Nutro ultra cat food is a product of Nutro Products, Inc., a subsidiary of Mars Incorporated. The company was originally founded by John Saleen in 1926, making this one of the first commercial pet food products in the United States. Since that time, Nutro cat food products have grown into one of the largest brands available and can be found in most grocery and pet stores.
Unfortunately, Nutro products have a mixed reputation. Perhaps the most damaging allegation occurred in 1998 when trace levels of pentobarbital were found in two separate sampling of Nutro pet food products. Pentobarbital is the chemical used to euthanize pets, raising questions about where their meat by-products are sourced. Issues continued in 2007 as Nutro was included in the deadly melamine recalls that killed thousands of pets, then again in 2008 when a flood of illnesses were reported and linked to Nutro pet foods. Additional recalls were issued in 2009.
In spite of their shaky reputation, this brand continues to be a top player in the pet food industry. Below, you’ll find our analysis of the top 10 ingredients in this food. Please let us know what you think by using the rating system above this article and leave a comment below.
List Of Ingredients In This Cat Food
Chicken, Chicken Broth, Salmon, Chicken Liver, Duck, Pork Broth, Natural Flavors, Guar Gum, Sodium Phosphate, Minerals (Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Copper Sulfate), Fish Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols), Carrageenan, Vitamins (Choline Chloride, Thiamine Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Vitamin E Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride [Vitamin B6], Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex [Source of Vitamin K Activity]), Salt, Taurine
Top 5 Ingredients Analysis
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.
While chicken broth does not add much nutritional value to the food, it does add flavor and is considered to be a better alternative to water. The main reason for adding this ingredient is simply to add moisture.
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.
Here is another ingredient you probably wouldn’t want to see on your own dinner plate, but most cats seem to enjoy the taste of liver. Uncooked liver, or liver in very high quantities, can actually be toxic to cats. However, in this food, it is clearly provided well within safe limits. In fact, this ingredient is a pretty high quality ingredient overall. It provides a good source of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other nutrients your cat can benefit from.
Duck is an excellent alternative meat source and provides very high quality meat proteins for your cat. As a whole meat product, much of this ingredient is lost during the cooking process, but it is less water heavy than other whole meat ingredients like chicken or beef. So, while much of this ingredient is lost during the cooking process, it is still a very high quality ingredient and we are quite pleased to see it listed here.
Additional Ingredients Of Interest
Broth is used to add flavor and moisture to the food, but in this case, the broth comes from an unnamed source. We usually like to see a named broth source like chicken broth or vegetable broth, but since this ingredient is unnamed, we are left guessing. While it is unlikely this ingredient is harmful to your cat, we would much rather see a named broth source here.
While this ingredient may appear to be healthy and safe because it is “natural”, we believe this is a pretty poor quality ingredient. While it might be a harmless flavoring sprayed onto the food, natural flavors can be obtained from almost anything deemed “natural”. Not all things natural are good and some “natural flavor” sources can be downright harmful. Without being able to verify what chemicals are included into this ingredient, we feel a bit apprehensive about it.
This ingredient is also sometimes called guaran. It is primarily the ground endosperm of guar beans. The guar seeds are dehusked, milled and screened to obtain the guar gum. It is typically produced as a free-flowing, off-white powder. This ingredient is mostly used to thicken the food and give it more texture. It is an FDA-approved, all natural GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) ingredient used by the food and cosmetic industries. It also is used to improve the shelf life of the food and helps lower the glycemic index of food. Many cat food companies claim this ingredient also aids in digestion and weight loss. There is some minor debate about the benefits of this ingredient with some claiming negative impacts, but in general, this is thought to be a relatively non-nutritious yet safe ingredient.
Sodium phosphate is a generic term for a variety of salts. Salt is necessary for a cats body to function properly, but too much salt can be dangerous and even deadly. Usually, salt is added to pet food in order to meet AAFCO nutritional requirements. Salt, or sodium chloride, is indeed necessary so cat food that doesn’t contain enough will have a bit of it included. Salt helps your cats cells move nutrients and waste products where they need to go, and it helps his or her tummy make the right amount of acid to digest food properly. According to the Journal of Nutrition, average-sized cats need about 21 milligrams of salt per day. Many cat foods have higher concentrations than that. The National Research Council recommends no more than 42 milligrams per day. Most of the time, salt in commercial cat food products poses no danger and does have some nutritional benefit.
Only two vitamins (A and C) and two minerals (calcium and iron) are required on the food label. Cat food companies can voluntarily list other vitamins and minerals in the food. So, in this case, they have simply listed “minerals” but we’re not exactly sure what is included here. This ingredient is very unlikely to cause harm to your cat, but it would be nice if they would voluntarily list the minerals being used here.