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.
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.
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)
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.
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:
Mycotoxins can cause lethargy, anorexia, jaundice, intravascular coagulation, liver damage, weight loss, dehydration, renal and hepatic damage, gastrointestinal dysfunction and death.
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
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.
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.
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
Raena Goes To The V-E-T (Update)
Hey, Everypawdy, it’s me, RaenaBelle!!! Hey sissy, we’re home!!! Hurry mommy, get mine’s harness off. I’s wanna go tell sissy ‘bout mine’s visit with doctor stabby and grabby. (Raena jumps down from the stroller and heads down the hallway looking for Dezi. She makes a quick potty box detour and then paces through the house meowing and looking for Dezi.) Sissy? Sissy, where are you? Sissy, come out, I’s wanna tell ya’ what happened. (Raena walks over and jumps in mommy A’s lap and looks at her and meows) Mommy? Why won’t sissy come out? Where is she? (Raena jumps down and paces through the house meowing more persistantly this time.) Sissy!!! Sissy, I’s need to tell ya’ somethin’!!!
(Dezi strolls down the hall and jumps on the cat tree) What’s all the yeowlin’ ‘bout? Ya’ come in yeowlin’ and wakin’ me up from me’s rainy day nap. Kittens!!! Your meowin’ like the house is on fire or somethin’.
The house is on fire too sissy? What should we do? Are we trained fur fires?
(Dezi slaps her paw to her forehead) No Raena, the house ain’t on fire, it’s just a sayin’. (Dezi shakes her head) Never mind. What’s so ‘purrtant you had to wake me up. You stink like…
Well sissy, let me tell ya’. When we got there, all I’s could hear was woofies barkin’ and squealin’. The things they were barkin’. I’s think they tried to kill one of ‘em. Bless his heart. Then, we were sittin’ there mindin’ our own business and in walks the biggest woofie I’s ever seen. He ran right over and got all up in mine’s business. His human ‘pawrently believes like the peeps out here, like the law doesn’t apply to them. Cuz he didn’t even have on a collar much less a leash. He could’a eaten me alive befur his human could’a done anythin’. Hmmmpht What is it with those peeps?
Me doesn’t know Raena. But you’re so right. Every time me’s had to go see doctor stabby and grabby me’s almost been accosted.
I’s can tell ya’, I’s would’a gone down whacky pawin’ cuz he would’a hurt mommy too since I’s was in her arms at the time.
Sure sounds like ya’ll were in the waitin’ room fur a long time Raena. Did you ever get into a room?
We were sissy. They weighed me when we walked in the door, but we had to wait fur
elebenty billion 30 minutes befur we ever got a room of our own. Didn’t take long fur doctor stabby and grabby to show up then. He kept shinin’ a light in mines eyes and it hurted. Mommy’s a little bit furious, but she says that after 2 1/2 years of takin’ me in and complainin’ ‘bout mine’s eye issue, we furinally have an answer to what’s wrong. I’s hate that it made mommy cry tho’. She said she felt just horrible that I’s been in pain every day of mine’s life and she didn’t do more to find an answer sooner. I’s told her she shouldn’t feel bad, she did the bestest she could.
Well what’s wrong with ya’, Raena?
Well sissy, I’s can’t say all the big words, so I’s told mommy that I’s would s’plain it kind’a like doctor stabby and grabby did and once we got the plan of action estimate, she could tell everypawdy. See, mine’s bottom eyelids turn in some. And there’s these tiny little fur hairs attached to ‘em that are s’posed to purrtect our eyes from stuffs flyin’ in ‘em. Cuz mine’s are turned in, those tiny little fur hairs are constantly scratchin’ and irritatin’ mines eyes. So, they’re constantly irritated and that’s why they’re always gunky and I’s sometimes close ‘em up and can’t see anythin’.
Oh Raena, me’s sorry. Me didn’t know.
It’s okay sissy, nopawdy did and I’s couldn’t s’plain it.
So, now that they’ve figgered out what the purroblem is Raena, what are they gonna do ‘bout it?
your hands in mine’s mouth.
Well sissy, I’s gonna have to have laser surgery to make mine’s eyelids turn out right like they’re s’posed too. And, it seems I’s might have some gum issues too, so while I’s out of it fur mine’s eye surgery, doctor stabby and grabby’s gonna clean mine’s teethies and see what’s goin’ on in mine’s mouth. He said they’re gonna shave all the furs off mine’s eyes. Ifin I’s bein’ honest, I’s a little bit scared sissy.
Me is too Raena. Are they gonna make you stay in the hospital?
Nope sissy. Fanky fankfully fur mommy. She told ‘em she wasn’t leavin’ mine’s side at all. Doctor stabby and grabby said that was fine and then mumbled somethin’ ‘bout hopin’ the insurance covered it. Anyways, I’s’ll be comin’ home that afternoon. We have to be there at 6:30 the meownin’ of November 15th. So, I’s gonna have to plan your pawrty fur a time befur that.
So you already have the ‘pointment huh Raena?
