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Do you know the health benefits of feeding your feline on seafood? Unlike chicken, beef and turkey protein sources, seafood offers your cat additional nutrients over and above protein and essential amino acids. There are numerous formulas with seafood ingredients. A variety of these contain seafood flavors. Seafood flavors do not offer the nutritional benefits of real seafood. It is, therefore, important to ensure you get a formula with real seafood.
The Friskies saucy seafood bake (wet) is one of the formulas claiming to offer your cat real seafood. According to the manufacturer, this formula comes with a delightful taste for your feline to enjoy. The manufacturer also claims that this formula is a perfect combination of real meat, vegetables and grains to support your cat’s all rounded health.
Is this formula as healthy as it is claimed to be?
Water sufficient for processing, sardines, wheat gluten, rice, meat by-products, ocean whitefish, corn bran, liver, chicken, artificial and natural flavors, corn starch-modified, spinach, chicken by-products, soy flour, calcium phosphate, potassium chloride, added color, choline chloride, salt, taurine, thiamine mononitrate, Vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, Red 3, ferrous sulfate, niacin, calcium pantothenate, Vitamin A supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, biotin, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, potassium iodide.
An overview of the first five ingredients
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.
A sardine is a young pilchard or other young or small herringlike fish. Some cat owners like to avoid fish in cat food because sea food is not usually a part of a cats natural diet. All fish products also contain a certain level of mercury and some cat owners fear that over time, the ingestion of mercury could be harmful (although there is very little evidence to suggest a significant risk). Overall, this ingredient does supply some extremely nutritious properties including protein and very healthy fatty acids.
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 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.
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.
Other ingredients in this formula
Ocean whitefish is a species of tilefish native to the eastern Pacific Ocean. This ingredient is likely included for its protein content as well as very healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. While this ingredient probably isn’t something most cats would eat in a natural or wild environment, the ingredient does contain some very essential nutrient sources. Some cat owners worry about the mercury content in fish since all fish contains some level of mercury, but the health risk is considered to be pretty low.
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.
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.
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.
Is this an allergy causing formula?
Unfortunately, this cat food contains wheat and corn extracts. This makes it potentially harmful to allergic cats.
Harmful ingredients to avoid 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.
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.
The Friskies saucy seafood bake (wet) is a low quality formula. Even though it contains several healthy and quality ingredients, it also contains allergy causing and potentially harmful ingredients. This makes it only ideal for cats that do not suffer from allergies.