Cat Food Reviews & Comparisons From The Cat Food Insider

Natural Balance Alpha Trout Salmon Meal and Whitefish Dry Cat Food Review

Natural Balance

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Is your cat completely in love with fish? Then you might want to get your hands on a fish based cat food formula. The only way to get the best formula for your cat is to go over the ingredients of the numerous fish based cat formulas to pick one that suits the nutritional needs of your cat.

The Alpha Trout Salmon Meal and Whitefish (dry) cat food is a fish based formula from the Natural Balance brand of pet foods. According to the manufacturer, the formula contains high quality proteins, fruits and vegetables that meet all the nutritional needs of your cat. The formula is suitable for cats in all life stages.

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Ingredients in the formula

Trout, Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Salmon Meal, Garbanzo Beans, Peas, Canola Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Fish Meal, Pea Protein, Sweet Potatoes, Whitefish, Potato Starch, Natural Flavor, Pumpkin, Alfalfa Meal, Dried Egg, Salmon Oil, Carrot Pomace, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Celery Pomace, Cranberries, Blueberries, Vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, menadione sodium bisulfite complex), Kelp Meal, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Inulin, Minerals (zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, sodium selenite, calcium iodide), Beet Pomace, Ascorbic Acid (source of vitamin C), Choline Chloride, Taurine, Parsley Pomace, Lettuce Pomace, DL-Methionine, L-Lysine, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Watercress Pomace, Spinach Pomace, Citric Acid And Mixed Tocopherols (preservatives), Rosemary Extract.

An in-depth look at the main ingredients in the formula


Fish ingredients have become much more common in dog food over the years and now, this ingredient has found its way into cat food. While fish is not the typical prey for cats in the wild, they do supply a healthy amount of protein and extremely beneficial fatty acids as well as other nutrients cats can benefit from. Some cat owners worry about the mercury level that naturally occurs in fish, but the FDA continues to state that the mercury levels in fish are safe for both humans and pets. There is also some concern about where this ingredient might be sourced from. If the fish contains ethoxyquin, this is definitely something you would not want to feed to your cat, but we are unable to verify whether this ingredient contains ethoxyquin or not. Also, most of the time, fish used in pet food is the fish that has been deemed unfit for human consumption for whatever reason. Nonetheless, this ingredient does provide a fairly high amount of healthy nutritional benefit.

Chicken Meal

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.


Potatoes provide a lot of carbs and unfortunately, cats do not digest carbs well and it can also lead to weight gain. This ingredient is becoming more popular in “grain-free” cat foods because while potatoes are not grains, they serve much the same purpose by acting as a non-nutritious filler. The good news is potatoes are complex carbs. These complex carbs are easier to digest than whole grains and also don’t spike blood sugar levels like the simple carbs do. But, anyway you cut it… carbs are carbs and cats don’t need them. This is a rather non-nutritious ingredient.

Salmon Meal

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.

Garbanzo Beans

Also known as chickpeas, these beans have a low glycemic index, are high in protein, and good sources of iron, copper, zinc, and magnesium. While this ingredient will help boost the nutrient levels in the food, the truth is cats don’t actually gain much of any nutritional benefit from this ingredient. Beans and peas have become much more popular because there has been a public backlash against grains in cat cat food. However, they are used much in the same way – as a filler ingredient. While some cats may have problems digesting this ingredient, most cats will not have any problems with it, regardless of the low nutritional benefit.

Ingredients of interest

Potato Starch

Potato starch is starch extracted from potatoes and is usually only included to assist with the consistency and texture of the food. Cats generally do not receive much nutritional value from this ingredient, although it may sometimes aid in proper digestion.

Natural Flavor

The term “natural flavor” is extremely vague and can mean just about anything. In human foods, natural flavor is usually MSG or some similar flavor enhancer. When pet food companies are asked what is in their “natural flavor ingredients, they usually refuse to answer. There are a lot of things in the world considered “natural” and they almost all have a flavor. Such generic terms can be indicative of poor quality ingredients. While that’s not always the case, the fact is, we don’t really know what this ingredient consists of and that is worrying.


While this ingredient will not provide much nutrition to your cat, pumpkin is quite tasty to cats and seems to aid in healthy digestion. Pumpkin is often a natural remedy that dog and cat owners use to help ease stomach or digestion discomfort. This is also a filler ingredient to help make your cat feel more full after a meal. Unlike many other filler ingredients, there are very few allergy or health risks associated with this ingredient.

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.

Is this an allergy causing formula?

Judging from the list of ingredients, the Natural Balance Alpha Trout Salmon Meal and Whitefish (dry) cat formula does not contain any known allergens. This means you can feed it to cats with food sensitivities without worrying about adverse reactions.

Harmful ingredients to watch out for

It is advisable for cat owners to avoid pets foods made from chemical compounds as well as those that have corn, wheat and soy. This is because most of these ingredients can bring harm to your pet. They can lead to poisoning and complicated health issues. For this reason, it is recommended that you take time and go through the list of ingredients on every formula before purchase.


Natural Balance Alpha Trout Salmon Meal and Whitefish (dry) cat food is what you need for your pet cat. This formula is protein rich, has a great source of carbohydrates and vitamins needed by cats for their day to day activities. Moreover, this formula is allergen free meaning you can feed it to cats that are sensitive to certain foods.

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