar: Completely useless addition of empty calories. Cats can’t even taste sweet things  

  • Peas/Pea Fiber/Pea Meal/Legumes/Lentils: May contain mycotoxins, may cause heart disease 

  • Potatoes: May cause heart disease 

  • Cellulose: Sawdust, floor sweepings, totally useless 

  • Carrots: Hard for cats to digest, no useable nutrients after cooking at high temps.  

  • Cracked Barley: Grain, may contain mycotoxins 

  • Garlic/Garlic Oil/Garlic Extract/Garlic Powder: Toxic to cats especially  

  • Oats/Oat Bran/Oat Meal/Oat Groat: Grain, may contain mycotoxins  

  • Chicken Meal/Fish Meal/Lamb Meal/Beef Meal: All Meals are the leftovers after processing and Not fit for human consumption. May contain parts from animals killed by means other than slaughter, such as road kill, illness, poisoning, natural disaster deaths (such as drowning), phenobarbital, culling, etc.  

  • White Fish/Ocean Whitefish: May be any number of fish

  • Cranberries: Typically not enough present to have actual health benefits 

  • Whey: Milk protein, used in lower grade foods, possible allergen, especially for cats 

  • Whole Eggs: Contains the shells which are not easily digestible 

  • Celery: Unnecessary, not easily digestible 

  • Lamb: Lamb meat is filled with water and therefore not as high in protein as other meats 

  • Beef: Natural source of Glucosamine (will define and expound on in future post) High in “water weight” (will expound in future post) 

  • Spinach: Unnecessary, not easily digested 

  • Basil: Member of the mint family, safe but unnecessary  

  • Blueberries: Not enough present to be beneficial, unnecessary 

  • Veal: Alternative to beef 

  • Beef Liver: Natural source of iron and flavor. However, in large quantities can be toxic. Best as a secondary ingredient  

  • Soybeans/Soybean Meal: Can NOT be digested by dogs and can cause bloating and death

  • Soybean Oil: Source of fat and good for coat, safe for dogs and cats

  • Ginger: Aids in digestion if listed high on label  

  • Carrot Powder: Cheap source of fiber  

  • Ground Flax Seed: May be lacking in fatty acids  

  • Sunflower Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols <expounded on in future post>): Cheap source of fat  

  • Sweet Potatoes/Yams: Alternative to regular potatoes 

  • Green Tea: Not enough to have any health benefits unless listed in the top 5 ingredients  

  • Wild Rice: Good alternative to white rice 

  • Dried Kelp: Accepted industry source of iodine 

  • Egg Noodles: Unnecessary, source or carbohydrates 

  • Rabbit: Great alternative Meat/protein source  

  • Duck: Great alternative meat/protein source, Less water weight than chicken 

  • Shrimp: Source of protein  

  • Cod: Alternative source of protein 

  • Catfish: Alternative source of protein and fatty acids 

  • Venison Meal: Alternative source of protein, in concentrated form, more protein availability than standard meats 

Raena bathes atop the liberty cat tree

 

     I realize this is a lot of information, but we haven’t even scratched the surface, so to speak. Most herbs listed on labels and found in pet food are useless and should be left out. There’s a lot of “gimmicky” ingredients these days and gimmicky names to boot. When shopping for our pet’s food, we need to remember to pay no attention to the photos on the packaging, as they’re not a true representation of what’s actually inside. Dry kibble is worse than canned or wet food in most respects since any natural nutrients have been cooked out of their original sources. But, this mini-series isn’t about making you choose one type of food or even one food over another. It’s merely to help you be better equipped at understanding what you’re buying and feeding your furry family member. We will be defining and explaining more of the terminology and ingredients in future posts, so if you have specific questions, please let us know. I’m going to turn it back over to Dezi to close us out. 

 

Dezi lays atop the cat tree selfie

 

 

Fanks mommy. Lots of big words and stuff us kitties don’t unnerstand ‘bout what goes on our plates. Anyways, remember, you can ketch up on any post you may have missed by clickin’ Training Tips and Everything Feline. We got a lot of great questions after Pt. 1 of Pet Food Ingredients, so if you have any just let us know in the comments below or send us an email. We purromiss, we will be answering them all. This is a huge topic and we’d rather take our time and cover it properly than to mislead you further. Other than the sources listed below, mommy also used her common sense, past experience as a V-E-T tech and information she got from some local V-E-Ts via chat.

 

Raena sits on table at vet-blooperI’s look purretty ruff, so we call this a blooper. MOL

 

 

Due to the holidays and Raena’s upcomin’ surgery, this will be our last Service Cat posty fur the year, but don’t worry, we’ll be pickin’ up right where we left off next year (a few months). We’re also linkin’ up today with Comedy Plus fur Feline Furiday. And, it’s also Blooper time with our pals the Cuddlywumps

 

Till the next time……………………………………………Be Blest!!!

 

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses

 

Deztinee and RaenaBelle 

 

 

 

Sources:
mycotoxins.info
petfoodindustry.com
Vetinfo.com
Truthaboutpetfood.com
Petmd.com
petsnmore.org
ivcjournal.com
ncbi.nlm.nh.gov
Meezer's Mews & Terrieristical Woofs

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