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Are you concerned that the quality of cat formulas deteriorates by the day? As more companies start producing cat formulas, it’s becoming quite hard to separate the wheat from the chaff when shopping for formulas. For this reason, cat owners should take it upon themselves to choose the most ideal formulas for their felines. Failure to do so can be detrimental to the health of their cats.
Before purchasing a cat formula, you need to ascertain that the ingredients used are healthy and of high biological value. The best cat foods are those that do not contain grain based ingredients.
The Natures Variety Chicken (dry) meal is one of the many dry formulas for felines available in the market today. According to the Natures Variety website, this formula contains ingredients that help with weight management, healthy development and digestion.
Is this the most ideal formula for your feline?
Chicken Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Tapioca, Salmon Meal, Natural Chicken Flavor, Pumpkinseeds, Montmorillonite Clay, Sun-Cured Alfalfa Meal, Potassium Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Biotin, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Acetate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Beta Carotene, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide), DL-Methionine, Choline Chloride, Dried Kelp, Salt, Taurine, Inulin, Apples, Chicken Eggs, Cranberries, Yeast Culture (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus niger Fermentation Extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum Fermentation Extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis Fermentation Extract, Freeze Dried Chicken (Including Freeze Dried Chicken Bone), Freeze Dried Turkey, Freeze Dried Turkey Liver, Freeze Dried Turkey Heart, Carrots, Butternut Squash, Ground Flaxseed, Broccoli, Lettuce, Spinach, Apple Cider Vinegar, Parsley, Honey, Salmon Oil, Rosemary Extract, Olive Oil, Blueberries, Alfalfa Sprouts, Persimmons, Rosemary, Sage, Clove.
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.
Chicken fat is a quality source of essential fatty acids and an excellent source of energy. Fat has a positive effect on the immune system and plays a beneficial role in stress response. Essential fatty acids are required for proper growth, reproduction, normal skin structure and a healthy coat. Because chicken fat contains virtually no protein, it’s use does not cause allergic reactions associated with the use of fresh chicken or chicken meal which contain high amounts of protein. Many times, mixed tocopherols, which are a natural source of Vitamin E activity, are used as a natural preservative to maintain freshness. This is considered a higher quality fat source in pet food.
Tapioca is a source of carbohydrate obtained from the roots of the cassava plant (Manihot esculenta), which is indigenous to Latin America. It is not a cereal grain like corn or wheat which have links to food allergies in cats. The benefit to using tapioca in a pet food as the primary carbohydrate source instead of typical grains is tapioca’s biochemical simplicity. Grains are complex in the sense that they contain proteins and other phytonutrients in addition to carbohydrates. Tapioca is just starch – a combination of amylase and amlylopectin. There are no known canine or feline allergies to tapioca, so this is becoming a more common ingredient in many pet foods.
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.
Natural chicken flavor
As you might expect, this ingredient is simply the extracted flavoring of chicken. We usually don’t like “flavor” ingredients, but in this case, the animal is named. This ingredient isn’t going to add any nutritional value to the food, but it may make the food taste better.
Other ingredients in this formula
Pumpkin seeds contain many nutrients that are good for your cat, like vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium, iron, manganese, magnesium, zinc and copper. They also contain essential fatty acids, antioxidants and fiber. The essential fatty acids in pumpkin seeds are good for coat shine and heart health. This ingredient also appears to help with cats who are having digestion issues or experiencing stomach discomfort. Some cats even enjoy a pumpkin seed or two as a tasty treat. Realistically, this ingredient will not provide a large amount of nutrition for your cat, but it does appear to have some benefits without much risk of adverse health effects.
Montmorillonite clay is used in some natural pet foods as a natural anti-caking agent. The clay has also been proven to strengthen bones and joints as well as boost the immune system in some cats. While this is not an especially nutritious ingredient for cats, there has not been a large number of adverse effects reported from this ingredient. In fact, a growing number of veterinarians are recommending to include this ingredient in a cats diet.
Sun-cured alfalfa meal
Alfalfa is a rich mineral food that has trace minerals such as zinc, iron, and manganese. It also includes vitamin A, vitamin C, as well as other nutrients that are beneficial to cats such as chlorophyll. The reason this is listed as “sun cured” is because it has been dried naturally by the sun. For the most part, this is just a marketing gimmick.
This chemical compound sometimes goes by the name “trace minerals.” It is a “metal halide salt” composed of potassium and chlorine. It is used in medicine, scientific applications, and food processing. Since potassium is an important nutrient for cats, this is a good way to supply it. It is also commonly used as a replacement for salt and to balance the pH level of the food to meet various requirements. Not only is it used in cat food, it is frequently used in human foods and medications as well. There is some evidence to suggest small intestinal ulcers may occur in cats after prolonged exposure to this ingredient, but this has yet to be proven or disproven.
Is this an allergy causing cat food?
Judging from the ingredients in this formula, it is unlikely that this cat formula can cause allergies. This is because it does not contain any allergy causing ingredients. This makes it perfect for your feline, even if it suffers from food allergies.
Harmful ingredient you should avoid
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.
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.
This is an above average cat formula that is ideal for all cat types. Unlike many dry formulas, this cat food does not contain any allergens and has no grain based ingredients. This makes it perfectly healthy for your feline.