4 Things to Avoid Feeding Your Cat

When your cat spends all day cleaning himself from head to toe with his tongue, it can be hard to think he doesn't care much about what’s in his food.

But cats have a surprisingly selective digestive tract. Cheap cat food isn’t always cheap if it causes problems in the long run. But the most expensive brand may not be right either.


Before you buy, take a look at the ingredients and steer clear of any products that have these as the main ingredients.

Wheat Gluten

The gluten-free craze isn’t just for humans. Cats are on-board too. Gluten is often used as a substitute for high-quality protein sources in pet food. For the sake of saving money, many pet food manufacturers add cheap grain products like wheat gluten to your cat’s food as filler.


However, your cat’s gut isn’t setup to handle large quantities of grains. Rather, cats are obligate carnivores, which means they actually need meat to survive and it should be the primary ingredient in their diets – followed by fat, then carbohydrates.


While some cats are able to stomach wheat gluten just fine, others can have an allergic reaction. Pet parents started taking notice of products containing wheat gluten in 2007 after dogs and cats around the world were poisoned with gluten contaminated with melamine.  


“Melamine is a component of plastic which increases nitrogen content and protein levels... when added to wheat gluten,” says Dr. Patrick Mahaney, a Los Angeles-based veterinarian. “As a result of certain pet food manufacturers’ efforts to create a less expensive product... our companion animals suffered life-threatening toxicity.”


While the 2007 crisis has cleared up, cat parents are urged to be careful about where their cat food is manufactured and how much wheat gluten is in their cat’s meal.

Corn and Soy

Cats are natural carnivores. Their bodies function much like their jumbo-sized brethren on the Discovery Channel, so your cat’s diet should cater to his natural digestive needs. You don’t see lions, panthers, and bobcats munching on ears of corn – and your cat doesn’t want to either.


Like wheat gluten and other wheat products, your cat’s tummy can only handle minimal carbs. Complex carbohydrates like corn and soy are cheap fillers many pet food manufactures use in large quantities. If you see corn or soy as one of the first six ingredients in a brand of cat food, move on to another.

Preservatives

Preservatives come in all sorts of funky names and acronyms. The top four to be wary of are ethoxyquin, propylene glycol (PG), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA).


Ethoxyquin and propylene glycol aren’t even approved for use in human foods. So if it’s not safe for us big ol’ humans to consume, it can’t possibly be good for our little 10-pound feline friends, right? You bet. Ethoxyquin is used to make poor quality food last longer on the store shelf and causes serious urinary and kidney problems in cats. Propylene glycol is a derivative of anti-freeze, which is, of course, highly toxic.


BHT and BHA are commonly found in both foods and treats – so be sure to check out Fluffy’s favorite snacks, too. These nasty preservatives are added to fats and have been found to cause cancer, kidney disease, and liver damage in lab experiments using rats.

By-Products

This one’s tricky because it’s usually included in the ingredients list as “meat by-products.” The word “meat” may make it sound healthy, but it’s not. Meat by-products come from anything animal related, including dead animals and waste that didn’t make it into the “real, safe meat” barrel at the factory.

By-products can also include remnants of hazardous chemicals like pentobarbital, a drug used to humanely euthanize animals for processing. Healthy cat food doesn’t include anything with the word by-products in it.

You’re a good cat parent. So you want to give your baby healthy cat food. The easiest way to make sure your cat’s food is safe is to look for ingredients that you recognize – like chicken, fish, eggs, liver, lamb, and whole vegetables like peas, pumpkin, or carrots.

Next time you’re at the market or shopping online for kitty kibbles just avoid these harmful ingredients and sleep soundly knowing your cat is nomming safe morsels.


Have questions about your cat’s food? Post in the comments below or ask us on Facebook!




Rai Cornell
Rai Cornell

Author



18 Responses

Delilah Walton
Delilah Walton

October 15, 2018

It seems many don’t understand that a company cannot put their stamp of approval on another company without a contract. Also recommending specific brands can increase liabilities for information outside of their control as they do not participate in the processing of these products. My advice is to very carefully read each paragraph while comparing to the ingredients list of your own food. If you’re feeding something found in a grocery store you may notice many things wrong with it, if you’ve made conscious efforts to look for key terms such as grain-free, you may notice one or two things that you didn’t know about and if you’re pretty well versed in cat food, you may just sigh in relief that your food is already safe.

