This post may contain affiliate links. We are compensated for referring customers to our affiliate partners.
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 Broth, Cod, Chicken, Turkey, Beef Liver, Beef, Ground Rice, Mackerel, Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, DL-Methionine, Carrageenan, Salt, Sodium Ascorbate (source of vitamin C), Taurine, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Choline Chloride, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganous Sulfate, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Potassium Iodide, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Sodium Selenite.
Top 5 Ingredients Analysis
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.
Cod is a well known type of fish generally found in colder and deeper waters in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. In their natural habitat, cod (and other types of fish) are not part of a regular diet for cats. However, many cat food blends have begun including fish ingredients such as cod into their blends for the high protein percentage. This ingredient is also high in healthy fatty acids. Some debate suggests a diet high in fish ingredients could have longer term health implications when fed over time, but in general, cod is considered to be a healthy ingredient.
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.
As a whole meat ingredient, turkey is a fantastic source of very healthy animal based proteins. We are extremely pleased to see this ingredient listed. Unfortunately, in dry kibbles, there is not as much of this ingredient included as you might initially think. Ingredients are listed by weight prior to the cooking process and since whole turkey is about 70% moisture, the vast majority is cooked off. So while we think this is an excellent and nutritional ingredient, it does need to be complimented by other high quality meat protein ingredients when used in dry kibbles. In wet cat foods, however, this is not nearly as much of a concern.
Some cat owners think they should avoid any type of liver because in high quantities, liver can be toxic to cats. However, in proper quantities this is actually a very safe and nutritious ingredient for most cats. Beef liver is not something most people would find appetizing, but in the wild, cats eat almost every organ of their prey, including livers. It contains a high amount of protein, iron, vitamins, minerals, and many essential nutrients that an obligate carnivore like a cat needs to thrive.
Additional Ingredients Of Interest
Beef is considered to be a higher quality ingredient. It is an excellent source of animal protein and contains many other nutrients that are very important for a cat to survive and thrive. Since this is not in “meal” form, that means this ingredient still contains all of its moisture content prior to cooking. Once fully cooked, most of this ingredient will have evaporated due to its high moisture content. That means, even when this ingredient is ranked highly, it will usually only provide a small percentage of the overall protein in the food. There is no dismissing this ingredient, though. It is high quality and we are pleased to see it listed.
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.
Mackerel is a common name applied to a number of different species of pelagic fish, mostly, but not exclusively, from the family Scombridae. They are found in both temperate and tropical seas, mostly living along the coast or offshore in the oceanic environment. Fish based ingredients provide an excellent source of fatty acids, proteins, and very high quality nutrients. Some cat owners are worried about the increasing level of mercury in fish, but so far the FDA says it is well within’ safe limits for both humans and pets. In addition, some pet owners worry about where the fish comes from, because a lot of fish used in pet foods is obtained from farmed fish that have not passed inspections to be used in human consumption. It could also contain fish waste products that can’t be used anywhere else. So while there is some concern about this and any other fish based ingredient in cat food, in general, it is considered a higher quality nutrient source.
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.
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.