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Are you a cat owner and looking for an ideal pet formula for your furry friend? In order to have a healthy cat, you must feed it on a healthy diet. This means ensuring you have quality formulas for your pets. You have a myriad of choices when it comes to picking the right formula for your cat. Worse yet, is the fact that they all claim to be of high quality while this is not the case.
Friskies Chunky Chicken and Turkey Casserole (wet) is one of the many formulas you can find. The manufacturers of this formula claim it is made with real turkey and chicken. This formula is also said to have a taste that pets enjoy making them anticipate for meal times. Chunky chicken and Turkey Casserole also comprises of other healthy ingredients.
So, is Friskies chunky chicken the most ideal formula for your cat?
All the ingredients used in the above formula
Water sufficient for processing, chicken, wheat gluten, meat by-products, liver, rice, corn bran, turkey, artificial and natural flavors, corn starch-modified, spinach, soy flour, calcium phosphate, added color, potassium chloride, Choline chloride, Taurine, salt, thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, niacin, calcium pantothenate, Vitamin A supplement, Menadione sodium Bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, Xanthan gum, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, biotin, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, potassium iodide.
Reviewing the first five ingredients in the formula
Water sufficient for processing
For canned foods, water being at the top of the ingredients list is normal. As you could probably guess, water doesn’t do anything in the way of providing nutritional value, but it does help to keep the food moist. Sometimes a broth will be used instead of water, but all canned foods will require a high amount of moisture content.
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.
We don’t think any grain is “good” for your cat. It doesn’t mean wheat gluten is “bad” for your cat, either, but the fact it provides almost no nutritional value makes us question the quality of the ingredient. Wheat gluten can be a decent protein source for animals with digestive systems that can break it down, but as obligate carnivores, cats are not one of those animals. Their digestive systems produce only the enzymes necessary for processing animal-based proteins. There are also some allergy risks associated with wheat gluten. In addition, too much of this in a cats diet can potentially lead to weight gain and diabetes. Unfortunately, diabetes in cats is a very serious health problem, so it is important to keep a close eye on your cats weight and diabetic risk when feeding a cat food containing ingredients like wheat gluten.
This is about the lowest quality meat product that can be included in any cat food. We are very disappointed to see this ingredient listed. Meat By-Products are parts of slaughtered animals including the lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, liver, blood, bone, partially defatted low-temperature fatty tissue, and stomach and intestines freed of their contents. In addition, meat by-products can also legally contain animals that were dead, dying, or diseased before slaughtering. Many times, animals with tumors are ground and processed, meaning, ground up cancerous tumors could legally be included in your pets food. While unlikely, it can even legally include road kill. Perhaps worst of all, this ingredient COULD include meat from euthanized cats, dogs, horses, or other animals. Meat by-product is an unnamed meat source and you never know for sure where it is coming from or what animals are being used. Also note that meat by-products are not approved for human consumption. It consists of unwanted parts only acceptable in the pet food or feed industries. This is one of the most controversial meat ingredients that could be included and there is much to be concerned about when purchasing any pet food that includes meat by-products.
In the wild, cats almost always eat the liver of their prey. It is a rich source of vitamin A which cats must obtain from their food since they can’t make it in their bodies. This is also a good secondary source of protein. If cats consume too much liver, it could cause toxicity, but the amount needed for liver to become toxic to cats is very high. Liver is provided in safe quantities in this cat food blend.
Other ingredients in the formula
This is a grain that many cat owners are trying to avoid because it is a known allergen for many cats. The ingredient doesn’t supply much of any nutritional value, either. However, of all the grain products used in cat food, this grain has the lowest risk of causing allergies. There is also a growing risk of arsenic in rice. So far, the FDA believes the arsenic levels are low enough to be safe for humans and pets. However, you might want to read more about this, just so you are aware. Many cat food companies like to use this ingredient because it helps to make your cat feel more full and it is one of the easier grains for cats to digest.
Corn Bran is made from the tough outer layer of whole kernel corn and is added to cat foods as a filler ingredient to help make your cat feel more full. Unfortunately, cats do not gain any nutritional value from this ingredient, even though it does help boost the overall protein percentage in the food. Corn is a known allergen for many cats that suffer from food allergies and can also be difficult for some cats to digest.
As a whole meat ingredient, turkey is a fantastic source of very healthy animal based proteins. We are extremely pleased to see this ingredient listed. Unfortunately, in dry kibbles, there is not as much of this ingredient included as you might initially think. Ingredients are listed by weight prior to the cooking process and since whole turkey is about 70% moisture, the vast majority is cooked off. So while we think this is an excellent and nutritional ingredient, it does need to be complimented by other high quality meat protein ingredients when used in dry kibbles. In wet cat foods, however, this is not nearly as much of a concern.
Artificial and natural flavors
Both artificial and natural flavor ingredients are considered to be lower quality ingredients. Since we are looking at two different ingredients here, let’s check out what natural flavor is first. The actual definition of natural flavor is very long and confusion, but basically states that the flavor of an item can be extracted, then sprayed onto other products. Natural and artificial flavors are produced in the same factories these days. Both are considered safe, but artificial and natural flavors alike can be dangerous depending on what they are. It is actually best to avoid flavoring altogether, both natural and artificial.
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. In short, 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, let alone both together. Both of these ingredients have potential allergy risks and other possible health problems in cats.
Will this formula cause allergic reactions in my cat?
Despite the fact that this formula is made with quality ingredients, it also contains several allergens. For this reason, cat owners are advised not to feed it to cats with a sensitive stomach lest they fall ill. These allergens are linked to health issues and even death in cats.
Healthy ingredients that should have been included
This is a pretty generic ingredient and it can include virtually any vegetable. Because of this, we are unable to properly analyze this ingredient. However, since cats are obligate carnivores, they do not gain much of any nutritional benefit from vegetables. That being said, in nature, cats almost always consume the stomach contents of their prey which usually includes various fruits and vegetables. It’s unfortunate this labeling is so generic as we are unable to vouch for the quality of the vegetables included.
Broth is used to add flavor and moisture to the food, but in this case, the broth comes from an unnamed source. We usually like to see a named broth source like chicken broth or vegetable broth, but since this ingredient is unnamed, we are left guessing. While it is unlikely this ingredient is harmful to your cat, we would much rather see a named broth source here.
The Friskies Chunky Chicken and Turkey Casserole (wet) is an average cat food at best. Though it contains some nutritious ingredients, it also has some allergy causing ingredients. These include wheat gluten and corn bran.