Ali
Ali

August 29, 2018

Nice Blog Here is some information about cats.
My Own Cats

Sue Sadowski
Sue Sadowski

October 15, 2018

I’m happy to have read all of wut everyone had to say. I still didn’t get my question answered but did get a lot a insight and information as far as wut ta make sure “wut ingredients” shud not be in my baby’s food. Some of it, anyway. I really was trying to compare Blue Buffalo and Head to Tail….oh well, I’ve learned a lot, and thank you all. From Sue and my two cats (Baani & Laser)

Ginny Whitehead
Ginny Whitehead

December 19, 2017

What are the good brands?

CAROL BROWN
CAROL BROWN

December 01, 2017

can cats safely eat vanilla ice cream…

Brian
Brian

November 30, 2017

Carol: My cat had the same problem. She went through many, many tests, including an ultrasound. Nothing was found. They eventually put her on medication that blocked the “puking signal” in her brain. I don’t use it, because it is so dangerous that a small size can only be given three times a week.
She is thriving (at 15) on Nature’s Variety Limited Ingredient Grain Free canned cat food. It only has one protein. I use Turkey, which is the least expensive option, but still about $90/month.
She cannot have ANY dry food, including treats. She will instantly vomit.
Katie: Definitely nothing that can be purchased at a grocery store. Nature’s Variety is a good option, which I use. There are plenty of more affordable options online and in pet stores. You’ll actually be able to read and understand the ingredients in any food that fits the bill.

Le Kenobbie
Le Kenobbie

November 21, 2017

With these 3 being the criteria for what NOT to by, what do you suggest we DO buy?

Janelle Hoeft
Janelle Hoeft

November 18, 2017

I looked at some of the comments and some are asking what brand names are the healthy foods and I haven’t seen an answer. So what is okay to feed our beloved cats? I’ve been feeding my cats Friskies for wet food and meow mix for dry food. They seem to be okay with them. I hope there will be an answer as to what to feed our cats.

Deanne Perata
Deanne Perata

November 04, 2017

My two cats have taken to Pretty Litter from the very first day. It is wonderful. NO ODOR. With two in-door cats, I have to admit I couldn’t always say that in the past. Thank you Pretty Litter.

Deanne Perata
Deanne Perata

November 04, 2017

I want to thank you for this wonderful and informative article. Finally someone cares enough about cats to help the rest of us who love our cats. We want to give them the best diet possible. I thank Pretty Litter for providing this information to me. Sincerely Deanne Perata.

Beth Gordon
Beth Gordon

November 02, 2017

To Mary-Monica Sehnal: to play the game you must be a first time user. I asked the same question because the wheel comes up all the time so you think you can play but alas for first time users only. You would think they would be capable of having it show only for the first time user but that is not the case. Hope this helps.

Laura Bailey
Laura Bailey

November 02, 2017

I feed my kitties Cat Chow Indoor dry food. My kitties will only eat Friskies canned cat food. They refuse to eat anything else. I have tried many products. They will starve themselves till they get their Friskies. The company must put something in the food that entices cats.

Carol Deutsch
Carol Deutsch

November 02, 2017

I am a fairly recent convert to your litter and I very pleased to be. My two cats have a habit of vomiting up much of their meals even though I have been trying to give them “good” food, some of which is fairly pricey. What brands would you recommend? I love these cats but I am very tired of constantly cleaning up after them.

Lita ArnaudColeman
Lita ArnaudColeman

November 02, 2017

I feed my Cat , Fussie Cat Both wet and Kibble. I Hope this is good for her.

Erin Weishuhn
Erin Weishuhn

November 02, 2017

I really appreciated this article! My cat is three years old and I have been very diligent about giving him the best quality food possible ever since he was a kitten. This article was very informative and will help a lot, especially in my quest to find better quality treats for my little Deniro. Thank you!

Chanteil Clark
Chanteil Clark

November 02, 2017

I give my cats Greenies and corn gluten is one of the first 5 ingredients. It’s the only treat one of my cats will eat. I only give them a few a day to help keep tarter off of their teeth. Is that harmful?

MARY-Monica Sehnal
MARY-Monica Sehnal

November 02, 2017

This is by far the best cat litter ever wish I knew about it years ago or from first day of invention . My cat took to the very first day My rating for the pretty litter is A++++

. Now how about making great food for the cat I will be your first customer TY
Question since it is automatically sent to me once a month and deducted from my account how do I get the discount I play the game all the time ?

Katie Gould
Katie Gould

November 02, 2017

What are some good brands to look for that meet these requirements?

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