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, Chicken, Mackerel, Chicken Liver, Salmon, Potato Starch, Pork Plasma, Tomato Paste, Wheat Gluten, Tomato, Shrimp, Salt, Natural Flavors, Sodium Phosphate, Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, DL-Methionine, Tricalcium Phosphate, Taurine, Xanthan Gum, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Choline Chloride, Zinc Oxide, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Copper Proteinate, Manganous Sulfate, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Folic Acid, Biotin.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Additional Ingredients Of Interest
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.
Get ready, because this ingredient might gross you out a bit. This basically consists of pork blood and blood products. They just don’t like saying that on the label. Now, as unappetizing as that sounds, animal blood and in particular, plasma, does provide some nutrition to cats and isn’t unhealthy. In fact, it may provide some benefits including assisting in digesting food properly. The nutritional advantages of plasma as an added ingredient beyond that which is naturally in meat is partly due to immunologic fractions, including IgG, similar to what is found in the colostrum in breast milk. Plasma also contains haptoglobulin, growth factors, other proteins and peptides, and transferrins. The protein fraction of plasma is highly digestible and plasma also increases digestibility of other ingredients, including fiber.
This ingredient may surprise some cat owners because we often hear that cats should never eat tomatoes. Tomatoes are members of the Solanaceae family of plants, which includes the Deadly Nightshade, and contain a bitter, poisonous alkaloid called Glycoalkaloid Solanine, which can cause violent lower gastrointestinal symptoms. The leaves and stems are particularly toxic. However, tomatoes in pet foods are ripe, and should cause no concern because they appear in relatively small amounts. This ingredient may add some vitamins and minerals to the food, but overall, it doesn’t provide a whole lot of nutrition for your cat.
We don’t think any grain is “good” for your cat. It doesn’t mean wheat gluten is “bad” for your cat, either, but the fact it provides almost no nutritional value makes us question the quality of the ingredient. Wheat gluten can be a decent protein source for animals with digestive systems that can break it down, but as obligate carnivores, cats are not one of those animals. Their digestive systems produce only the enzymes necessary for processing animal-based proteins. There are also some allergy risks associated with wheat gluten. In addition, too much of this in a cats diet can potentially lead to weight gain and diabetes. Unfortunately, diabetes in cats is a very serious health problem, so it is important to keep a close eye on your cats weight and diabetic risk when feeding a cat food containing ingredients like wheat gluten.
This ingredient may surprise some cat owners because we often hear that cats should never eat tomatoes. These foods are members of the Solanaceae family of plants, which includes the Deadly Nightshade, and contain a bitter, poisonous alkaloid called Glycoalkaloid Solanine, which can cause violent lower gastrointestinal symptoms. The leaves and stems are particularly toxic. However, tomatoes in pet foods are ripe, and should cause no concern because they appear in relatively small amounts. This ingredient may add some vitamins and minerals to the food, but overall, it doesn’t provide a whole lot of nutrition for your cat.