Are you interested in learning how best to feed your kitten? In order for your young feline to develop into a mature adult cat, it is important to ensure that you feed it on the most nutritious formulas in the market. The best formulas contain healthy and natural ingredients that support the overall health of your feline. Meat based protein sources and natural fiber sources are important for any cat formula. Therefore, it is important for you take your time when choosing formulas for your feline.
The Purina Kitten Chow nurturing formula is one of the many dry formulas for kittens available today. According to the manufacturer, this formula is rich in proteins, vitamins and carbohydrates among other nutrients to support the overall health of your feline.
Is this the most ideal formula for your feline? Read on to find out.
The ingredients in this formula
Chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, brewers rice, soy flour, animal fat preserved with mixed tocopherols (form of vitamin E), wheat flour, fish meal, animal liver flavor, dried yeast, turkey by-product meal, calcium carbonate, phosphoric acid, salt, choline chloride, taurine, potassium chloride, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, niacin, maganese sulfate, vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, red 40, copper sulfate, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), sodium selenite.
An overview of the first five ingredients
Chicken by-product meal
While this ingredient does provide a high amount of meat protein, this meat source is considered to be of lower quality than many other meat sources. Chicken By-Product Meal is produced through a process of cooking, drying and separation of fats and proteins from animal carcasses. It contains a dehydrated combination of meat (or cuts or parts) including lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, necks, undeveloped eggs and intestines. Usually, by-products are the “left overs” that can’t be used for human food consumption. The greatest fault of this ingredient is the same trait that makes it so affordable and so commonly found in pet foods. The unpredictability of what might (or might not) be included.
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.
Brewers rice is the small milled fragments of rice kernels that have been separated from the larger kernels of milled rice. It is a processed rice product that is missing many of its nutrients, but does provide a source of carbohydrates. It is a by-product of rice milling and considered a lower quality filler ingredient usually used in lower priced cat food blends. Usually, brewers rice is used to make rice flour, but if the quality is too poor for rice flour, it will then be sold to pet food or dairy feed companies. For many cats, this ingredient can cause allergies or digestion issues. Most cats will not have any problems processing this food, but it’s not one of the better ingredients, either.
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
Wheat flour is a powder made from the grinding of wheat. It helps with the cooking process and also helps to increase the nutrient values of the food. However, cats do not digest wheat in the same way they digest other meat based products. Wheat does not provide much nutrition to cats and is considered a lower quality ingredient. Some cats have problems digesting wheat and others may experience allergic reactions to this ingredient. In lower quantities, this is considered to be a safe ingredient for cats, but it isn’t considered to be a high quality or nutritious ingredient, either.
When you see fish listed as “fish meal” on an ingredients list, that means almost all of the moisture was removed from the fish prior to the cooking process. That means fish meal contains a much higher amount of protein as opposed to it’s whole fish counterpart. However, we aren’t pleased that this ingredient is an unnamed fish source. Fish meal can contain almost any type of fish, including fish waste products that are not used for human consumption purposes. Whenever we see an unnamed fish source, we get a little nervous about what may (or may not) be included.
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.
Yeast is the common name for various forms of processed yeast products that are used as food additives or flavors. They are often used in the same way that monosodium glutamate (MSG) is used and, like MSG, often contain free glutamic acid. In general, yeast is considered to be a non-nutritious ingredient. It does have the potential to cause allergies or other issues in cats, but in lower quantities, it is unlikely to cause widespread issues.
Is this an allergy causing formula?
This formula is likely to cause allergies. It contains several allergy causing ingredients. This makes this formula unsuitable for cats with food allergies.
Healthy ingredients that lack in this formula
Vegetables – This is a pretty generic ingredient and it can include virtually any vegetable. Because of this, we are unable to properly analyze this ingredient. However, since cats are obligate carnivores, they do not gain much of any nutritional benefit from vegetables. That being said, in nature, cats almost always consume the stomach contents of their prey which usually includes various fruits and vegetables. It’s unfortunate this labeling is so generic as we are unable to vouch for the quality of the vegetables included.
Potatoes – Potatoes provide a lot of carbs and unfortunately, cats do not digest carbs well and it can also lead to weight gain. This ingredient is becoming more popular in “grain-free” cat foods because while potatoes are not grains, they serve much the same purpose by acting as a non-nutritious filler. The good news is potatoes are complex carbs. These complex carbs are easier to digest than whole grains and also don’t spike blood sugar levels like the simple carbs do. But, anyway you cut it… carbs are carbs and cats don’t need them. This is a rather non-nutritious ingredient.
Real meat protein – The labeling of this ingredient leaves quite a bit to be desired. “Real meat” could mean meat from just about any animal, including what is known as 4D meat products. 4D meat products come from animals that were dying, diseased, deformed, or already dead prior to slaughtering. They are not approved for human consumption and are typically only used in pet feed products. It’s also interesting to see them use the term “real” to describe this ingredient. Usually this ingredient is only listed as “meat and bone meal” but the fact “real” is added makes it seem like a gimmicky marketing tactic. It’s rather unfortunate to see this unnamed meat and bone meal listed.
The Purina Kitten Chow (dry) cat formula is a low quality formula for kittens. It contains low nutritive and allergy causing ingredients. These make it unsuitable for growing kittens as it can cause malnutrition and allergies.