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Are you looking for a healthy snack for your cat? It is always advisable to incorporate cat snacks into your cat’s daily diet. These snacks ensure your cat remains energized and full until meal time. There are numerous cat food brands that manufacture snacks as part of their cat food varieties. This means that you’ll have your work cut out for you when picking cat treats.
The Friskies Party Mix Wild West Crunch is one of the many dry cat treats available in the market.This cat treat is said to contain a variety of flavors and meat pieces.
Is this the most ideal cat treat for your feline companion? Find out below.
Chicken meal, brewers rice, beef tallow preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), corn gluten meal, animal liver flavor, fish, malt extract, turkey by-product meal, natural and artificial flavors, phosphoric acid, dried cheese powder (predominantly cheddar cheese), calcium carbonate, dried yeast, salt, choline chloride, added color (Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 40, Blue 2 and other color), taurine, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, niacin, manganese sulfate, citric acid, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, 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.
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.
Beef tallow preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E)
Tallow is a rendered form of beef or mutton fat, processed from suet. Suet is the hard white fat on the kidneys and loins of cattle, sheep, and other animals, used to make foods including puddings, pastry, and mincemeat. In short, Beef tallow is to beef what lard is to pork. Bottom line is that this is a fat source used in the food. Like all other carnivores, cats require a certain amount of fat in their diet. Beef tallow is also able to stay fresher for longer – another reason this is a popular ingredient in cat food. We have no problems with this ingredient being used and is probably beneficial to your cat.
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 in this cat food
The fish used in canned pet foods usually includes parts of the fish not typically used for human consumption. It is high in phosphorus and magnesium, which can be an issue in cats with a history of urinary tract disorders or kidney disease. Most fish used in pet food is that of very low quality, including farmed fish and discarded fish that is deemed unacceptable for human consumption. There is also a risk of mercury exposure as many types of fish contain a high mercury level. Over long periods of time, this can become hazardous. It is also important to try and find a cat food with ethoxyquin free fish. Most cat food brands do not disclose if their fish is ethoxyquin free and if it isn’t, that could pose some problems. Most cats love the taste of fish and will be happy to eat it, but it isn’t part of a regular diet for wild cats. Nonetheless, this is a high protein source with essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Malt is germinated cereal grains that have been dried in a process known as “malting”. Malt can be further processed to produce liquid or dried sweeteners called malt extracts. Interestingly, malt extract has been shown to be a possible laxative for cats, but with the quantity of the ingredient found here, it is unlikely to cause any messy digestion issues. More likely, this ingredient is included to make the food taste better to your cat. While it does not provide any nutrition to your cat, it doesn’t appear there are any known health risks associated with this ingredient.
Turkey by-product meal
Turkey is a fantastic source of very healthy animal based proteins. Since this is listed as turkey meal, that means almost all of the moisture was removed prior to the cooking process. This is actually a good thing as it will contain many times more protein than turkey that was cooked without the moisture being removed. Since this is a by-product, it may not include the most nutritious parts of the turkey including beaks and bones.
Natural and artificial 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.
Is this an allergy causing cat treat?
Unfortunately, this cat food contains several allergy causing ingredients. This means that this treat is only ideal for cats without food sensitivities.
Harmful ingredients mostly used in cat foods
Corn, wheat and soy – All three of these ingredients are known allergens for many cats. In addition, many cats have problems digesting these grain based ingredients. Since cats are obligate carnivores, their digestive systems are designed to digest meat and not grains. All of these ingredients will help to boost the protein percentage in cat food, but not all protein is created equally. Cats do not digest plant based proteins in the same way as meat proteins and in fact, gain little to no nutritional value from these grains. Several “grocery store brand” cat foods include these products to keep the price down as it is a cheap filler to help make your cat feel full as well as a cheap way to add protein to the food.
Added color and flavor – 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.
Gluten – This ingredient is associated with causing allergies in cats. It is also known to raise sugar levels in cats. Over time, this can lead to diabetes. Gluten refers to the proteins found in wheat endosperm which is a type of tissue produced in seeds that’s ground to make flour. Many pet food manufactures will use this ingredient to help boost the protein percentage of the food.
The Friskies party mix Wild West crunch (dry) cat treat is an average formula. While it contains a few controversial ingredients, it also contains numerous healthy ingredients. It should only be fed to cats without food sensitivities.