Do you own an active cat? In order for your cat to remain active and happy, it is necessary that you ensure it feeds on formulas that encourage its active lifestyle. Cats need to eat foods that are made with sufficient probiotics and protein, which support your cat’s energetic nature and at the same time build strong muscles and provide it with energy.
According to Royal Canin, a company that manufactures cat food, their Feline Health Nutrition Ultra Light comes with all the aforementioned benefits. This cat food has been advertised as having been made using ingredients all adult cats need. It has also been said to have the ability to control your adult cat’s body weight thereby preventing it from getting over or under weight. The company also claims that this cat food has been formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles for adult maintenance.
So, is this formula the best option for your adult feline companion?
Ingredients used to make this formula
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.
Review of 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 to
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.
Natural Flavor: The term “natural flavor” is extremely vague and can mean just about anything. In human foods, natural flavor is usually MSG or some similar flavor enhancer. When pet food companies are asked what is in their “natural flavor ingredients, they usually refuse to answer. There are a lot of things in the world considered “natural” and they almost all have a flavor. Such generic terms can be indicative of poor quality ingredients. While that’s not always the case, the fact is, we don’t really know what this ingredient consists of and that is worrying.
Will my cat suffer from allergic reactions?
The Feline Health Nutrition Ultra Light is a formula that is worth trying on your adult cat. However, the presence of corn, wheat and gluten may be a cause for concern as both are known to cause allergic reactions in cats. Therefore, if you have a cat that suffers from allergic reactions it is best that you do not feed it on this formula.
Ingredients to avoid
Artificial coloring: We find it quite irresponsible to include artificial coloring in pet food since the health concerns about these added colors are so controversial. Your cat does not care what color their food is and the only reason artificial coloring is added to this product is for marketing purposes. It makes the food look better to you YOU, the human consumer. Of course, many cat food brands are very defensive about their use of food coloring. Here is an example of how the Purina brand defends their use of fool coloring. Notice how even in their explanation, there is no perceived benefit to these ingredients other than changing the color. There is also a growing amount of evidence to suggest food coloring may be linked to cancer in not just dogs and cats, but also humans. Here is an article that explains a bit further. In short, since there is some controversy surrounding this ingredient, we find it a bit strange that cat food companies would spend money adding this ingredient into a product when at best, it has zero nutritional value for your cat and only has marketing value. At worse, it could pose health risks. It just doesn’t seem like the risk of including this ingredient is worth it.
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 Ultra Light is a formula that will definitely provide your cat with optimum nutrition. The only downside is that there are some allergens used in its formulation making it unsuitable for cats that suffer from allergic reactions.