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In our 9Lives Daily Essentials Cat Food review, we will examine all of the ingredients used to make this cat food blend to determine the quality. While 9Lives Cat Food isn’t usually considered the highest quality cat food brand, most of the larger cat food manufactures produce a wide range of foods for all types of cats and human customers. The only way to determine if 9Lives Daily Essentials Cat Food is of higher quality is to look at the list of ingredients and understand what those ingredients mean.
List Of Ingredients In 9Lives Daily Essentials Cat Food
Analysis Of The Top 5 Ingredients
Whenever you are reviewing a commercial cat food blend, it is good practice to pay special attention to the first 5 ingredients listed. These ingredients make up the vast majority of the nutritional content in the food. Let's take a look at the top 5 ingredients in this cat food.
Whole Ground Corn - Unfortunately, corn is one of the most widely known food allergens for cats. If your cat does not have a pre-existing allergy to this ingredient, he or she should not experience any allergic reactions. However, this ingredient is also difficult for many cats to digest, so you should keep an eye on your cat for any digestion problems or stomach upset. And finally, this ingredient is normally used in cheaper cat food products as a filler ingredient. It will help make your cat feel more full and will also boost the protein percentage of the food. Since cats are obligate carnivores, however, they do not digest plant based proteins like they do animal based proteins. Overall, this ingredient is pretty lousy unless it is only included in smaller quantities. If your cat suffers from digestion issues or food allergies, do not feed this food to your cat.
Chicken By Product Meal - While this ingredient does provide a high amount of meat protein, this meat source is considered to be of lower quality than many other meat sources. Chicken By-Product Meal is produced through a process of cooking, drying and separation of fats and proteins from animal carcasses. It contains a dehydrated combination of meat (or cuts or parts) including lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, necks, undeveloped eggs and intestines. Usually, by-products are the "left overs" that can't be used for human food consumption. The greatest fault of this ingredient is the same trait that makes it so affordable and so commonly found in pet foods. The unpredictability of what might (or might not) be included.
Corn Gluten Meal - This is the dried residue from corn after the removal of the larger part of the starch and germ, and the separation of the bran by the process employed in the wet milling manufacture of corn starch or syrup, or by enzymatic treatment of the endosperm. The expression "corn gluten" is colloquial jargon that describes corn proteins that are neither gliadin nor glutenin. Only wheat, barley, rye and oat contain true gluten. For the most part, this ingredient is normally only found in cheaper "grocery store brand" cat foods. Corn is frequently used as a filler ingredient to help make your cat feel more full, but it does not add much of anything to the nutritional value in the food. In addition, this is a common allergen for many cats and corn based ingredients can often be difficult for cats to digest. That's why we can't recommend this food for cats with food allergies or sensitive digestive systems.
Soybean Meal -This ingredient is created after grinding the soybean to extract soybean oil. In addition to being used in dog and cat food, it is widely used as a filler and source of protein in other animal diets including pig, chicken, cattle, horse, sheep, and fish feed. This ingredient can often be found in "hairball relief" cat foods as it is believed to help eliminate hairballs. While some cats are allergic to soy based ingredients, the pet food industry is pretty defensive of this ingredient claiming that despite the attempts of researchers to prove a link between soy and bloat, no studies to date show this link. Rather, breed, body type, weight and stress level are significant risk factors. The pet food industry also claims that soy products are a superb source of bodybuilding protein, coat-nourishing vegetable oil and healthful fiber for cats. As long as your cat isn't allergic to soy based ingredients, this ingredient shouldn't pose any problems, but it isn't included without controversy.
Whole Wheat - Most cat food brands that use wheat in their products will tell you that wheat is a grain used as a high-quality carbohydrate source in dry dog and cat foods and biscuits. They will tell you that it provides energy for daily activity, as well as processing characteristics for the food. And finally, they will tell you that the allergy risk associated with wheat is low. However, many experts not associated with the pet food industry will seemingly say the opposite. From them, you'll hear that wheat and wheat by-product is a very common allergy for dogs and cats. You'll even find sources that claim wheat has also been linked to epileptic seizures and celiac diseases. Cats are not able to digest grains nearly as well as humans or dogs, so many cats may also experience digestion issues if given too much wheat. In general, wheat is considered to be a very low priced filler ingredient with essentially no nutritional value for cats. As the debate rages on, you be the judge.
Additional Ingredients Of Interest
While the top 5 ingredients make up about 90% of the nutritional value in this food, let’s examine some of the additional ingredients used to determine their quality.
Beef Fat - Since cats are carnivores, this is an excellent source of meat protein. This is also a "named meat source" which means it isn't just listed as fat or animal fat. We know the fat comes from beef. Overall, we're happy to see this ingredient included.
Meat And Bone Meal - Meat and bone meal is the dried and rendered product from mammal tissues. It does not contain horn, hair, hide trimmings, manure, stomach contents, added blood meal or poultry by-product. The calcium content should not be more than 2.2 times the phosphorus content. While this ingredient probably provides a high amount of animal based proteins, it is generally considered to be a very low form of animal proteins. With such generic labeling, we are unable to tell where the meat and bones are coming from. It could be coming from almost any animal. As with other unnamed meat sources, we remain very skeptical about this ingredient.
