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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
Turkey, Turkey Broth, Turkey Liver, Cod, Pork Broth, Natural Flavors, Minerals, Sodium Phosphate, Xanthan Gum, Fish Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols), Vitamins (Choline Chloride, Thiamine Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride [Vitamin B6], Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Carrageenan, Carob Bean Gum, Salt, Taurine
Top 5 Ingredients Analysis
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.
Any type of broth is mostly used as an alternative to simply using water. It adds moisture to the food and a broth helps to make the food more appetizing and tastier for your cat. This ingredient is rather void of much nutritional value, but there is no evidence to suggest there are any problems with this ingredient. It can be commonly found in many different brands of cat food.
In the wild, cats almost always eat the liver of their prey. It is a rich source of vitamin A which cats must obtain from their food since they can’t make it in their bodies. This is also a good secondary source of protein. If cats consume too much liver, it could cause toxicity, but the amount needed for liver to become toxic to cats is very high. Liver is provided in safe quantities in this cat food blend.
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.
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.
Additional Ingredients Of Interest
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.
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.