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Do you know what you eat is reflected on the outside? It is no different with your feline friend. Just like humans, cats also love to be treated once in a while to their favorite snack. This is one of the easiest ways to get your cat looking and feeling healthier. It is for this reason that you should ensure that you feed your cat on a balanced diet.
Choosing a cat formula from the thousands of pet formulas clamoring for your attention can be a daunting task. However, you can make your work easier by evaluating each cat formula based on its ingredients.
According to Friskies, the Party Mix Morning Munch Crunch (dry) cat formula is made for adult cats only. It features enticing aromas, tantalizing textures, delicious flavors as well as additional color for your pet to explore. With this cat food, all meal times become a party for your cat. Better yet, the formula is made of a variety of shapes each coated with a unique crunchy taste making every bite different from the other.
So, are all the above claims valid, or is it a marketing gimmick? Read on and find out.
Ingredients used in the cat formula
Chicken meal, brewers rice, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), corn gluten meal, animal liver flavor, fish, malt extract, dried egg product, natural and artificial flavors, phosphoric acid, calcium carbonate, brewers dried yeast, bacon (preserved with sodium nitrite), salt, dried cheese powder, choline chloride, added color, Taurine, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, Yellow 5, Vitamin E supplement, niacin, manganese sulfate, citric acid, Yellow 6, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine Mononitrate, copper sulfate, riboflavin supplement, Red 40, Vitamin B-12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, Blue 2, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, BHA (a preservative), biotin, Menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), BHT (a preservative), sodium selenite. A-6199
An overview of the first five ingredients
Chicken meal is ground up chicken meat that has been carefully dried to a moisture level of 10%. The protein content is 65% and the fat level is 12%. Many pet owners feel that chicken is a superior ingredient to chicken meal. It would seem logical that feeding a pet a whole, non-rendered chicken would be good. However, whole chicken still contains its moisture content prior to cooking and since whole chicken consists of about 80% moisture, after the cooking process is over there isn’t much left. With chicken meal, the moisture was removed prior to cooking. That means, chicken meal actually has a much higher protein percentage and provides far more beneficial nutrients to your cats than whole chicken. Meals consist of meat and skin, with or without the bones, but exclusive of feathers/hair, heads, feet, horns, entrails etc. and have the proper calcium/phosphorus ratio required for a balanced diet. It’s also important to note the quality difference between “chicken by-product meal” and “chicken meal.” While we do take exception to chicken by-products, chicken meal is actually a very high quality and nutritious ingredient. We are happy to see this listed.
Brewers rice is the small milled fragments of rice kernels that have been separated from the larger kernels of milled rice. It is a processed rice product that is missing many of its nutrients, but does provide a source of carbohydrates. It is a by-product of rice milling and considered a lower quality filler ingredient usually used in lower priced cat food blends. Usually, brewers rice is used to make rice flour, but if the quality is too poor for rice flour, it will then be sold to pet food or dairy feed companies. For many cats, this ingredient can cause allergies or digestion issues. Most cats will not have any problems processing this food, but it’s not one of the better ingredients, either.
Animal fat preserved with mixed tocopherols
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.
Tocopherol is a naturally occurring chemical element found in a variety of foods. It is commonly called vitamin E in a generic sense, as vitamin E substances are made up of tocopherol and similar elements. The main purpose of this ingredient is to provide a natural preservative for the food. Since this is a natural preservative, it is generally considered safe.
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.
Animal liver flavor
When the ingredient “animal liver flavor” is used, what animal did this liver flavor come from? We don’t know, and either do you. The only one who really knows this answer is the manufacture. You can try calling them to ask, but most pet food companies are tight lipped about their “proprietary information.” To put things in perspective, this ingredient is so processed that it’s just the FLAVOR of an unnamed animal liver. This ingredient can even be synthetically derived to imitate liver flavor. While it probably won’t pose much harm to your cat, the fact this is a flavor coming from an unnamed animal leaves us wondering, and that doesn’t instill much confidence or imply quality.
Other ingredients worth mentioning
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 is cause for concern. 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.
Taurine is an essential amino acid that is critical for normal heart muscle function, vision, and reproduction in cats. Since cats are unable to create proper levels of taurine in their body naturally, it must be supplemented in their food. That’s why you’ll see this ingredient listed for so many different cat food blends. For cat foods that contain enough high quality animal based proteins, a taurine supplement may not be needed. However, most cat foods will need to add in additional taurine in the form of a supplement to the food. Even when included as a supplement instead, there is very low to almost zero health risk associated with this ingredient. In fact, a lack of taurine can cause a slew of issues, so it’s very important to make sure your cat is receiving enough taurine in his or her diet.
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.
Will this cat formula cause allergic reactions in my cat?
Apparently, the answer is a big YES. This is because the formula contains so many allergy causing ingredients.
The cat food could be termed as below average formula. Although it has various nutritious ingredients, the presence of allergy causing ingredients such as corn and wheat make it somewhat risky for cats prone to allergies.