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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
Catfish, Chicken Broth, Pork Broth, Natural Flavors, Minerals, Carrageenan, Carob Bean Gum, Sodium Phosphate, Xanthan Gum, Fish Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols), 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
Catfish is a well known freshwater or marine fish with whiskerlike barbels around the mouth, typically bottom-dwelling. It is a type of wolffish sometimes used for human consumption and on rare occasions, used in dog and cat foods. Some cat owners worry about feeding fish products because many times the fish can come from fish farms and sometimes, only the fish waste products are used for pet foods (scales, heads, etc). It’s tough to tell if that is necessarily the case in this food, but it is possible.
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.
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.
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.
Additional Ingredients Of Interest
This is an additive extracted from red and purple seaweeds, consisting of a mixture of polysaccharides. It is used as a thickening or emulsifying agent in food products. There is still much research being done on this additive and while it is generally considered safe, there is room for caution as carrageenan has produced intestinal damage and ulcers in some animal studies. If you would like more information about the ongoing research of this ingredient, you may reference this research study.
Carob Bean Gum
Also called locust bean gum, this ingredient is a thickening agent and a gelling agent, used to give food the proper texture and consistency. It is a galactomannan vegetable gum extracted from the seeds of the carob tree, mostly found in the Mediterranean region. While this ingredient does not provide any nutrition for cats, it does help in the cooking process of the food.
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.
This is a substance produced by bacterial fermentation or created synthetically and is used in cat foods as a gelling agent and thickener. It is composed of glucose, mannose, and glucuronic acid. It is what causes the black rot on veggies that have been in the fridge too long. Once the bacteria has fermented, it is pasteurized (killed) and filtered. The resulting xanthan gum is then treated with isopropyl alcohol, dried, ground, and diluted to desired consistency. The finished product is a loose, whitish-colored powder. The behavior of xanthan gum makes it ideal for food processing purposes and is used in human food frequently. Nutritionally speaking, it is a carbohydrate with about seven grams of fiber per tablespoon. Xanthan gum is made using carbohydrates from corn, wheat, dairy, or soy which are all common food allergens for many cats.
Fish Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols)
Fish oil is oil derived from the tissues of oily fish. It contains a high amount of healthy fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6. The oil is usually made from fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines. Mixed tocopherols are a combination of the four tocopherols present in vitamin E: delta tocopherol, alpha tocopherol, gamma tocopherol and beta tocopherol. Some mixed tocopherol supplements may not contain all four tocopherols but instead might combine two or three in various concentrations. Vitamin E is extremely important for cats so if a cat food blend does not include enough vitamin E naturally, they will add it with forms of tocopherol. There are no widespread problems with either of these ingredients.