Do you care about the health of your feline companion? Feeding it on essentially nutritious formulas is one of the ways to guarantee its health. This coupled with frequent visits to the vet can ensure you enjoy a long relationship with your cat. With so many formulas in the market, how exactly do you tell the difference between a quality formula and a poor one? The ingredients used in a formula can tell you volumes about the formula’s quality.
The Science Diet Adult Homestyle Chicken Supper (Wet) is one of the many formulas in the market today. According to the manufacturer of this product, this is a cat food that is made with a balanced blend of natural ingredients. It is also claimed to have a taste that will keep your feline coming back for more.
Is this a good option for your cat? Find out below.
The ingredients used to make the formula
Water, Chicken, Animal Liver, Wheat Flour, Brown Rice, Wheat Gluten, Carrots, Dextrose, Rice Starch-Modified, Spinach, Pork Plasma, Chicken Liver Flavor, Oat Fiber, Calcium Carbonate, Soybean Oil, Titanium Dioxide (color), Fish Oil, Sodium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Guar Gum, Vitamin E Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Caramel (color), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Zinc Oxide, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganous Sulfate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin A Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Menadoine Sodium Bisulfite Complex (source of vitamin K3).
A closer look at the first five ingredients
As you might expect, water is mostly added for moisture and cooking purposes. It does not add any nutritional value to the food.
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.
While liver provides some excellent nutrients for cats, this is an unnamed meat source. Since this is labeled as animal liver, this liver could come from just about any animal and that leaves a lot to the imagination. It also could indicate that this ingredient is inconsistent over time. They may include liver from one animal one month and another animal the next. So while we generally have no problem with liver in cat food, the fact this is an unnamed animal source has us a bit untrusting.
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.
Brown rice and white rice have similar amounts of calories and carbohydrates. The main differences between the two forms of rice lie in processing and nutritional content. When only the outermost layer of a grain of rice (the husk) is removed, brown rice is produced. To produce white rice, the next layers underneath the husk (the bran layer and the germ) are removed, leaving mostly the starchy endosperm. While many cat owners like to stay away from grain based ingredients, rice in general is easy for cats to digest and is not likely to cause allergic reactions. The rice will expand in your cats stomach helping him or her feel more full. So while this ingredient may not be especially nutritious, it does have value in the food and is unlikely to cause major problems. You should still avoid this ingredient if your cat has suffered from grain allergies in the past, but overall, this is a very low-risk ingredient even though it is a grain.
Other ingredients in the formula
Carrots – A good source of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, carrots are becoming more common in pet foods. This ingredient is also known to boost the immune system and help promote healthy eyes in cats as well as providing a good source of fiber.
Dextrose – Dextrose in food is a simple sugar. It is actually a type of glucose, which is a monosaccharide that is widely found in nature and is used by nearly every living organism as a source of energy at the cellular level. This ingredient could be added as a flavor enhancer. In addition, this ingredient is thought to be a stress reducer in cats. Like most sugars, any cats with diabetes should not be fed this ingredient. Many adult cats suffer from diabetes, so it’s important to keep your cats blood sugar level in healthy limits.
Rice Starch – This ingredient doesn’t add any nutritional value to the food. It is used more as a thickening agent and for texture in the food. One of the reasons they use rice is because fewer cats have allergic reactions to this grain than other grain based starches.
Pork Plasma – Get ready, because this ingredient might gross you out a bit. This basically consists of pork blood and blood products. They just don’t like saying that on the label. Now, as unappetizing as that sounds, animal blood and in particular, plasma, does provide some nutrition to cats and isn’t unhealthy. In fact, it may provide some benefits including assisting in digesting food properly. The nutritional advantages of plasma as an added ingredient beyond that which is naturally in meat is partly due to immunologic fractions, including IgG, similar to what is found in the colostrum in breast milk. Plasma also contains haptoglobulin, growth factors, other proteins and peptides, and transferrins. The protein fraction of plasma is highly digestible and plasma also increases digestibility of other ingredients, including fiber.
Can this formula cause allergies?
The Adult Homestyle Chicken Supper is a wet formula that is unlikely to cause allergies. Even though it contains wheat flour, it is not enough to trigger an allergy. This formula can be fed to cats with mild allergies.
Ingredients not to feed your cat on
Corn, soy and wheat – All three of these ingredients are known allergens for many cats. In addition, many cats have problems digesting these grain based ingredients. Since cats are obligate carnivores, their digestive systems are designed to digest meat and not grains. All of these ingredients will help to boost the protein percentage in cat food, but not all protein is created equally. Cats do not digest plant based proteins in the same way as meat proteins and in fact, gain little to no nutritional value from these grains. Several “grocery store brand” cat foods include these products to keep the price down as it is a cheap filler to help make your cat feel full as well as a cheap way to add protein to the food.
Gluten – This ingredient is associated with causing allergies in cats. It is also known to raise sugar levels in cats. Over time, this can lead to diabetes. Gluten refers to the proteins found in wheat endosperm which is a type of tissue produced in seeds that’s ground to make flour. Many pet food manufactures will use this ingredient to help boost the protein percentage of the food.
Animal by-products – One of the worst meat ingredients found in pet food today is animal by product. It’s true that this ingredient provides a very high amount of meat protein that cats need to thrive. However, animal by products are considered to be the lowest form of meat and it isn’t even approved for human consumption. Animal by-products are carcasses and parts of carcasses from slaughterhouses, animal shelters, zoos and veterinarians, and products of animal origin not intended for human consumption, including catering waste. Legally, this ingredient can even contain roadkill or euthanized animals. This ingredient may also contain what is called “4D meat” which is what the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) calls cattle that is dead, dying, disabled or diseased. This meat is considered unfit for human consumption, but is typically found in many pet food products. This is not something we recommend you feed your cat or any other pet.
Avoid formulas with large quantities of these ingredients.
Judging from the ingredients used in the manufacture of the Adult Homestyle Chicken Supper formula, this is a quality formula suitable for adult cats. It contains natural ingredients that offer all round nutrition.