Meat Byproducts in Cat Food

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Byproducts in Cat Food

Most cat experts recommend investing in high-quality brands of cat food that don’t include chicken meal or other by-products of animal flesh. Wild cats, though, will eat a whole bird or rodent. Sometimes cats will throw away the head or feathers, but other times the cat will consume the entire animal. It would seem that the less expensive brands are closer to a natural diet than the more expensive ones if they don’t contain an excessive amount of carbohydrate fillers. Why is this untrue, then?

Clean and nutrient-rich meat byproducts include organ meats that have been cleared of their contents, such as the lungs, spleen, liver, kidneys, stomach, and intestines. They are not allowed to have horns, teeth, hooves, or places to hide. After being further cooked (rendered), meat meal is dried to get rid of any bacterial contamination.

Although it is true that cats in the wild eat their prey’s complete bodies, including the heads occasionally, many cat experts now view the term “meat byproducts” unfavorably because of the way some people in the cat food industry have used it. As a result, experts have frequently urged readers to avoid any byproducts.


The Feline Future website’s founders spent a decade or more researching the nutritional worth and composition of foods that cats eat in the wild. Their “formula” for the Feline Future raw food diet for cats, which still sets the standard for raw feeding today, was the outcome. In actuality, they use a higher proportion of meat than internal organs. The inclusion of chicken hearts and livers, which are excellent sources of taurine, in moderation is also advised due to the dangers of “overdosing” on vitamin A.

In other words, while it may be OK, a defined byproduct (such as “chicken byproduct meal”) shouldn’t be included first on a cat food label. Unfortunately, the specific weight ratio of any one ingredient cannot be determined. The can or bag of cat food contains meat, byproducts, eggs, some grains, and other sources of protein, despite the label’s claim that protein constitutes up 30% of the product’s weight. As a result, it is preferable to see the specified byproducts listed somewhat far down on the label.

Additional carbs

Many of the less priced varieties of dry cat food contain significant amounts of filler carbs. The usual form of this is corn, which some cats can find difficult to digest and to which some cats might be allergic.

However, a lot of high-end dry food products also contain a lot of carbohydrate-based fillers. In order to correctly shape the dry food nuggets during the extrusion manufacturing process (which is a heat-based technology), certain dry components are necessary. Some of these foods contain carbohydrates, although some brands of dry food don’t fill their products with grains.

Complete and healthy cat food

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The most important part of every pet food label is the nutritional adequacy declaration. To ensure that a product provides all the nutrients your cat needs and is balanced, look for the words “complete and” and “balanced,” respectively. There won’t be too many carbohydrates in the product if “complete and balanced” is present.


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