The Science Diet Kitten Turkey and Giblets Wet Entrée is one of the many kitten formulas in the market today. According to the makers, this kitten formula contains real turkey and giblets pieces in tasty gravy. The formula is also claimed to contain balanced nutrients to support the overall health of your kitten.
Is this the best formula for your kitten?
Ingredients in Science Diet Kitten Turkey and Giblets Entrée
Water, Turkey, Egg Product, Turkey Giblets, Liver, Salmon, Fish Meal, Pork By-Products, Corn Gluten Meal, Corn Starch, Chicken Liver Flavor, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Soy Protein Isolate, Chicken, Powdered Cellulose, L-Lysine, Guar Gum, Brewers Dried Yeast, Locust Bean Gum, Choline Chloride, Calcium Sulfate, Potassium Chloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, Carrageenan, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Iodized Salt, Thiamine Mononitrate, L-Tryptophan, Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Oxide, Ascorbic Acid (source of vitamin C), Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Beta-Carotene, Manganous Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin, Biotin, 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.
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.
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.
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.
Other ingredients in this formula
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.
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.
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.
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.
Is this an allergy causing formula?
This formula contains traces of corn, which is an allergen. The amount of corn is too small to trigger allergic reactions. Therefore, this formula is unlikely to cause allergies. However, if your kitten is prone to allergic reactions you should jeep off this formula.
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.
Artificial coloring and flavoring – Both artificial and natural flavor ingredients are considered to be lower quality ingredients. Artificial flavor is usually derived from petroleum. Most have not been studied for safety or toxicity. They are all synthesized chemicals that don’t even have common names. Most artificial flavors actually contain many chemical ingredients, not just one. Many of those chemicals are volatile. Both natural and artificial flavors are chemical based ingredients and we don’t get all that excited when we see either one of those ingredients listed. Both of these ingredients have potential allergy risks and other possible health problems in cats.
We also 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.
Though this formula is protein rich, it contains corn which is a known allergen. The manufacturer could have done better to leave out this ingredient. However, the corn present is very minimal making this formula somewhat safe.