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Do you know that reading more about a cat formula before making a purchase can increase your chances of buying a great formula for your cat by up to 80%? For most cat owners, finding the most ideal and healthy cat food is their biggest challenge. Read on to find out about the Salmon and Green Pea cat formula.
The Natural Balance Salmon And Green Pea (wet) cat food is a grain free cat food. The manufacturers claim that this cat food is made from natural ingredients that support your cat’s overall health. So is this formula a safe bet for your pet cat?
Salmon, Salmon Broth, Pea Flour, Salmon Meal, Pea Protein, Natural Flavor, Salmon Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Carrageenan, Cassia Gum, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Salt, Cranberries, Flaxseed, Parsley, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Calcium Iodate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin, Vitamin A Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement.
An overview of the first five ingredients
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.
Like other types of broth in cat food, salmon broth is used as a flavor enhancer and source of moisture. It is considered to be a better ingredient to use than plain water. While not especially nutritious, your cat will probably appreciate the enhanced flavor and there are no known health risks associated with this ingredient.
Peas are becoming more and more common in pet foods today, especially those listed as grain-free, holistic, or natural pet foods. While peas are certainly not grains, they serve much the same purpose. It mostly acts as a filler and a cheap way to increase the protein percentage of the food. However, cats receive almost no nutritional value from peas. Since cats are obligate carnivores, they require proteins from meat based ingredients. There is very little research that has been performed on the long term effects of cats consuming peas. We do know that peas can cause runny poop or digestion issues in dogs, but the full effect on cats remains a bit of an unknown. Since the peas in this case are added as a flour, the ingredient is probably added to help with the consistency of the food and the cooking process.
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 causes any problems at all. 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.
As grain-free cat food becomes more popular, so does the inclusion of peas and pea fiber. That’s because peas can be used as a filler ingredient in similar ways grains are used, but they can still label the food as grain-free. Unfortunately, the full effect on a cats health from pea fiber is largely unknown. There have been some studies shown to suggest pea fiber can cause many dogs to have a runny stool, there is very little research that has been done on how cats are able to digest this ingredient. Overall, it probably will not harm your cat but it will not add much nutritional value to your cats diet, either.
Other ingredients in this cat food
Flaxseeds (also called linseeds) are a rich source of micronutrients, dietary fiber, manganese, vitamin B1, and the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, also known as ALA or omega-3. The seeds come from flax, one of the the oldest fiber crops in the world. It is not only a source of healthy fat, antioxidants, and fiber; modern research has found evidence to suggest that flaxseed can also help lower the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. The health risk associated with this ingredient is low and in general, flaxseed is considered to be a beneficial ingredient for cats.
This ingredient is an abundant source of natural vitamins. It also provides iron, copper, potassium, calcium, fiber, and several other nutrients. While it isn’t going to make up a large portion of the nutritional content in this food, it is a much better ingredient than many other “fillers” that pet food companies use like corn and other grains. The allergy risk associated with this ingredient is very low and even though this is a plant based ingredient, cats seem to digest it easily.
Yucca Schidigera Extract
Yucca schidigera, also known as the Mojave yucca or Spanish Dagger, is a flowering plant that is native to North American deserts. While this plant is on the list of toxic plants for dogs and cats, in lower quantities, it is not known to cause health issues. The main reason this ingredient is added to both cat and dog food products is to reduce the odor of their feces. The long term health effects of consuming this ingredient is a bit unknown, but to date, there does not appear to be any widespread health problems.
Any type of fish oil will produce some very high quality fatty acids, namely omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Even though cats do not digest many sea food ingredients in the wild, most people consider this to be a higher quality ingredient. There is some concern about the mercury levels in fish, but so far the FDA claims mercury levels in fish are safe for humans and pets.
Is this an allergy causing cat food?
According to the list of ingredients used to make this cat food, it is clear that there are no allergens used in this cat food. Therefore, this cat food is suitable for all cats, even those with food sensitivities.
Harmful ingredients mostly used in cat foods
Soy, wheat and corn – 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.
BHT – Both BHA & BHT are preservatives that have been banned in human foods in many countries due to cancer risks. However, they remain approved for use in pet foods. A growing number of pet owners are becoming aware of the potential dangers these ingredients bring and are shunning all foods containing BHA and BHT. A quick internet search on these preservatives will show that the backlash is gaining steam with many cat food companies abandoning these ingredients. BHA and BHT are extremely controversial ingredients in all forms of pet 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.
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.
Fortunately, none of these ingredients are present in this cat food.
The Natural Balance Salmon and Green Pea canned cat food is a quality cat food. It contains healthy ingredients that support the overall health of your cat. The absence of grain and other allergens is also a plus.