Animal Digest - Animal digest is a common ingredient used in pet foods. As defined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, digest is produced by the chemical or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean animal tissue that has not undergone decomposition. This is considered a very low quality ingredient. Another way this ingredient can be explained is that it is a cooked-down broth which can be made from unspecified parts of unspecified animals. Not exactly a comforting thought. To be fair, pet food companies like Purina say, "Animal digest provides protein and flavor. Animal digest is extremely palatable and is an excellent source of high-quality protein. It's often used in small amounts to enhance the taste of dry pet foods. Spraying animal digest on kibble or mixing it with the food significantly increases palatability." You decide.
Salmon Meal - Salmon is an excellent source of high quality proteins for cats and is extremely rich in healthy Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Some people worry about mercury levels in fish. It's true that all fish contains some degree of mercury, the level in salmon is much lower than other types of fish and the FDA doesn't believe it causes any problems at all. Most salmon in cat food is farmed salmon, but higher end cat food (especially those labeled "natural") can often times be fished from natural lakes and streams. The biggest problem with fish ingredients, including salmon, is if the fish includes an antioxidant called ethoxyquin (EMQ). It is believe that ethoxyquin could be very harmful to cats and other animals. Always make sure you are using "Ethoxyquin free" cat food blends when they include fish ingredients. When in doubt, call the customer service number and ask.
Salt - Salt is necessary for a cats body to function properly, but too much salt can be dangerous and even deadly. Usually, salt is added to pet food in order to meet AAFCO nutritional requirements. Salt, or sodium chloride, is indeed necessary so cat food that doesn't contain enough will have a bit of it included. Salt helps your cats cells move nutrients and waste products where they need to go, and it helps his or her tummy make the right amount of acid to digest food properly. According to the Journal of Nutrition, average-sized cats need about 21 milligrams of salt per day. Many cat foods have higher concentrations than that. The National Research Council recommends no more than 42 milligrams per day. Most of the time, salt in commercial cat food products poses no danger and does have some nutritional benefit.
Phosphoric Acid - Phosphoric acid is a clear, colorless, odorless liquid with a syrupy consistency. It is is used as an acidifying agent which helps balance the acidity level of the food. While some cat owners like to stay away from this ingredient due to its acidic nature, the FDA says this is still the safest way to balance acidity levels.
Choline Chloride - Like humans and many other species, cats require choline. Almost all commercial pet food blends will contain supplemental choline. This ingredient mostly helps with cell function.
Titanium Dioxide - Titanium dioxide, also known as titanium oxide or titania, is the naturally occurring oxide of titanium. Unfortunately, this ingredient is a bit controversial as it has links to several health concerns including ulcers and inflammatory bowel diseases. There is also some concerns that this ingredient could contain lead. The toxic effect of this ingredient is a concern in both human foods and pet foods and even The American Cancer Society has listed Titanium Dioxide among the five most carcinogenic substances on the planet (more info here). This ingredient is mostly used for coloration and texture purposes. It is impossible for your cat to digest this ingredient or gain any nutritional benefit from it. We find it rather unfortunate this ingredient is included.
Thiamine Mononitrate - Thiamine mononitrate is a stable nitrate salt form of thiamine (vitamin B1). This ingredient us usually added as a supplement in dog and cat foods. Thiamine is a required nutrient for cats but most thiamine is lost during the cooking process and that is why you see it added as a supplement here. If you have a cat with pre-existing kidney problems, you should avoid this ingredient. Otherwise it is considered to be relatively safe and thiamine mononitrate is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) per the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Riboflavin Supplement - Riboflavin is found in various foods, including milk and dairy products, fish, meats, green leafy vegetables, and whole grain and enriched cereals and bread. It is a source of Vitamin B2. Due to the cooking process, most cat foods do not include enough vitamins and minerals. In order to meet AFFCO standards, most cat food will contain supplemental vitamins or minerals, such as is the case with this ingredient. We are not aware of any major medical issues related to this ingredient and in fact, a lack of vitamin B can be very serious for your cat.
Extremely Problematic Ingredients
Unfortunately, this cat food contains some extremely problematic ingredients. For instance, this food contains food coloring including Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, and Blue 2. This is very unfortunate. Not only is food coloring useless as far as feline nutrition is concerned, but there are some loose connections with food coloring causing cancer in cats. The only reason ingredients like food coloring are included is for marketing purposes.
Our Overall Opinion Of 9Lives Daily Essentials Cat Food
We believe this cat food is a significantly below average quality cat food blend and we do not recommend this product. Not only does this cat food include controversial ingredients such as food coloring, but the #1 ingredient in this food is whole ground corn. While whole ground corn will increase the protein percentage of the food, we would like to see a high quality animal based protein source instead. A high amount of corn is also a very large cause of allergies and digestive problems in cats. The only meat based protein in the top 5 ingredients is a meat byproduct which can contain meat from animals that were dead, dying, diseased, or deformed prior to processing. This meat is not approved for human consumption, so these animals are often processed for pet food.
All in all, we think there are much better options available.