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Do you have a growing kitten? Or maybe you’re about to get a kitten for the first time and don’t know what food to buy? In order to ensure your little feline friend stays healthy and strong, you need to feed him or her on a cat formula specifically made for growing cats. Eukanuba is one of the cat food brands that makes a kitten food.
The Eukanuba Chicken Dry Cat Food Formula for Kittens is one of the cat formulas specifically blended for kittens. According to the Eukanuba company, this kitten formula is ideal for kittens between the ages of 4 months and 1 year. It can also be used for lactating and pregnant cats.
Eukanuba is owned by Procter & Gamble and uses a manufacturing plant in Leipsic, Ohio. In 1969, Paul Iams wanted to find a name to differentiate the new formula from other Iams pet food products. Iams chose to name this new formula “Eukanuba”, a term originated by jazz era personality Hoagy Carmichael, meaning “the tops” or “something supreme” (read more on Wikipedia).
Our Eukanuba Kitten review will now analyze the ingredients used in this kitten food.
Ingredients in Eukanuba Kitten Chicken
Chicken, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Meal, Corn Grits, Animal Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Dried Beet Pulp, Dried Egg Product, Natural Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Fish Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), DL-Methionine, Brewers Dried Yeast, Fructooligosaccharides, Vitamin E Supplement, Choline Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Taurine, Vitamins (Ascorbic Acid, Niacin, Vitamin A Acetate, Biotin, Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), Riboflavin Supplement (source of vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Inositol, Folic Acid), Minerals (Manganese Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Cobalt Carbonate, Potassium Iodide), Rosemary Extract.
Top 5 Ingredients Overview
Chicken is a very popular ingredient for pet food and in this case, they are referring to whole chicken. This is a very high quality meat source and we are pleased to see it listed. However, whole chicken loses about 80% of its content during the cooking process since the majority of whole chicken is water. After the cooking process is complete, the amount of whole chicken remaining is substantially reduced. Therefor, while whole chicken is a great source of meat protein, this ingredient alone is not enough to provide sufficient levels of meat protein in a cats diet.
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.
Considered a low quality ingredient, corn meal is usually used as a “filler ingredient” but provides almost no nutritional value to cats. This ingredient is also a known allergy causing ingredient for many cats. We aren’t all that thrilled to see this ingredient listed.
Many forms of corn are found in pet foods including corn grits. About 85% of all corn grown in the United States is genetically modified (GMO). Since cats by nature are carnivores, this ingredient does not provide much nutritional value if any, although it does add calories to the food. Corn grits can be considered a very low quality ingredient.
Animal fat provides essential fatty acids, energy, and fat soluble vitamins. This ingredient can also support a healthy skin and coat. Unfortunately, when it comes to fat sources, animal fat is considered to be a lower quality ingredient. This is because it is an unnamed fat source. Usually, we like to see a named fat source (such as “chicken fat”). In this case, we are forced to guess what animal or animals this fat source comes from. Animal fat, also called tallow, is a product of rendering. In the rendering process, pieces, parts, and even whole animals are put through a gigantic grinder, then boiled in vats for 30 minutes to several hours. High heat is necessary to kill bacteria, viruses, molds, and other pathogens. The boiling process also allows the fat to separate and float to the top, where it is skimmed off for use in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, industrial lubricants, and, of course, pet food.
Additional Ingredients Of Interest In Eukanuba Kitten Food
Dried beet pulp
Beet pulp is a by-product from the processing of sugar beet and is a source of fiber and energy. It is popular among many pet food companies due to its high availability and low price. The most common complaint about this ingredient is that it causes digestion problems, most commonly a very hard stool or diarrhea. It has also been known to cause bloat in some dogs and cats which can be very serious if left unchecked.
The term “natural flavor” is extremely vague and can mean just about anything. In human foods, natural flavor is usually MSG or some similar flavor enhancer. When pet food companies are asked what is in their “natural flavor ingredients, they usually refuse to answer. There are a lot of things in the world considered “natural” and they almost all have a flavor. Such generic terms can be indicative of poor quality ingredients. While that’s not always the case, the fact is, we don’t really know what this ingredient consists of and that is worrying.
Fish oil is a popular supplement used by cat and dog owners. In this case, the food is already supplemented with fish oil. This ingredient is high in very healthy Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. This can lead to an improved coat, healthier skin, boost to the immune system, lower blood pressure, and help improving cognitive function in older pets. There are also some studies that show fish oil to help assist with certain allergies in dogs and cats. This is a higher quality ingredient.
Dried egg product
Derived from shell free eggs, this is a cheaper source of protein used in place of higher quality meat proteins. Normally, this ingredient is derived from waste products associated with the egg industry or egg products that have been deemed unfit for human consumption.
Allergy Risk Associated With Eukanuba Kitten Formula With Chicken Cat Food
Unfortunately, Eukanuba Chicken for Kittens Cat Food has a rather high amount of corn included in the ingredients list. This is one of the main ingredients associated with food allergies in cats. If your kitten is allergic to corn, you will want to avoid this food. We also note the presence of dried beet pulp which is a known allergen. Overall, kittens with allergies or sensitive digestion should avoid eating this food.
Poor Quality Ingredients Commonly Found In Cat Food
Soy and wheat – Both soy and wheat are known as “filler ingredients” in both cat and dog food products. Filler ingredients are used to help make your cat feel more full, but don’t offer much in the way of nutrition. These are very cheap ingredients for pet food companies to use but also boosts the protein percentage in the food. Unfortunately, cats are obligate carnivores and so they can’t actually process these plant based proteins the same way they can process meat based proteins. Some cats also have allergic reactions to these ingredients or may have a tough time digesting them. In smaller quantities, these ingredients are generally ok, but they are considered lower quality ingredients without much nutritional value and pose some health risks to cats.
Artificial coloring and flavoring – Both artificial and natural flavor ingredients are considered to be lower quality ingredients. Artificial flavor is usually derived from petroleum. Most have not been studied for safety or toxicity. They are all synthesized chemicals that don’t even have common names. Most artificial flavors actually contain many chemical ingredients, not just one. Many of those chemicals are volatile. Both natural and artificial flavors are chemical based ingredients and we don’t get all that excited when we see either one of those ingredients listed. Both of these ingredients have potential allergy risks and other possible health problems in cats.
We also find it quite irresponsible to include artificial coloring in pet food since the health concerns about these added colors are so controversial. Your cat does not care what color their food is and the only reason artificial coloring is added to this product is for marketing purposes. It makes the food look better to you YOU, the human consumer. Of course, many cat food brands are very defensive about their use of food coloring. Here is an example of how the Purina brand defends their use of fool coloring. Notice how even in their explanation, there is no perceived benefit to these ingredients other than changing the color. There is also a growing amount of evidence to suggest food coloring may be linked to cancer in not just dogs and cats, but also humans. Here is an article that explains a bit further. In short, since there is some controversy surrounding this ingredient, we find it a bit strange that cat food companies would spend money adding this ingredient into a product when at best, it has zero nutritional value for your cat and only has marketing value. At worse, it could pose health risks. It just doesn’t seem like the risk of including this ingredient is worth it.
Fortunately, this formula does not contain these controversial ingredients.
In short, we are not impressed with Eukanuba Kitten with Chicken Dry Cat Food. Seeing so much corn is not a great sign and neither is the presence of some lower quality meat and fat sources. Eukanuba has also had a recall history that is above normal. Based on the ingredients alone, we believe this kitten food is a below average blend.