Worried that your adult cat is gaining too much weight? In such a situation, you might want to review the kind of nutrition your cat is getting from the formulas it feeds on. Chances are the food it feeds on contains a lot of carbohydrates which is one of the many causes of weight gain in cats. Excess weight has been known to lead to a variety of health conditions some of which are critical. The good news is, by changing its diet your cat will be well on its way to its normal weight.
One such cat formula is the Feline Health Nutrition Digest Sensitive from. According to the manufacturer, Royal Canin, this cat formula has been made in such a way that it can control your cat’s weight. This formula has also been advertised as being made to meet your cat’s instinctive preferences and nutritional needs.
Is this all true? Read on to find out.
Ingredients in Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Digest Sensitive
Water sufficient for processing, chicken, chicken liver, pork by-products, pork liver, gelatin by-product, dried egg product, powdered cellulose, wheat flour, natural flavors, corn starch modified, potassium citrate, calcium carbonate, guar gum, sodium tripolyphosphate, taurine, carrageenan, chloine chloride, vitamins (DL-alpha tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), niacin supplement, biotin, D-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement), L-carnitine, trace minerals (zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, iron sulfate, copper sulfate, managanous oxide, sodium selenite, calcium iodate.
A close look at the first five ingredients
Water sufficient for processing: For canned foods, water being at the top of the ingredients list is normal. As you could probably guess, water doesn’t do anything in the way of providing nutritional value, but it does help to keep the food moist. Sometimes a broth will be used instead of water, but all canned foods will require a high amount of moisture content.
Chicken: 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.
Chicken Liver: 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.
Pork By-Products: 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. The quality and composition can change from one batch to another. For the most part, this ingredient contains the “non-meat” poultry products like feet, beaks, and bones. While you probably wouldn’t want to eat poultry by-products on your own dinner plate, cats tend to love this stuff. This ingredient does provide a high amount of protein, but we are unable to tell exactly what parts of the animal they are using and that is a bit troublesome.
Pork Liver: While beef and chicken livers are the most common liver sources in cat food, occasionally we will find pork liver. Some cat owners believe liver is toxic to cats, but this is only true in very large quantities. When provided in safe quantities, like in this food, it is completely safe. The health benefits of pork liver mostly come from its vitamin A and iron contents. Liver is said to improve eye health, balance energy levels, and improve both red and white blood cell development. Since human demand for pork liver is low, this ingredient is readily available and is a cheaper meat source.
Other ingredients used
Dried egg product: Derived from shell free eggs, this is a cheaper source of protein used in place of higher quality meat proteins. Normally, this ingredient is derived from waste products associated with the egg industry or egg products that have been deemed unfit for human consumption.
Powdered cellulose: 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.
Wheat flour: 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.
Corn starch modified: This is a derivative of corn, chemically altered to dissolve quickly and serve as a thickener. People who have wheat and gluten allergies should avoid products with this ingredient. The ingredient is made by physically, enzymatically or chemically altering starch to change its inherent properties. In this instance, modified does not necessarily mean genetically modified, however some modified starches are likely made from genetically modified ingredients (most corn in the United States is genetically modified, for example). You probably won’t find very many people who claim this is a high quality ingredient.
Will my cat suffer from allergic reactions?
This formula has been made using ingredients that provide your cat with all the nutrition necessary for its well-being. However, the presence of gluten and corn cannot be ignored since both have been associated with allergic reactions in cats. Therefore, there’s likelihood that your cat might suffer from allergic reactions from consuming this formula. If your cat does not suffer from allergic reactions, this formula is worth a try.
Ingredients to avoid
Artificial colors: There is absolutely no reason to included artificial colors into any cat food, ever. It’s extremely disappointing to see this ultra-low quality ingredient included. Added artificial coloring 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.
Artificial flavors: While it might seem obvious, we have some concerns about the use of artificial flavoring in cat food. This ingredient is usually derived petroleum and there have not been many studies done on the effects it has on cats. Unfortunately, artificial flavor can come from a very long list of sources and there is no way we can verify how safe this ingredient is. We generally recommend not feeding your cat any “flavors” even if it is natural flavor. In the case of artificial flavor, we don’t see any benefit to having this included.
The Feline Health Nutrition Digest Sensitive is a formula that will provide your cat with all the nutrition it needs for its daily activities. However, the presence of allergens makes it a somewhat risky buy. You can try it out if your cat is not allergy prone.