The Science Diet Adult Turkey and Giblets Entrée (wet) is one of the formulas that are not based on chicken or beef. According to the Science Diet Company, this formula delivers a delectable taste of turkey meat with giblets served in thick gravy. It is also said to contain other healthy ingredients that maintain your cat’s health.
Is this formula the best alternative to beef and chicken for your cat?
The ingredients in this formula
Water, Turkey, Turkey Giblets, Liver, Salmon, Corn Starch, Meat By-Products, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Powdered Cellulose, Rice Flour, Wheat Flour, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken Liver Flavor, Chicken, Soybean Meal, Guar Gum, Dicalcium Phosphate, Locust Bean Gum, Calcium Carbonate, Brewers Dried Yeast, Caramel Color, Choline Chloride, Carrageenan, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Iodized Salt, DL-Methionine, Calcium Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Zinc Oxide, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Manganous Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin, Biotin, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Sodium Selenite.
An overview of 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.
As a whole meat ingredient, turkey is a fantastic source of very healthy animal based proteins. We are extremely pleased to see this ingredient listed. Unfortunately, in dry kibbles, there is not as much of this ingredient included as you might initially think. Ingredients are listed by weight prior to the cooking process and since whole turkey is about 70% moisture, the vast majority is cooked off. So while we think this is an excellent and nutritional ingredient, it does need to be complimented by other high quality meat protein ingredients when used in dry kibbles. In wet cat foods, however, this is not nearly as much of a concern.
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.
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.
Salmon is an excellent source of high quality proteins for cats and is extremely rich in healthy Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Some people worry about mercury levels in fish. It’s true that all fish contains some degree of mercury, the level in salmon is much lower than other types of fish and the FDA doesn’t believe it is cause for concern. Most salmon in cat food is farmed salmon, but higher end cat food (especially those labeled “natural”) can often times be fished from natural lakes and streams. The biggest problem with fish ingredients, including salmon, is if the fish includes an antioxidant called ethoxyquin (EMQ). It is believe that ethoxyquin could be very harmful to cats and other animals. Always make sure you are using “Ethoxyquin free” cat food blends when they include fish ingredients. When in doubt, call the customer service number and ask.
Other ingredients in this formula
Caramel color is one of the oldest and most widely used food colorings. It is used very frequently in human foods and in this case it is used to create a browner color to the cat food. We find it quite concerning when a cat food producer uses food coloring. For starters, food coloring provides absolutely no nutritional benefit. Second, your cat does not care what color his or her food is. The food coloring is used strictly for marketing purposes and to make the food look better to YOU (the human consumer). Carmel color has come under quite a bit of scrutiny in past years for possible links to cancer. The FDA is currently looking into the current standards of caramel color. Since this is such a controversial ingredient and since it doesn’t provide any nutritional value to cats, we find it very concerning the manufacture is still using this ingredient in their products.
This ingredient is the starch derived from the corn grain. The starch is obtained from the endosperm of the corn kernel. While not harmful in small quantities, cats obtain virtually no nutritional value from corn. This ingredient is usually used as a cheaper filler by lower priced cat foods. Unfortunately, there is a bit of an allergy risk with this ingredient. And finally, many cats will have a tough time properly digesting corn and that could lead to diarrhea, constipation, or other stomach and digestion issues. Most cats will not have any negative reaction to this ingredient, but it’s not an ingredient we are all that excited to see listed.
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.
Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid)
Chicken fat is a quality source of essential fatty acids and an excellent source of energy. Fat has a positive effect on the immune system and plays a beneficial role in stress response. Essential fatty acids are required for proper growth, reproduction, normal skin structure and a healthy coat. Because chicken fat contains virtually no protein, it’s use does not cause allergic reactions associated with the use of fresh chicken or chicken meal which contain high amounts of protein. Many times, mixed tocopherols, which are a natural source of Vitamin E activity, are used as a natural preservative to maintain freshness. This is considered a higher quality fat source in pet food. Citric acid, in this case, is probably used to balance the pH level of the food.
Can this formula cause allergies?
This formula contains a good number of allergens making it an allergy causing formula. It is, therefore, advisable to check the ingredients list before purchase to avoid feeding your cat on allergens. This formula is only suitable for cats with no allergies.
Harmful ingredients used in cat formulas
Corn, wheat and soy – 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.
BHA/BHT – Both BHA & BHT are preservatives that have been banned in human foods in many countries due to cancer risks. However, they remain approved for use in pet foods. A growing number of pet owners are becoming aware of the potential dangers these ingredients bring and are shunning all foods containing BHA and BHT. A quick internet search on these preservatives will show that the backlash is gaining steam with many cat food companies abandoning these ingredients. BHA and BHT are extremely controversial ingredients in all forms of pet 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.
The Adult Turkey And Giblets Entrée (wet) formula is an average formula meant for non-allergic cats. The first five ingredients are quality ingredients that have the capacity to nurture your adult cat’s health. However, the formula also contains corn and starch extracts. These are allergens that are of low nutritional value that make this formula unsuitable for cats with allergies.