The Adult Savory Chicken Entrée from Science Diet is one of the formulas that make an excellent alternative to beef and turkey based formulas. According to the science diet website, this formula is made with real chicken chunks. It is said to contain healthy ingredients that cater for the overall health of your cat.
Is this the right cat formula to switch to?
The ingredients used to make this formula
Water, Chicken, Turkey Giblets, Meat By-Products, Liver, Corn Starch, Powdered Cellulose, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Corn Gluten Meal, Soybean Meal, Wheat Flour, Chicken Liver Flavor, Fish Meal, Titanium Dioxide, Guar Gum, Choline Chloride, Brewers Dried Yeast, Locust Bean Gum, Carrageenan, Calcium Sulfate, Iodized Salt, Potassium Chloride, DL-Methionine, Taurine, Potassium Citrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Zinc Oxide, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Manganous Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Folic Acid, Sodium Selenite.
Reviewing 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.
This ingredient typically includes the heart, gizzard, liver, and other visceral organs of turkeys. Often times, the neck is included in the giblets. This is not an ingredient generally used for human consumption, but there is nothing especially harmful about this ingredient for cats since they thrive on organ meat. This provides a healthy amount of proteins, vitamins, minerals, iron, and other essential nutrients cats require for a healthy life.
This is about the lowest quality meat product that can be included in any cat food. We are very disappointed to see this ingredient listed. Meat By-Products are parts of slaughtered animals including the lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, liver, blood, bone, partially defatted low-temperature fatty tissue, and stomach and intestines freed of their contents. In addition, meat by-products can also legally contain animals that were dead, dying, or diseased before slaughtering. Many times, animals with tumors are ground and processed, meaning, ground up cancerous tumors could legally be included in your pets food. While unlikely, it can even legally include road kill. Perhaps worst of all, this ingredient COULD include meat from euthanized cats, dogs, horses, or other animals. Meat by-product is an unnamed meat source and you never know for sure where it is coming from or what animals are being used. Also note that meat by-products are not approved for human consumption. It consists of unwanted parts only acceptable in the pet food or feed industries. This is one of the most controversial meat ingredients that could be included and there is much to be concerned about when purchasing any pet food that includes meat by-products.
In the wild, cats almost always eat the liver of their prey. It is a rich source of vitamin A which cats must obtain from their food since they can’t make it in their bodies. This is also a good secondary source of protein. If cats consume too much liver, it could cause toxicity, but the amount needed for liver to become toxic to cats is very high. Liver is provided in safe quantities in this cat food blend.
Other ingredients in the formula
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.
Soybean Meal – This ingredient is created after grinding the soybean to extract soybean oil. In addition to being used in dog and cat food, it is widely used as a filler and source of protein in other animal diets including pig, chicken, cattle, horse, sheep, and fish feed. This ingredient can often be found in “hairball relief” cat foods as it is believed to help eliminate hairballs. While some cats are allergic to soy based ingredients, the pet food industry is pretty defensive of this ingredient claiming that despite the attempts of researchers to prove a link between soy and bloat, no studies to date show this link. Rather, breed, body type, weight and stress level are significant risk factors. The pet food industry also claims that soy products are a superb source of bodybuilding protein, coat-nourishing vegetable oil and healthful fiber for cats. As long as your cat isn’t allergic to soy based ingredients, this ingredient shouldn’t pose any problems, but it isn’t included without controversy.
Fish Meal – 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.
Titanium Dioxide – Titanium dioxide, also known as titanium oxide or titania, is the naturally occurring oxide of titanium. Unfortunately, this ingredient is a bit controversial as it has links to several health concerns including ulcers and inflammatory bowel diseases. There is also some concerns that this ingredient could contain lead. The toxic effect of this ingredient is a concern in both human foods and pet foods and even The American Cancer Society has listed Titanium Dioxide among the five most carcinogenic substances on the planet (more info here). This ingredient is mostly used for coloration and texture purposes. It is impossible for your cat to digest this ingredient or gain any nutritional benefit from it. We find it rather unfortunate this ingredient is included.
Is this an allergy causing ingredient
This formula contains corn and wheat based allergens. It is, therefore, likely to trigger allergic reactions in cats with chronic allergies. However, it can be fed moderately to cats with mild allergies and is perfectly safe for cats with no allergy issues.
Other ingredients that lack in this ingredient
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.
The adult savory chicken entrée (wet) is a formula that contains real meat and meat by-products as the source of protein. This makes it a recommended formula for cats even though it also contains a few allergens.