The Science Diet Kitten Liver and Chicken Entrée is one of the many canned formulas in the market. The company that manufactures this formula claims that it is the best for growing kittens. It is said that this formula contains real liver and chicken pieces in tasty gravy. It is also said to have the required ingredients to help your cat to grow healthily. This formula is claimed to be ideal for pregnant and nursing cats too.
Can all these claimed be substantiated? Read on to find out.
The ingredients in the formula
Water, Liver, Pork By-Products, Egg Product, Chicken,Soybean Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Corn Starch, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken Liver Flavor, Beet Pulp, Pork Protein Isolate, Powdered Cellulose, Dicalcium Phosphate, Fish Meal, Fish Oil, L-Lysine, Brewers Dried Yeast, Guar Gum, Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Sulfate, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Locust Bean Gum, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Carrageenan, Vitamin E Supplement, L-Tryptophan, Magnesium Oxide, Thiamine Mononitrate, Zinc Oxide, Ascorbic Acid (source of vitamin C), Ferrous Sulfate, Beta-Carotene, Niacin, Manganous Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, 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.
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.
Pork is the most widely consumed meat in the world. A 250 pound pig will only yield about 150 pounds of meat, which means there are other products, besides meat, that come from these animals. These are known as by-products. An animal product is any material derived from the body of an animal. Examples are fat, flesh, blood, milk, eggs, and lesser known products such as isinglass and rennet. Any animal by-product is typically considered to be of lower quality because it can also contain slaughterhouse waste. Slaughterhouse waste is defined as animal body parts cut off in the preparation of carcasses for use as food. This waste can come from several sources, including slaughterhouses, restaurants, stores and farms. This meat can also include what is known as 4D meat, meaning it could include slaughtered pigs that were dying, diseased, deformed, or dead before the slaughtering process. 4D meat is not approved for human consumption, so it is typically used for pet food and animal feed. The consistency and quality of this ingredient could vary over time.
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.
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.
Other ingredients in the formula
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.
Fish Oil – Fish oil is a popular supplement used by cat and dog owners. In this case, the food is already supplemented with fish oil. This ingredient is high in very healthy Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. This can lead to an improved coat, healthier skin, boost to the immune system, lower blood pressure, and help improving cognitive function in older pets. There are also some studies that show fish oil to help assist with certain allergies in dogs and cats. This is a higher quality ingredient.
Brewers Dried Yeast – Brewers dried yeast is made from a single-celled fungus, called Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It is a very rich source of B vitamins and supplies minerals and amino acids. It is known to support a normal healthy coat. This is also an old remedy for flea and tick protection. This ingredient is generally a by-product of alcohol production and there are no major health risks associated with this ingredient.
Is this an allergy causing formula?
Unfortunately this formula contains corn extracts which can cause serious allergies. It is, therefore, best to feed your kitten on this formula in moderate amounts. If your kitten is already allergic to corn, it is best to avoid feeding it on this formula.
Healthy ingredients that should have been included in the formula
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.
This is a healthy cat formula for kittens without allergies. It contains all the necessary ingredients for healthy development in kittens. Nevertheless, this formula contains allergens making it unsuitable for allergic kittens or pregnant cats.