Yep sissy. Seems once doctor stabby and grabby figgered out what’s wrong with me, it’s suddenly urgent that I’s have mine’s purrcedure. Altho’, mommy said she wishes we could do it tomorrow. She really feels bad that I’s been hurtin’ fur so long and she didn’t fix it. It’s gonna cost a couple hunnerd dollars. I’s don’t know where we’re gonna get it from, but I’s sure hope we do. I’s can’t even ‘magine mine’s eyes not hurtin’. That’s gonna be so pawsum.
Well Raena, we’ll have to ask our furiends ifin they’ll help us help you. Ifin not, maybe me can sell a kidney or somethin’. Guess we’ll have to post the estimate as soon as doctor stabby and grabby sends it to us.
Yeah sissy, he was too busy when we were there to write it up; doctor stabby and grabby two had the day off. But he purromissed to get it to us in a day or two. Fanky fankfully, he’s runnin’ a special on dentals right now and we do get a Service Cat discount. Mommy said t’ween your last ‘pointment and mine’s visit we’re already at our hunnerd dollar credit limit with him. So we have to pay fur mine’s purrcedure the day I’s have it done. Ifin anypawdy can help me get mine’s eyes fixed, you can donate to our paypal address at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can donate directly to doctor stabby and grabby’s office: Carter County Animal Hospital, Ardmore OK. (580)226-1001 (Dr. Cade Wilson). Our account is unner mommy’s name: Audra High. I’s sure would ‘purreciate it. And I’s could use your purrayers too.
Me will purray fur you Raena. Me wants you to be all better too. Who knows, that might have somethin’ to do with why you’re such a pest. Who knows what you’re gonna be like when you’re no longer in constant pain.
Well sissy, I’s thinkin’ we should have your Carnival Birthday/Gotchaday pawrty on Wednesday November 14th. There’s still time to put on your mask and send (email to: email@example.com) us your foto to be included in the festivities. Ifin you’re havin’ trouble findin’ a mask, let us know. We want all our furiends to attend, so we’ll help ya’ any way we can.
(Hours pass and find Raena sleeping off the day. This morning, Raena’s feeling lethargic and didn’t get up to eat breakfast. Dezi worriedly paces from the bedroom to the living room again and again, searching for Raena.) RaenaBelle? C’mon, get up, it’s time fur brekky. Me will let you jump on me as many times as you want. Just get up Raena, it’s time.
(Raena opens her eyes, but doesn’t lift her head) I’s will sissy, just let me finish mine’s nap.
Purrlease keep Raena in your purrayers.
Till the next time……………………………………………Be Blest!!!
Raena: Navy Blue
Dezi: Vibrant Blue
Luvs and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
RaenaBelle and Deztinee
Stop Kitty’s Peeing, Pooping & Throwing Up In The Car/Carrier:
MeOW Welcome to Service Cats and Everything Feline on Furidays. We’ve got a great topic fur ya’ today, so stay tuned. We’re runnin’ really late cuz mommy didn’t get everythin’ edited befur crashin’ last night and she had her regualr monthly doctor’s ‘pointment today. Anyways, fanks fur your patience. Furstly, we thought we needed to meow a minute ‘bout where our Tips, Tricks and Trainin’ Techniques come from. Mommy was asked this past week just where she got her ideas since she had such purrfect and well behaved kitties (we’re choosing to believe the question is genuine). Altho’ mommy thinks we’re purrfect in every way, we’re far from it. Mommy has dealt with most of the issues we write ‘bout purrsonally at one time or another. And, mommy spent years Trainin’ woofies, horses and kitties. She even Trained a pot bellied pig named Cameron. Mommy fostered bottle baby kittens who had to be taught how to be a cat. Mommy’s always had a bond with animals and still spends much of her time studying their behaviors, and tweaks her Tips as needed. And ifin she doesn’t know somethin’, she’ll research till she gets the answers. Altho’ mommy has experience with many animals, she has chosen at this time in her life to focus on kitties. We’re so fankful fur all our new and old furiends and followers and welcome any and all questions or topic suggestions you may have which can be left in the comments or by sendin’ us a purrivate email via our Contact page. Just ‘member to be as specific as pawssible when askin’ behavioral questions. As always, you can ketch up on any post you’ve missed in this series by clickin’ the links on our Training Tips and Everything Feline page from our menu. So, let’s get the “business” outta the way and get on with today’s topic.
The followin’ post will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Trainin’ Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy A thru her many years of animal trainin’, cats in purrticular. And to offur insight into your questions about Everything Feline. Always remember, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.
We’ve been asked several questions about how to avoid Stress while transporting kitty to the VET. Some of you have kitties that throw up, poop or pee in their carriers every time they have to make that trip, and you want to know how to stop it. Since most of these kitties never go anywhere else, we’re going to focus on how to make this and other trips successfully. Let me tell you a little story about me’s self. For the first two years of me’s life, me would pee every time mommy took me to Ardmore or the VET. Because me did it at the same spot on our trips (7 miles from home), mommy says it would have been funny if it didn’t mean that me was so stressed and stink up the car so bad. However, me can now make that trip and even longer ones without emptying me’s bladder all over the place. So, how did mommy get me to stop?
