The Science Diet Mature Adult Savory Chicken Entrée is a wet formula that is claimed to support the overall health of your mature cat. According to the company that manufactures this product, this formula is said to have all the ingredients required for your cat to lead a healthy lifestyle in its adult years.
Is this formula as healthy for your mature cat as it is said to be?
Water, Chicken, Turkey Giblets, Meat By-Products, Liver, Corn Starch, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Wheat Flour, Soybean Meal, Powdered Cellulose, Rice Flour, Chicken Liver Flavor, Titanium Dioxide, Guar Gum, Calcium Carbonate, Iodized Salt, Choline Chloride, Brewers Dried Yeast, Locust Bean Gum, Potassium Citrate, Carrageenan, Dicalcium Phosphate, DL-Methionine, Taurine, 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Is there any health condition linked to the use of this formula?
This formula contains some ingredients linked to allergies and possible weight gain. It is, therefore, best to avoid feeding your cat on this formula if it has a chronic allergy condition. Otherwise, this formula is suitable for non-allergic cats and cats with mild allergies.
Ingredients that would have made excellent additions to this 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.
Rich carbohydrate source – Often times when a pet food is trying to hide certain controversial ingredients in their food, they will use very generic ingredients for the labeling. This is a good example. Rich carbohydrates could come from a huge number of sources and they’ve left us guessing where this ingredient could possibly be sourced form. Is it a bad quality ingredient? Maybe not. But we just have no way of telling. When generic ingredient labels like this are used, it raises some red flags.
The Mature Adult Savory Chicken Entrée is a nutritious cat formula. It is rather unfortunate that it contains grain based ingredients. Some of the ingredients are allergens thus limiting this formula to cats without allergies. Otherwise, this is a healthy formula for a mature cat.