Are you sick and tired of feeding your indoor feline on the same dry formula day in day out? Maybe it is time for some change. Lucky for you, the market is full of different types and brands of dry food formula. On the flip side, this may not be a good thing since it makes the selection process a tad bit tiring. This is especially so when you are trying to find a formula that fits your cat’s indoor lifestyle. Even so, you can still manage to find the most ideal dry formula for your feline.
The Purina Cat Chow Indoor formula is a dry cat food that is said to support the health of indoor cats. According to the company that manufactures this formula, this cat food supports the health of your indoor cats, and also aids in weight management since indoor cats are less active. This is a low calorie formula that contains all the nutrients your cat needs to enjoy an indoor lifestyle.
Are all these claims true, or are they simply marketing hype?
The ingredients in this formula
Corn meal, poultry by-product meal, corn gluten meal, soy flour, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), powdered cellulose, animal liver flavor, soybean hulls, malt extract, calcium carbonate, phosphoric acid, salt, choline chloride, potassium chloride, taurine, zinc sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, parsley flakes, niacin, added color (Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 2), copper sulfate, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), sodium selenite.
An overview of the first five ingredients
Considered a low quality ingredient, corn meal is usually used as a “filler ingredient” but provides almost no nutritional value to cats. This ingredient is also a known allergy causing ingredient for many cats. We aren’t all that thrilled to see this ingredient listed.
Poultry by-product meal
This ingredient is made from grinding clean, rendered parts of poultry carcasses and can contain bones, offal and undeveloped eggs, but only contains feathers that are unavoidable in the processing of the poultry parts. This ingredient is not approved for human consumption, but is used frequently in pet foods. This is because it can contain a lot of non-meat products like beaks, feet, heads and bones. Since this ingredient is dried prior to cooking, the protein percentage is quite high and that’s a good indicator. However, poultry in general can legally contain a number of birds and we aren’t able to tell exactly what bird species have been used in this ingredient. Be aware that the consistency of this ingredient may change from time to time with a variation of poultry products being used.
Corn gluten meal
This is the dried residue from corn after the removal of the larger part of the starch and germ, and the separation of the bran by the process employed in the wet milling manufacture of corn starch or syrup, or by enzymatic treatment of the endosperm. The expression “corn gluten” is colloquial jargon that describes corn proteins that are neither gliadin nor glutenin. Only wheat, barley, rye and oat contain true gluten. For the most part, this ingredient is normally only found in cheaper “grocery store brand” cat foods. Corn is frequently used as a filler ingredient to help make your cat feel more full, but it does not add much of anything to the nutritional value in the food. In addition, this is a common allergen for many cats and corn based ingredients can often be difficult for cats to digest. That’s why we can’t recommend this food for cats with food allergies or sensitive digestive systems.
Many pet food companies seem pretty headstrong about defending their use of soy products, even calling health concerns associated with soy to be a myth. Wysong is one of those companies and to be fair, you can read their opinion about this ingredient here. However, we tend to agree with many of those outside the pet food industry that see major problems using any form of soy in cat food. There is no doubt this ingredient has been the subject of much controversy over the years and the benefits claimed by pet food companies is questionable at best. Why would pet food companies insist on using such a controversial ingredient? They claim it’s for health benefits, but we think it’s rather convenient that soy four is so cheaply made. It’s safe to say this is not considered a high quality ingredient by most experts and at best, it is a mediocre ingredient that we, in general, do not recommend for cats.
Animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E)
Animal fat provides essential fatty acids, energy, and fat soluble vitamins. This ingredient can also support a healthy skin and coat. Unfortunately, when it comes to fat sources, animal fat is considered to be a lower quality ingredient. This is because it is an unnamed fat source. Usually, we like to see a named fat source (such as “chicken fat”). In this case, we are forced to guess what animal or animals this fat source comes from. Animal fat, also called tallow, is a product of rendering. In the rendering process, pieces, parts, and even whole animals are put through a gigantic grinder, then boiled in vats for 30 minutes to several hours. High heat is necessary to kill bacteria, viruses, molds, and other pathogens. The boiling process also allows the fat to separate and float to the top, where it is skimmed off for use in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, industrial lubricants, and, of course, pet food.
Tocopherol is a naturally occurring chemical element found in a variety of foods. It is commonly called vitamin E in a generic sense, as vitamin E substances are made up of tocopherol and similar elements. The main purpose of this ingredient is to provide a natural preservative for the food. Since this is a natural preservative, it is generally considered safe.
Other ingredients in this formula
Powdered cellulose is a cheap filler ingredient. It is obtain as a pulp from fibrous plant material and highly refined. Once processed, it looks and feels very similar to sawdust. Cellulose is used in a wide number of ways. In addition to being added to pet food, it is used quite a bit in human foods, but can also be used for things like insulation, rope making, and textiles. Just like in humans, this ingredient is indigestible for cats. There is no hard evidence to suggest this ingredient is unhealthy, but it wouldn’t be considered a higher quality ingredient, either.
Animal liver flavor
When the ingredient “animal liver flavor” is used, what animal did this liver flavor come from? We don’t know, and either do you. The only one who really knows this answer is the manufacture. You can try calling them to ask, but most pet food companies are tight lipped about their “proprietary information.” To put things in perspective, this ingredient is so processed that it’s just the FLAVOR of an unnamed animal liver. This ingredient can even be synthetically derived to imitate liver flavor. While it probably won’t pose much harm to your cat, the fact this is a flavor coming from an unnamed animal leaves us wondering, and that doesn’t instill much confidence or imply quality.
Soybean hulls are a by-product of soybean processing for oil and meal production. This ingredient will not provide much of any nutritional benefit for your cat and in fact, some cats are allergic to soy based products. This can also be a difficult ingredient for some cats to digest properly. While most cats will be able to consume this ingredient without major problems, at best, it is a non-nutritious filler ingredients that is used as a way to boost the protein percentage in the food, even though cats can not process this protein source.
Malt is germinated cereal grains that have been dried in a process known as “malting”. Malt can be further processed to produce liquid or dried sweeteners called malt extracts. Interestingly, malt extract has been shown to be a possible laxative for cats, but with the quantity of the ingredient found here, it is unlikely to cause any messy digestion issues. More likely, this ingredient is included to make the food taste better to your cat. While it does not provide any nutrition to your cat, it doesn’t appear there are any known health risks associated with this ingredient.
Is this formula likely to cause allergies?
Judging from the list of ingredients, this formula is likely to lead to allergies. This is because it is made of some allergy causing ingredients. Therefore,this formula is only ideal for cats that do not suffer from allergies.
Other harmful ingredients to look out for
BHT and BHA – Both BHA & BHT are preservatives that have been banned in human foods in many countries due to cancer risks. However, they remain approved for use in pet foods. A growing number of pet owners are becoming aware of the potential dangers these ingredients bring and are shunning all foods containing BHA and BHT. BHA and BHT are extremely controversial ingredients in all forms of pet food.
Added color – There is absolutely no reason to included added color into any cat food, ever. It’s extremely disappointing to see this ultra-low quality ingredient included. Added color is used for marketing purposes only. They want their product to stand out sitting on the shelf at the store, so they add coloring to their product. Essentially, the coloring is added to entice YOU (the human) to purchase the food over other brands. Your cat could care less what color the food is. Unfortunately, added color is quite controversial as there is growing evidence suggesting cancer in cats from too much food color exposure. At worse, this is a harmful ingredient and at best, it is a marketing ploy with no nutritional value or positive benefit to your cat. We usually have a tough time recommending any cat food that includes such a controversial ingredient.
The Purina cat chow indoor dry formula is poor quality formula. It contains both healthy and unhealthy ingredients. This formula is only suitable to cats that do not suffer from allergies.