First up, we recommend leaving the carrier/stroller out at all times. Put a towel, blanket, or a previously worn unwashed shirt in the carrier. This will allow kitty/doggy to get used to their transport and even find it comforting. Place the carrier in a quiet spot and give treats or extra loving when kitty/doggy enters or uses the carrier as a bed or hideaway. Place a favorite toy or a little catnip/silvervine in the carrier to entice kitty into using the carrier. Play interactive games that incorporate the carrier. You might also use one of the facial pheromone calming sprays to spray the inside of the carrier. Remember to refresh the scent often. In other words, make the carrier a fun place for kitty to hang out.
As most of you know, we highly recommend harness training your kitty and tethering them into their carrier/stroller for safety. You can read our Harness Training Tips here. We also recommend withholding food before a trip especially one to the VET. However, you want to make all trips seem uniform, so all preparations should be the same whether you’re going around the block, to the pet store or the VET’s office.
Take kitty for a drive. It doesn’t have to be far, but you want kitty to get used to going out without ending up at the VET. Remember, you want the carrier to be a fun and comforting place. Speak softly and calmly to kitty while you’re out. Keep your emotions and thoughts in check. Always remember, animals feed off your energy. If you’re stressed and expecting the trip to go badly, kitty/doggy will pick up on that and most assuredly leave a little surprise for you in their carrier. Remember me’s first 2 years? Every time mommy saw the mile marker where me first peed, she would get nervous and start watching me to see if me was going to let loose and flood the car. MOL She had started carrying piddle pads and would put one in her lap underneath me. Me liked to lay in mommy’s lap while we drove down the highway. One day, mommy said enough and decided to Train me to hold it.
Mix things up. What this meant for me, was that mommy put me in a carrier for the last 10 miles of the trip. She chose a small carrier that didn’t allow me room to move around. This step is only temporary, so you don’t need to invest in an expensive carrier, just something small enough to keep kitty from moving around an leaving deposits behind. Kitties are very clean animals. The last thing we want to do is lay in our own pee or poop. If your problem is that kitty is leaving deposits in the carrier, you might want to hold kitty in your lap instead of the carrier. For the first couple of times, you might want to have a piddle pad at the ready. Remember to speak calmly to kitty. Make each outing longer and longer and expose kitty to new and different things. Carry a wand toy/feathers on a stick to help distract kitty from the things going on around them. Keep an eye out for signs that kitty is about the pee/poop/throw up and distract them with the wand toy or feathers on a stick. Obviously this step is much easier with two people, but one can do it in a pinch; after all, mommy has to do it by herself. If she can do it, anybody can. Make stops at the park, pet store or a drive through (ie: bank, fast food, etc.) and reward kitty with treats or extra loving during the trip and after you return home.
When the time comes for the trip to the VET, don’t let your stress affect kitty. Remember to always keep your own emotions in check. Keep positive thoughts and treat the trip as if it were any other trip kitty’s been on. Be sure to take along some treats or a favorite toy to distract kitty. Wand toys or feathers on a stick work great for this. You can even take a little bag of catnip for kitty to sniff is you have a nip fiend. Any time you see kitty showing signs of stress, wave the wand/feathers/bag of nip to get kitty’s attention. Praise kitty during the visit. No matter what happens at the VET or what kind of news or health updates you may get, keep your thoughts and voice positive until after you return home. Continue to keep an eye out for stress so you can redirect any unwanted behaviors like peeing/pooping/throwing up on the trip.
Sling/over the shoulder pet carrier
Once you return home, remove kitty from carrier and give them treats or extra loving along with praise about how much fun the trip was. One thing we didn’t mention earlier, is that mommy likes to put a little nip or silvervine in our carrier/stroller before trips. It’s a ready made distraction that we can’t escape. Once kitty has made 2 trips without the offending behavior being present, you may return to kitty’s normal carrier. Altho’ the smaller carrier may not give kitty room to move around, kitty is okay. Kitties actually like tight spaces, they make us feel safe. We thought you might like to know a few of the things mommy has used as a “tiny” carrier over the years. Mommy has used her purse, an overnight bag, make up bag and shoebox. You might want to look into a sling carrier that would allow kitty to rest over your heart. This type of carrier can be extremely soothing to kitty as they are next to your heart and feeling the warmth of your body. It also encloses all but kitty’s head, so there’s less opportunity for kitty to move around and squat.
Well, we do hope this helps those of you dealing with this purrticular problem. Fankfully, me no longer pees in the car, carrier, stroller or mommy’s lap. Me actually looks forward to trips these days. And, me luvs the new sling carrier mommy got us almost as much as me luvs our new stroller. Ifin there’s somethin’ you feel we’ve left out, or you have further questions on this topic, purrlease say so in the comments below or by sendin’ us a purrivate email via our Contact page. And, as always, you can ketch up on any of the posts in this series by clickin’ Training Tips and Everything Feline from our menu bar above. Befur we go, we wanna link up with Comedy Plus fur Feline Furiday. Join us next week fur another in depth look into the world of cats.
Till the next time…………………………………………….Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses