How do you ensure you give your cat a fulfilling, long and healthy life? This is the question many cat owners ask. You can achieve this by feeding your cat on pet formulas that meet the cat’s nutritional needs.
The Whiskas chicken and liver dinner in meaty juices is a wet cat formula manufactured by Masterfoods. According to the manufacturer, this is a formula that offers your feline companion chicken and liver nutrition and flavor. Aside from optimum nutrition, this formula is also claimed to contain antioxidants that boost the cat’s immune system.
Read on to find out if this formula is indeed worthwhile.
Ingredients in Whiskas
Water sufficient for processing, meat by-products, chicken, chicken liver, poultry by-products, calcium carbonate, natural flavor, sodium tripolyphosphate, carrageenan, potassium chloride, added color, dl-methionine, dried yam, salt, erythorbic acid, xanthan gum, l-cysteine, taurine, guar gum, Choline chloride, vitamin e supplement, thiamine Mononitrate (vitamin b1), zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, sodium nitrite (for color retention), manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, vitamin d3 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin b6), folic acid, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin k activity).
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.
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.
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.
Here is another ingredient you probably wouldn’t want to see on your own dinner plate, but most cats seem to enjoy the taste of liver. Uncooked liver, or liver in very high quantities, can actually be toxic to cats. However, in this food, it is clearly provided well within safe limits. In fact, this ingredient is a pretty high quality ingredient overall. It provides a good source of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other nutrients your cat can benefit from.
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.
Other noteworthy ingredients
Taurine is an essential amino acid that is critical for normal heart muscle function, vision, and reproduction in cats. Since cats are unable to create proper levels of taurine in their body naturally, it must be supplemented in their food. That’s why you’ll see this ingredient listed for so many different cat food blends. For cat foods that contain enough high quality animal based proteins, a taurine supplement may not be needed. However, most cat foods will need to add in additional taurine in the form of a supplement to the food. Even when included as a supplement instead, there is very low to almost zero health risk associated with this ingredient. In fact, a lack of taurine can cause a slew of issues, so it’s very important to make sure your cat is receiving enough taurine in his or her diet.
There is absolutely no reason to included added color into any cat food, ever. It’s extremely disappointing to see this ultra-low quality ingredient included. Added color is used for marketing purposes only. They want their product to stand out sitting on the shelf at the store, so they add coloring to their product. Essentially, the coloring is added to entice YOU (the human) to purchase the food over other brands. Your cat could care less what color the food is. Unfortunately, added color is quite controversial as there is growing evidence suggesting cancer in cats from too much food color exposure. At worse, this is a harmful ingredient and at best, it is a marketing ploy with no nutritional value or positive benefit to your cat. We usually have a tough time recommending any cat food that includes such a controversial ingredient.
This ingredient is a vegetable (not a potato as many think) and the edible starchy tuber of a climbing plant, widely distributed in tropical and subtropical countries. Yams provide a source of fiber, carbohydrates, and lower levels of vitamins and nutrients. While not especially nutritious, this ingredient is largely accepted as being safe for cats.
This is an additive extracted from red and purple seaweeds, consisting of a mixture of polysaccharides. It is used as a thickening or emulsifying agent in food products. There is still much research being done on this additive and while it is generally considered safe, there is room for caution as carrageenan has produced intestinal damage and ulcers in some animal studies. If you would like more information about the ongoing research of this ingredient, you may reference this research study.
Can this formula cause allergies?
Unlike most Whiskas brand formulas, this formula does not seem to contain any allergy causing ingredients. This makes it a non-allergy causing formula. It is ideal for all cats.
Ingredients you shouldn’t feed your cat on
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.
BHT and BHA preservatives – 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.
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.
This can be rated as an average formula. While it contains natural sources of protein and other nutrients, it also contains artificial ingredients that can cause harm to your cat. The company has done a good job to ensure the formula contains real chicken and chicken liver pieces. However, the use of water and animal/poultry by-products among the first key ingredients leaves a lot to be desired.