Are you in search of a fish based formula for your cat? The good news is that the market is awash with fish based products. Even so, not all of them are a safe bet for your cat. There are some companies that use fish flavoring and claim that their formulas have actual fish chunks. Unless you want to risk the health of your cat, it is important to do a bit of research on a product before you purchase it.
The Whiskas tuna and whitefish entrée is one of the many fish based formulas in the market. The manufacturer says that this formula contains actual tuna and whitefish chunks immersed in natural juices.
Read on to find out more about this product. This will make it easy for you to determine whether it is ideal for your cat.
Ingredients in Whiskas Tuna And Whitefish Entrée
Sufficient Water for Processing, Tuna, Whitefish, Soy Oil, Anchovy, Carrageenan, Tricalcium Phosphate, Cassia Gum, Potassium Chloride, Guar Gum, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Tapioca Starch, Natural Flavor, Wheat Flour, Salt, Disodium EDTA, Vitamins (Thiamine Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], dl-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate [Source of Vitamin E], Pyridoxine Hydrochloride [Vitamin B6], Folic Acid, Riboflavin Supplement [Vitamin B2]), Sodium Nitrite (for color retention), Minerals (Manganese Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate), BHA/BHT (a preservative).
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 a well known saltwater fish. There is some debate about whether fish products should be included in cat food at all, because cats by nature do not eat much sea food. A lot of cat owners would rather see meat from other animals such as beef, chicken, turkey, or other meat sources. However, tuna does supply a good amount of protein and also contains an excellent amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Whitefish is a species of tilefish native to the eastern Pacific Ocean. This ingredient is likely included for its protein content as well as very healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. While this ingredient probably isn’t something most cats would eat in a natural or wild environment, the ingredient does contain some very essential nutrient sources. Some cat owners worry about the mercury content in fish since all fish contains some level of mercury, but the health risk is considered to be pretty low.
Soybean oil is a vegetable oil extracted from the seeds of the soybean. It is one of the most widely consumed cooking oils. As you can see in this article, the health risks associated with humans and soy oil is questionable. We have no reason to believe it is any better for cats, especially since cats are obligate carnivores designed to process meat based ingredients. In addition, many cats are allergic to soy ingredients or may have problems digesting soy ingredients. If your cat has food allergies or a sensitive stomach, you might not want to feed this food.
As you are probably already aware, anchovy is a type of salt water fish. Most of the time, regular canned anchovies have too much sodium to be suitable for cats. However, it does not look like the sodium content in this food is out of normal limits. This ingredient is included because it provides a great deal of protein and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. There is some concern about the rising mercury levels in fish, however so far the FDA claims the levels are well within safe limits for cats and other pets. Another concern is how the fish is sourced, since fish products in pet foods are usually the waste products derived from fish farms. However, the risk of eating anchovy is low and the benefits can be quite high.
Other ingredients you may be interested in
Dicalcium phosphate is a compound that is present in bone. It is a calcium salt. Usually, when people break their bones, the need to enrich themselves with this compound in order to help bone regeneration. For cat food, it is mostly used as a part of the processing of the food. While this ingredient sounds scary and doesn’t provide any nutrition for cats, it is considered safe and is usually included in very low levels.
Cassia gum is a food additive made from the endosperm of Senna obtusifolia (also called Cassia obtusifolia or Cassia tora). It is used as a thickener and gelling agent. This is generally considered an ingredient to avoid in cat food because it is a complex sugar which isn’t thought to be good for cats. There have also been biological studies done on cassia gum’s effects on cats, dogs, and rats in the 1980’s. In this FDA study, kittens that were administered a high dose (2.5% of daily nutrition) and kittens that were administered a moderate dose(0.75% of daily nutrition) of cassia gum per day all died after 2-3 weeks. Their mothers and fathers were given cassia gum before and throughout the pregnancy period. There was also a decrease in appetite and changes in digestive processing due to the fact that cassia gum absorbs much of the moisture inside the digestive tract. Another interesting thing is that in the group where higher dosage was administered there were a lot more still born births and neonatal deaths. It could be argued that the only reason these cats had problems was because of the high dosage and we believe this is a valid argument. So while we can’t say for sure that this ingredient is dangerous, you should use some caution. The official FDA study is getting pretty outdated, but you can still read the full study here.
The term “natural flavor” is extremely vague and can mean just about anything. In human foods, natural flavor is usually MSG or some similar flavor enhancer. When pet food companies are asked what is in their “natural flavor ingredients, they usually refuse to answer. There are a lot of things in the world considered “natural” and they almost all have a flavor. Such generic terms can be indicative of poor quality ingredients. While that’s not always the case, the fact is, we don’t really know what this ingredient consists of and that is worrying.
Only two vitamins (A and C) and two minerals (calcium and iron) are required on the food label. Cat food companies can voluntarily list other vitamins and minerals in the food. So, in this case, they have simply listed “minerals” but we’re not exactly sure what is included here. This ingredient is very unlikely to cause harm to your cat, but it would be nice if they would voluntarily list the minerals being used here.
Is this another allergy causing formula?
This formula contains no soy, wheat or corn. These are the most common allergens found in most formulas. Therefore, the Whiskas tuna and whitefish entrée is not likely to lead to allergies. However, you should check with your vet whether soy oil could trigger allergies in your cat.
Essential ingredients missing in this formula
Like humans and many other species, cats require choline. Almost all commercial pet food blends will contain supplemental choline. This ingredient mostly helps with cell function.
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.
This formula is a rich source of protein. However, it contains BHA/BHT preservative, which is associated with toxicity in cats after prolonged use. This leaves a lot to be desired safety wise. Moreover, the use of soy oil instead of quality vegetable oil is suspect. This formula is average at best.